I think collaboration is such an extremely important aspect in educational systems today. The web has made all kinds of collaboration available to teachers, students, and administrators. There are so many ways in which we can use online sources to collaborate within our school or community or even outside our time zone. At this point, it seems ridiculous for teachers to neglect online collaboration as a recourse both for pedagogical research and as a tool that can expand the limits of your classroom. For collaboration between students, teachers, community members, or really anyone else resources such as Twitter, WikiSpaces, and Nings, and these are really only scratching the surface. If we want to get creative teachers can use sources like Instagram or Tumblr to add different modes in their classrooms.
Online collaboration is not only useful for use by your students though. There are millions of ways in which teachers can use online recourses to expand their own knowledge and skill sets. One great recourse for teachers is Twitter Chats, in which anyone can participate in an online conversation about almost any topic (many of which are education specific, there are ones for almost every type of teacher). Teachers don’t need to wait for the next out of town conference to learn what’s new in the educational world, that information is now at our fingertips whenever we decide to go looking for it.
Another way I think collaboration can, and should, be used in education is through cultural collaboration. We may not be able to bring our students to different states or countries, but we can introduce them to people from all over the world through online tools like Skype or Illuminate. Through programs like these, classrooms can collaborate with other classrooms all over the world. Collaboration like this will spark an infinite amount of new ideas and opinions in our students.
Since these tools are so easily accessible, it seems to make no sense as to why teachers aren’t taking full advantage of them. It’s time we get out there (on the web) and start collaborating as much as we can. Ready, Set, Go!
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