Cooperative, collaborative, conversational learning is well accompanied and supported by the modern technologies available to my learners, so I try to use technology so that it is ubiquitous not only physically in the room through the presence of devices but also virtually, embedded in the pedagogy of the activities that students are carrying out. I attempt to develop and run activities where students are learning ‘with’ the technology, rather than merely ‘from’ it. That is, students may be using the technology as part of an activity with a pedagogical foundation stemming from collaboration; constructing knowledge and developing communities of practice.
Howland, Joanssen and Marra (2012) point out that a person’s natural inclination is to work collaboratively to solve problems, utilising shared knowledge and skills to find solutions more effectively than people attempting it alone. They argue that schools force individualisation into the learning process when that is an unnatural approach and may even go so far as to punish students when they collaborate, labelling them as cheating when in fact they may have only been following their natural inclination. This natural inclination can be seen thriving in many progressive workplaces, yet for students in many schools it is oppressed. I seek to bring collaboration to the fore in my classroom, and utilise technology to help achieve this.
Howland, J. L., Joanssen, D., & Marra, R .M. (2012). Meaningful Learning with Technology (4th ed., pp. 1-19), Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.