NPDL Collaboration

Leading a Collaboration Professional Learning Session in Your School

Here is a suggested session program aimed at building the understanding of staff about Collaboration.

Duration: ~45 minutes

Professional Learning Activity Suggestions:

1. Introduce the Session

(1:00 min)

"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." Henry Ford

The aims of this session are to:
  • Build staff understanding of what one of the 6Cs: Collaboration means in the context of NPDL
  • Explore ways in which deeper collaboration can be incorporated into teaching and learning

2. Use a film prompt

(5:00 min)
Use a film to provide a quick, sharp focus for the PL session. (The suggested timings for the session will change, depending on the film you choose.) Here are a couple of suggestions:

Above and Beyond Film (2011)
(4:42 min)
This film was created through collaboration by members of Partnership for 21st Century Skills and FableVision. Above & Beyond is a story about what is possible when communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity take centre stage in schools and transform learning opportunities for all kids.

Collaborative learning Builds Deeper Understanding
(8:45 min)
This video presents an elite school, but the strategies used for collaboration are easily replicated in any school.

3. What do we mean by 'Collaboration'?

(10:00 min)

Break the staff into small Jigsaw Groups of 4-5 team members. (Find out more about the Jigsaw process in part 5 of this session plan.)

Using a KWL Chart organiser to help get you started, pose this question:

What do we mean when WE use the term Collaboration? Use a collaborative tool (butcher's paper, sticky notes, Google Docs, a word cloud app etc.) to facilitate the brainstorming discussion and the KWL Chart to structure the responses.

Give the teams 4 minutes to come up with their brainstormed definition under the 'K' column (what we 'know' about collaboration).

Then give them 1 minute to brainstorm 'W' - what they 'want' to find out about Collaboration?

At the end of the 5 minutes, ask one person from each Jigsaw Group to report back with one description/definition and to provide a quick insight into how team members collaborated.

Allow 5 minutes for this feedback.

Record the definitions on a screen/whiteboard or shared document.

As each group representative reports, ask them not to repeat any definitions that have been already been given.

During the reporting back provide feedback to the groups on the collaboration processes that were taking place during this activity.

4. Reviewing the definition of 'Collaboration'

(10:00 min)

Provide each Jigsaw Group with a copy of (or link to):

Ask each Jigsaw Group to read the information and then review the definitions/ideas they came up with under the 'K' column.

Ask them to record their responses in the 'L' column - documenting what they have now 'learned'. (This can also be added to after the next activity.)

Encourage participants to reflect on how their original definition has changed and why.

Again, ask them to think about how they are collaborating as part of the team, and how this might relate to the definitions they are reviewing.

Post each document around the room – or project the shared document on the wall. Give staff time to see what others have written.

Wrap up this part of the session by reflecting on how team members appeared to collaborate and how the definition grew and became richer and thus more beneficial to their own teaching and learning context as a direct result of collaboration.

Pose the following question:

How can we make this sort of deep collaboration a reality in our classrooms?

Ask them to think about this during the next activity.

5. Ideas for making Collaboration a reality in the school

(15:00 min)

As described earlier, each one of the groups is a Jigsaw Group.

About Jigsaw

Jigsaw is a grouping strategy in which participants are organised into 'jigsaw' groups. The members are then reorganised into 'expert' groups containing one member from each jigsaw group. The members of the expert group work together to find out about and learn the material and then return to their 'jigsaw' groups to share this learning. In this way, the work of the expert groups is quickly disseminated with each person taking responsibility for sharing a piece of the puzzle.

It is now time to get each team member to leave the Jigsaw Group and join a table of 'Experts'.

Each Expert Group will be exploring a particular element of Collaboration.

With the posed question in mind -

How can we make this sort of deep collaboration a reality in our classrooms?

- they find out about the particular area and, at the end of the allocated time, return to their Jigsaw Group as the Experts. This is when they share their new knowledge with the original, Jigsaw Group.

There will be 5 suggested expert groups (of course, the number of expert groups will change, dependent on the size of your staff). Simply reorganise and customise this to your own context.

Give the expert groups 7-8 minutes to complete their investigations.

At the end of that time, ask each expert to return to their original Jigsaw Group and report back on their findings.

Give each group participant 1-2 minutes to report back. This will help you to manage the time, but also requires participants to communicate the most salient and interesting information.

Expert Group 1: Unpack: 21CLD

Expert Group 2: Mind Maps

Expert Group 3: Travel Bugs

Expert Group 4: Ideas for the classroom: Collaborative documents

Expert Group 5: Global collaboration across the curriculum toolkit

Encourage each Jigsaw Group to add to the 'L' column, recording what they now know about Collaboration that they didn't know before.

6. Wrap it up

(4:00 min)

This PL session has highlighted the resources available to help you build an understanding of what Collaboration means in the context of the 6 Cs but has also used collaboration facilitation techniques to do so.

It may be worthwhile summing up on what you now know about Collaboration and also feeding back to the group on how well they collaborated with each other throughout the session.

Finish with one leading question for staff to think about:

Following today's PL session, what are YOU going to do Monday, to increase meaningful collaboration in your class?


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