"Working collaboratively in partnership with others and in teams is essential for learning and life success in today's interdependent world. Collaboration is the lynchpin for effective participation in families and workplaces, and in local and global communities." 21CLD, Australian Implementation Toolkit, Microsoft, 2013
Considerations in creating collaborative learning environments
What structures are required to ensure the collaboration is successful?
- What are the implications for timetabling?
- Collaborating outside school hours?
- Collaborating across classes, year levels or schools?
What are the resources and tools required?
- What do the students need to collaborate effectively?
- Can they record and store work and ideas? How will this occur?
- Do they have access to digital tools and connectivity?
Where will the learning through collaboration occur?
- Will the collaboration occur within the classroom, outside, community, virtually?
How will physical spaces be arranged to facilitate effective collaboration?
- How are resources configured to maximise collaboration?
- How flexible are your learning spaces for collaboration?
Do the students have input into the use of learning environments for collaboration?
Examples of collaborative learning environments
- Stephen Heppell's Pinterest page of learning environments: provides examples of innovative uses of space for learning.
- High Tech High: Tiny House - A Community Project: a group of students collaborate to design a portable house.
Illustration of Practice: A Collaborative learning space
Access the AITSL website to view the Illustration of Practice: A Collaborative learning space.
The teacher of this year 1 class has a highly developed understanding of how to plan and implement effective teaching and learning using ICT. At the beginning of the lesson, she uses a series of concepts maps on an interactive whiteboard to identify with her students the activities and resources that each will use to complete the task. While these appear to be impromptu decisions she has anticipated all eventualities and identified and planned appropriate resources, including ICT software and hardware before the lesson began. In reflecting on the lesson after it has concluded she demonstrates a clear understanding of approaches to learning, including collaboration.
Watch the video and consider the following:
- What dimensions of collaboration are evident in this Illustration of practice?
- What are some of the strategies this teacher has used to manage team dynamics and challenges?
- What evidence can you see of Interpersonal and team related skills demonstrated?
Video: Collaborative Learning spaces - RMIT University
See how RMIT have redesigned their learning spaces with the use of technology to facilitate collaboration.