Sunday, 5 August 2012

Article 8: Collaborative Projects: What does It Mean to ‘Co-construct’?

I can relate to the kinds of teamwork issues Skillen raises. He emphasizes “genuine interdependence” as the goal for group-work, and his examples of this kind of collaboration seem to be one where students choose independent topics and then regularly read, offer suggestions, and share resources with their group member. I think the Internet can be a great tool for collaboration; sites like Googledocs and Prezi enable people to all work on the same product at the same time, in ways that were not possible before (it would be pretty hard to have several people edit the same essay and see each others' changes at the same time if working with a hard copy, paper-version). The Internet also provides a more "concrete" way for a teaching to look at student contributions, as in the case of Skillen's hyper linked projects. For instance, you can clearly see who posted what and who responded, whereas it may be possible to miss a quieter member's contribution in a group discussion is the teacher is with another group at the time. However, I also think it's important to have face-to-face collaboration, because the methods Skillem suggests, while powerful, seem a little artificial to me (they are required, and take place within set frameworks).

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