Collaborative classrooms are the learning environments of the future. Schools around the world are saying goodbye to the conventional lecture-based learning space where the students remain inert in their respective seats and the teacher remains at the head of the class. In these new collaborative environments, teachers transition from doing all the talking to purposely creating opportunities for students to learn, and facilitating their thoughts and discussions about what they learn. Keep reading to learn more about collaborative classrooms and discover resources to help you build your own.
What are Collaborative Classrooms?
Teachers, school administrators, parents, students, and society as a whole can benefit from the collaborative learning model. Why? This model is advantageous in comparison to a traditional classroom because collaborative classrooms:
- allow respect to be given to all participants—students and teachers
- build community and value all contributions to deepening understanding and knowledge
- promote the social and emotional development of students in addition to academic development
- involve the active participation of learners
- demonstrate listening, paraphrasing, compromise, and open-ended and thoughtful questions on behalf of the teacher
- have access to research tools like the Internet
- engages and motivates students to achieve
- have clearly-defined goals to measure progress
- allow the teacher to readily move throughout the space and engage with different groups
Collaborative classrooms, from conception to fruition, involve parents and students so that the greater community becomes invested in the project and excited about its outcome.
Collaborative Learning Resources
If you are having trouble developing your collaborative learning environment, or simply need inspiration to begin, there are a variety of free resources to assist you. Below are 10 resources you can use to get started.
1. Edutopia – Remake Your Class. This site provides instructional videos and blogs that guide you through the process of building a collaborative learning environment. Suggestions are provided for teachers looking to remake everything from a small part of their classroom or the entire space.
2. Collaborize Classroom. This online, user-friendly and private educational platform enables students access to rich multimedia attachments to complement curriculum and allows students to participate in respectful and supportive online discussions.
3. Wridea. This online ideas tool allows students to document and organize ideas that can be shared with friends for better participation and coordination of group projects.
4. The Center for Teaching and Learning. From the University of North Carolina, this website provides a host of information about the elements of an effective collaborative classroom and how to implement one.
5. Illinois State Board of Education. This downloadable PDF outlines the basics of a collaborative group, including information about size, student roles, management tips, and group discussion guidelines.
6. Search Team. Foster critical thinking and discernment skills by allowing the group to collaboratively weigh in on the credibility of online search results.
7. WeVideo. From K through 12 to higher education, there are a wide range of uses for this video storytelling tool.
8. Khan Academy. In class or at home, students have the opportunity to sharpen their skills with free videos and exercises in math, sciences, art, and other subjects.
9. Inside the Collaborative Classroom. This resource features a host of videos, articles, and PDFs to explain and demonstrate the core principles of collaborative classrooms.
10. PodBean. It is said that teaching cements knowledge. Turn learners into educators and give students the chance to create educational podcasts by using this audio blogging tool.
Get started building your collaborative learning environment today by using these innovative tools that make the learning experience fun and engaging for students. Tell us about other great collaborative classroom resources in the comments.