Have you moved beyond cooperation?

In my current position I have moved past a cooperation role into collaborative role. Our team although not at all times organic promotes members to share their unique skills and talents, from designing language and play based learning experience, having a thorough understanding of curriculum or promoting ICT integration in programs. With the departure or absence of one team member the team would function differently if not inefficiently.

What role is collaboration playing in your professional learning and your practice?

In terms of professional development and practice I am fortunate to be in a school that promotes peer-innovation and learning. We have several afternoons a year where teachers can present a tool, concept or learning experience they believe benefits or enhances student outcomes.  For the past two years I have led several of these sessions specifically in the area of technology integrated. During these sessions I have work collaboratively with my peers to not only share new information but work together to create new ideas that they can then use as part of their practice. For me collaboration means to contextualize information in order for others to engage with it.

What’s new and different about collaboration for 21st century learners?

I think working collaboratively as a 21st century learner and educator requires a specific set of skills and knowledges. A few months ago I wrote an article about the benefits of using GoogleSlides to work collaboratively, highlighting its efficiency and usability. Examples like this highlights that working collaboratively in the 21st century means that we no longer have to sit in the same room to have a discussion or complete a task.

However this in itself can present as a challenge that leaders face as they work towards ensuring they support staff or students in becoming independent and engaged participants. An example of this occurred a few weeks ago during a curriculum planning meeting. One new team member was in another country at the time and was able to access the document and co-plan using the school wide Cloud-based program.  This teacher possessed the necessary digital literacy skills as well as the confidence and independence to engage without guidance. On the other hand there was a member of the team that although was sitting in another part of the school was not participating or engaging because they “couldn’t type in the document.” After the leader provided support the team member was then able to access the document and with further guidance was able to edit and contribute ideas with some independence.