Over the course of a week, these are the areas in which I learn, reflect, and consider for further reference:
Group Learning is when students work together to undertake a task which follows teacher direction (Slavin, 2010). It is not structured and there is no individual accountability for the work which gets done.
Co-operative learning is when students learn together. It when students have responsibility to their own learning as part of the group, with a group goal and also individual accountability for the learning (Slavin, 2010).
Collaborative learning I feel is the middle ground of these learning spaces. It is when students work together to achieve a goal, expecting to learn from one another but there perhaps is less structure than co-operative learning to enable learning from one another.
I believe the main distinction is what is occurring in the group. Group work requires completing a task whereas co-operative learning requires individual learning. In this sense a co-operative learning environment would be more beneficial in making sure all are participating in learning from each other rather than simply completing a task where some students may not do any work.
I feel co-operative learning spaces would not only be beneficial to the students but to the teachers as well. This is because it would require teachers to learn from each other to increase the effectiveness of the practice of the entire classroom including the structure set in place for effective student co-operative learning.
One of the things that really stood out to me about the electronic learning space, is access does not necessarily equate to enhanced learning (Hockly, 2013). Most of us have experienced fantastic uses of technology whether at uni, in school or otherwise but just because it is available does not mean it is being used effectively. For example, Interactive WhiteBoards (IWB), most classrooms have these set up for use, but how many are used for the interactive part? Are they mainly still a teacher-directed tool? I have had mixed experiences of effective use of IWBs, sometimes they have been used effectively in sharing students work, and using it as a tool to collaborate quickly on a good piece of work, however I am yet to see an IWB which works interactively, as most classes I have had experience in, the interactive part of the WhiteBoard is no longer working, due to cost, time, etc.. Although these IWBs are in the classroom, and are a great tool to use effectively, are they being used effectively or are they being labelled as 21st century technology use without utilising the full potential?
Communities of Practice (CoP) revolve around a shared passion/idea/interest which is collectively and collaboratively developed (Smith, 2009). It is not a group with shared interests; it is a community with a commitment to learn together, in moving forward to achieve a desired outcome. Like a PLN it enables a network to develop for expanding learning.
A classroom environment could enable a CoP through positioning the room to enable collaboration in moving beyond teacher only directed learning. Similarly an excursion venue can be transformed into a CoP through ongoing commitment to learning; including collaborative learning before, during and after the excursion plus multiple visits to the venue.