Using Collaborative Technologies in the Classroom

Incorporating new technology into teaching sessions….

We’ve had enough of constantly moaning at our learners… “put your mobile away”……. “stop surfing the internet”….. “why are you on Facebook on your iPad while your trainer is lecturing”…..  there’s got to be a better way.   How can we embrace new technology and incorporate it into the teaching sessions?


Lots of collaborative technologies today have so many different apps, where do we start?   One of our trainers is going off to a session run by JISC in the next couple of weeks and this session will include using Blackberries as part of assessment.  Will this be a good starting point for us?


There are already apps on the market for colleges, checking out the course prospectus and applying on-line.    But what about in the classroom?


Learners can use their mobiles, iPads and tablets in the ‘notes’ mode to record key points of the learning sessions.   But what else?


MIT’s report on new technology in the classroom asks “What is good learning?” That may be a subjective question. But it’s likely that many educators would give answers

that fall in the same ballpark…

…students collaborating and discussing ideas, possible solutions…

…project-based learning, designed around real world contexts…

…connecting with other students around the world, on topics of study…

…immersing students in a learning experience that allows them to grapple with a problem,

gaining higher-order thinking skills from pursuing the solution…

To many educators, these notions are music to their ears. Would it seem terribly strange then to hear that students indeed are doing these things regularly outside of their classrooms? While students may not be running home from school saying, “What fun, deeply-engaging learning experience can we do today?”, they are engaging with new technologies that provide them with the same opportunities. Every day, many students are spending countless hours immersed in popular technologies—such as Facebook or MySpace, World of Warcraft, or Sim City—which at first glance may seem like a waste of time, and brain cells. But these genres of technologies—

Social Networking, Digital Gaming, and Simulations—deserve a second, deeper, look at what’s actually going on.


Can simulation games be used in our classrooms?  Can we use Facebook to set up study groups of learners on the same course?  Can the trainers build wiki’s about their weekly training sessions?


At the moment, we have a blank page but we are looking to start filling it as we progress through the next couple of years.  We aim to be innovative in the classroom and inclusive with our teaching sessions.  This has got to be a step in the right direction, hasn’t it?  We will keep you posted!

3 comments on “Using Collaborative Technologies in the Classroom

  1. I feel sure that educators had sleepless nights not so many moons ago when switching from OHP’s to powerpoint presentations and chalk boards to interactive whiteboards…

    The fact is however, that young people of today have grown up in an environment where these technologies are part of everyday life . Smartphones and laptops are not seen as luxury items that only the very rich have access to…a mobile phone and access to internet is seen almost as an essential item in todays society.

    As a technology centre I believe we are fantastically placed to start using collaborative technologies in the classroom and welcome the move to do so…I just hope that young people see this as an opportunity to enhance their learning experience as opposed to spending extra hours on facebook and twitter…unless of course they are tweeting and updating their status to say what a great day they are having!


  2. I agree with Amanda. As a training centre we should be embracing technology and putting our thinking caps on as to how we can use collaborative devices in the classroom. I for one will be thinking how it can be best used productively in my next lessons. Classroom rules would need to be set at the beginning of the course but I will certainly be trying to introduce the use of devices in to my lessons when appropriate!


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