Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Is Collaboration Essential for Students to Learn?

“If school isn’t about doing things together, just about everyone has better places to spend their day.” Ira David Socol declared this statement in his blog post about the necessity of collaboration in creating and sustaining real learning. The dilemma of students becoming prepared for careers in the 21st century and centuries to come in what Socol calls a 19th century school (a classroom with a bunch of kids doing the same thing in the same way on the same device) is not a new one, but while many discuss the problem, Socol outlines what he believes is a solution.

He explains that classrooms where, “educators think the information of the world still moves via paper and pencil, that there are ‘correct answers’ to everything, and that there is a structured cultural norm of learning behavior, best exemplified by the silent child bent over a wooden desk with a thick physical book, which must be duplicated if a student is to succeed in their learning spaces” is an environment that impedes the desire for students to come to school at all.

Instead, Socol gives four ways to provide an environment that promotes self-motivated learning:
1. A learning environment in which students make most decisions
2. A time environment in which students learn and work along a schedule which makes sense to them
3. A technological environment which supports collaboration across every barrier
4. A social environment where adults do not rank students according to their oppressive standards

To learn more about Ira David Socol’s solution and improving collaboration in schools, click here.

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