PD Discussion: Collaboration and Plugged Classroom


I am fortunate that my environment has deskstations for the students to use, and that the school provides laptops for them to use as well.
I ALWAYS push for collaboration, because in the real world, in a real work environment, no one does it all by themselves (even that is open to interpretation as well, lol), my students, by the first semester already know that if I have them during the second semester.
I plan each day with an interesting scenario, article, or problem that requires them to work individually fot a bit, then they will partner up, and on butcher paper, share out their solutions along with any problems they encountered along the way, whilst reminding them of how the problem solving method is still relevant.
During that time, I’ll make myself mobile and hop from desk to desk, ask the student, what they learned working with their partner,


I do a mix of collaboration and independent study. Typically collaboration comes at the beginning of projects when we are going through the learning process. At the end of projects, when I want to assess the students knowledge, the students work individually. I keep this up through the first semester as so much is foundation work when it comes to incorporating Java concepts.
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From the beginning I stress the importance of team work, that making mistakes is part of being human and promotes brain growth, and that helping each other and getting help from others is essential for learning in both school and outside of school.
As the class progresses I recognize the students who are helping others and use them when I need them. Eventually I will ask other students who have not been helping others (but understand the material well enough) to help if they are sitting next to a person having a problem or because my other helpers and myself are busy. This kind of breaks the ice, so to speak.
My goal is to get everyone participating in finding help and giving help.


When we are coding on a computer, I will dedicate time to students evaluating each others programs for 2 purposes: give constructive criticism, and to see something new that they would want to use in their own program. I will then encourage the students to help each other get these things done together.


I’ve implemented guided practice in which students are the teachers. Students know a great deal about technology and I realize that students learn best from one another.


In juvenile corrections this is actually easier for us. The students are very good at helping each other and working together. This is part of the culture here. They need to show care and concern for their peers at all times. Otherwise they are not released from our facility. They do group builders (any activity where they work together to complete an activity, then debrief how they did, and what did not work well) all of the time. We have a lot of challenges working there, but this is not one of them.


I am in a very small school (37 in 9-12) and had 4 students this past year. In my school, the students all know each other very well and usually collaborate without my prompting. I try to let them choose their own groups but will change things up time to time. I will also give them time to ask questions and will ask others if they know the answer before I step in.


I manage collaboration by having the students create their own learning communities based on seating arrangement. The communities need to have their own norms and specific jobs. I let them create their own banners and slogans that tend to help with creating relationships among them.


Question: What are some specific examples of teaching strategies or class activities you do in your class to create a culture of collaboration among your students as they are working on the computers?. My students are very eager and successful with the project based structure. They are able to collaborate and share ideas and determine their individual strengths and weaknesses. They provide each other support and it helps them to build a stronger bond to learn together and advance in his/her areas of most need and enjoy learning at the same time.


Question: What are some specific examples of teaching strategies or class activities you do in your class to create a culture of collaboration among your students as they are working on the computers?.

I have arranged my class/lab in an outward-facing circle w/ all computers facing exterior walls and have 4 “collaborative” work tables in the center of the room. Students are not assigned workstations and have been encouraged from day one to feel free to get up and move about as they require, especially for peer assistance and collaboration.

I have a 1:1 environment so I encourage an elbow-partner style collaboration vs a pilot/navigator style.

I alternate between student-formed groups and assigned groups and when I assign groups, I use a level group strategy to blend high & low performers and diversity of grade level (my class is 9-12) & gender (I have about 50/50)


I try to create like and mixed groups. I copy the PD setup quite a bit. I like the idea of elbow partners, table sharing, then whole class sharing!


It is definitely not an easy task at first, but like all things it comes with time. I personally try to build collaboration by having two students to one laptop. This forces students to work together, to get to know each other. I also have students switch at their computers every 10 to 15 minutes so that every student has a chance. I also try to have one student feed directions while the other student listens and follows the others directions.


I routinely use Google Classroom, which facilitates the sharing and managing of documents, to manage student collaboration. Moreover, general student grouping (usually small groups of 2 to 4) is routinely used to foster student collaboration.


I have a smaller class (14 boys) so I am able to set up my class like a web design office. Each assignment is called a “job”. They are given job titles for each job. These titles and duties are the same as employees in a real firm. Each student is graded on the way he does his specific job. The total “job” is viewed by the class as a whole and we discuss what should have been done and what we liked. At the end of the job, we reset and the students get new partners and new jobs.


I’d love to see the job titles you use and how the ending project comes together.


I have 2 classes in one room on the days that I teach Oracle 1 & Oracle 2. The 2nd year students act as team leaders, mentors and tutors to the 1st year students. I am currently having my students create a database using Oracle and a website to link to the database. Student are working in teams on the Animal Shelter Project.The are creating a database and website for Mrs. Guerin’s Animals shelter, they go online to find animals in shelters to put up for adoption in my shelter. I use name plates on their desks to put them into their teams for each project and helps me get to know them. I have students from at least 5 different high schools in my class. I have their name and their home high school on the name plates. This helps when I have guest speakers and when I have substitutes in the room. Students are free to roam about the room to collaborate with other teams if they need help with a problem they can’t solve. The classroom is arranged so that I can see every screen from my desk and I can tell in a glance whether they are on task or not and react accordingly. The arrangement of the teams is geared to make the students collaborate with everyone in the classroom by the end of the school year. I hold the 2nd year students responsible for helping the 1st year students and keeping them on track. It is amazing to see it all in action. Students are engaged! Working with each other being respectful and totally immersed in what they are doing. Teaching Nirvana!!



Just awesome - I love having students be leaders of their own learning and helping others, it gives them a different and equally rewarding experience in class.



I think it is a good idea to have students work together on projects at times. If they are working individually, they need to at least share what they have worked on during the day with a partner.


I allow students to work in groups of 2 or more to complete activities. Each student is given a responsibility therefore collaboration is encouraged. When they are in groups of 2 students take turns on being the “driver and navigator”.


Carol I like the way you allow the students to take control of their learning. This seems to make the students accountable for their learning and also it seems you have a lot of engagement in your courses.