Shifts to distance learning due to the pandemic have prompted educators to rethink and adapt their pedagogy to the new environment of their classrooms. Many experienced the urgent need to prepare students to be successful in an ever-evolving technological landscape. The biggest challenge for parents was helping their children reach the online class. But they could not use computer-assisted cooperative learning, where students felt isolated and were not communicating with or learning from their classmates. As our district approaches a full year of distance learning, preparations have begun to support the transition to in-person learning. At the same time, distance learning continues, and we must prepare for flexible learning environments that are tailored to the needs of our students in terms of computer-assisted collaborative learning.
I have had the opportunity to talk with both teachers and students of all different grade levels in elementary school about these questions. It’s really easy to get caught up in the negatives of remote help, so I often try to ask questions about what works well. The models of distance learning were distinct, and we benefited from them as much as possible. These interactions inspired my research question to address the ISTE standard for this unit:
ISTE Student Standard 1: Empower Learners
Students leverage technology to take an active role in choosing, achieving, and demonstrating competency in their learning goals, as informed by the learning sciences.
How do we design learning spaces that encourage social communication among students? How can this design model be adapted so that students can provide positive feedback to their classmates? And how do we ensure equality in digital collaborative learning?
What is computer-supported cooperative learning?
The use of electronic educational platforms works to link teachers and learners to sites where teachers place lessons and assignments, which gives learners freedom at the time they will follow these lessons and also helps them exchange their ideas and opinions with their colleagues and teachers, and that is through generalizing access to knowledge in all its forms, giving learners opportunities for analysis, discussion, and dialogue, saving costs (because these materials are usually ready), supporting interaction between learners and between the teacher and learners, achieving fun and suspense, and achieving effective cooperation between teachers and learners.
Peer interaction that is supported by information and communication technologies for the purpose of learning is known as computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) (ICT). CSCL also refers to the field of study that examines such activity as well as the learning that results from it. Before briefly discussing the scope of the research field, we look at the terms “learning,” “collaborative,” “computer,” and “supported” in turn. Daniel D. (2012) Understanding your lesson goals and assessments will help you make better decisions about the time, place, path, and pace of your lesson (Douma, 2020).
Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) describes learning scenarios in which small groups of three to five students interact while attempting to solve a challenging, unstructured problem or create a project. CSCL is a cutting-edge educational tool that brings students together and can provide imaginative opportunities for social interaction and intellectual exploration. For CSCL, you can use interactive whiteboards, blogs, and other tools that combine writing and communication. Due to the social implications of problem solving, problem-based learning lends itself well to CSCL. Students require an e-tutor to facilitate discussions and act as a facilitator in order to implement CSCL effectively. (Oohnson, Johnson, & Stanne, 2000)
The design process of the model is to build collaboration stations that enable students to form networks with others to support learning. It is the primary design strategy for empowering learners. Students can exchange opinions, have discussions, or work together on an activity here. In addition, give students time at stations to set and reflect on their learning goals. An entry/exit task center where all students can participate simultaneously before and after the turnstiles can be used for this purpose.
Effective student interaction is necessary for collaborative learning to be successful. However, when students are left to their own devices, they hardly ever interact with one another in order to clarify and defend their beliefs, express their logic, or elaborate and reflect on their knowledge. By structuring interaction that would otherwise be lacking, collaboration scripts seek to support these learning activities. In cognitive psychology, the term “script” refers to a person’s or a group’s culturally shared understanding of commonplace circumstances expressed as generalized procedures (Schank & Abelson, 1977). When we go to a restaurant, for example, the “restaurant script” tells us what to do and what to expect, the roles that we and other participants play, and the order in which all events are supposed to happen. Science education is Activity programs with collaboration scripts are provided to structure how collaborative learners interact with one another (O’Donnell & Dansereau, 1992). Collaboration scripts, like the “restaurant script,” can direct students on what to do during a learning task, the roles they play, and the order of activities to complete. Since then, many researchers and educators in the field of computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) have adopted this strategy of what they called “scripted cooperation,” leading to the creation of a wide variety of creative yet distinctive script examples. (Kobbe, 2006:27) (EduTech Wiki, 2019)
Foster an inclusive environment and community in the classroom.
Intentionally design and plan for collaborative learning.
Communicate the purpose and expectations of the activity. Partner with your students.
engage specific technologies to facilitate collaborative learning activities.
(Columbia University in the City of New York)
CTL, C. (2019) Resources and Technology, Columbia CTL. Available at: https://ctl.columbia.edu/resources-and-technology/teaching-with-technology/teaching-online/collaborative-learning-online/
Douma, K. (2020, September 28). How to Make Station Rotation Work During Hybrid Learning. https://www.edutopia.org/article/how-make-station-rotation-work-during-hybrid-learning .
Suthers, D.D. (1970) Computer-supported collaborative learning, SpringerLink. Springer US. Available at: https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_389
Gulzar, A.A., By and Gulzar, A.A. (no date) CSCL – computer supported collaborative learning, Educare. Available at: https://educarepk.com/cscl-computer-supported-collaborative-learning.html