Friday, October 23, 2009

Tracking Collaboration by Jared Mader and Ben Smith

In this article they focused on the integration of the NETS-S student standard in science teaching by looking at communication and collaboration. A decade ago, or lets just say a long time ago, in school you were usually assigned a pen pal that you could write to several times a year. Remember that? In our age, technology has opened the doors for many new ways for students to collaborate. The tools that allows this occur are; google docs, wikis, student e-mail, blogging, and chatting. If we as teachers are expecting the students to communicate about their work and collaborate with another, we need to assess how they can do it. With this tool, it offers the students to start their work at school and continue or finish their work at home or anywhere there is access to the Internet. With most of these technology tools, it requires you to submit a valid e-mail address or account which concerns some parents. Most schools will provide the student with an student e-mail address that is highly protected and with no personal information attached to it. One of the most common methods that we use as students is e-mail which is an effective way for students to send messages and work collaboratively. The only problem with this method, is the response time can take as long days and weeks. Because of this, most students have opted to use texting which is much faster and studies have shown that a large number so students have cell phones. I personally have not worked on wikis, but it supposedly offers students a different way to work on assignments and they may the most effective communication tool. Wiki spaces which is something that I personally have not tried offers a discussion board per page that allows students to discuss their work and gives the teacher an easy way to track discussions. In a class project, each group decided to use a different technology tool and each group was successful. The final project either resulted in a web page or suing their wikis as their final project. These technology tools led to skills that could translate a new way of working and will increase productivity. I really liked the last quote in the text, "By helping our students become more effective communicators, we are helping them grow into global contributors."

These technology tools are something that all teachers should incorporate into their curriculum. Not only does it allows students to become familiar with technology, it also gives the students a choice and freedom to use whichever technology tool they feel will work to their advantage and be more beneficial. After reading this article, i think i need to enhance my knowledge of certain technology tools like wikis and wiki spaces. I will take the articles word that they could perhaps be the best communicative technology toll but would like to know firsthand. With this in mind, as a teacher i must know how they operate and function as i will teach and assist my future students. As far as incorporating into my classroom, i think it would be very beneficial to have the students to a simple project with each of the technology tool and take a poll at the end of the year asking which one they liked the best or which one they felt was most beneficial and useful. I also liked the idea that the authors of this article which one is a physics teacher and the other is a director of technology that specifically states the benefits of texting. This is a highly debated topic where i can see and agree with the authors that there are specific benefits of texting especially in group settings.


  1. this sounds great. being able to work on work at school and being able to work on it some were else is great. i remember when i worked on a computer at school and had no way to take it home unless i had a USB drive. now all you have to do is go to a web cite and there it is. how easy it now for us. this is the same thing as google docs. it makes it so much easier to work on projects in a group. the things that we have now a days, makes life so much easier.

  2. This is a great example of how to incorporate technology into the classroom - without making it too much work - on teh teachers part. I like the idea of doing "pen-pals" through emails, it's a great way to expose students to other life styles from all around the world, or even just a state away. The one thing you mentioned in this post that the article talked about that I didn't agree with was the texting. I didn't like the idea of letting students use their phones in class. Also, it is highly ulikly for every student to have a cell phone. I also think that if you let students use cell phones during class they would take advantage of that and get distracted at other points throughout the day. Otherwise, I love the idea - good job on your post.