Emphasize core values such as respect, patience, and teamwork.
Student collaboration can take many forms. Whether it's peer-to-peer teaching, connecting with kids in other countries, or working together on websites and projects, students benefit from shared challenges and successes. Safe communication and respectful knowledge sharing is at the core of these collaborative strategies.
When kids are pushed to explain, listen, and provide feedback, they practice higher-level skills such as evaluation and constructive critique. At the same time, these activities underscore the need for patience, kindness, and encouragement in the classroom and beyond. Check out these ideas for fostering a more collaborative classroom.
It's important for students to learn from their peers inside and outside the physical classroom. This site connects students with peers in other countries and provides the opportunity to collaborate on projects related to culture, science, social change, and more. Kids will not only practice safe communication skills and teamwork -- they'll learn about other cultures, languages, and belief systems. Teachers can search for partner classrooms by age, language, country, and/or class size, and, once paired, classrooms can communicate through video chat, email, and a private workspace on the site.
Bring students together to build a shared knowledge base as they learn the fundamentals of web creation. Wikispaces accommodates a range of skill levels and makes it easy to collaborate with simple sharing functionality and a built-in discussion board for each new page. Students can post ideas about the page or give feedback on peer contributions. As kids get creative with adding widgets, images, and hyperlinks to the wiki, remember how useful revision history can be for group work: Each edit is recorded and attributed to an author, and it's easy to undo changes or revert to the original layout.
Challenge students not only to ask questions but explain what they know to their peers. Although this Q&A tool is geared toward advanced students, the model of peer-to-peer teaching and editing is a great way to build engagement and collaboration in any classroom. Piazza's format is unique in providing only one designated student response (that can be peer-edited) and one teacher response to each question. Students and teachers can view a history of the edits for each response, and teachers can mark student responses with a check mark to verify a correct answer.