I teach at a school that is known for its Progressive history, yet even at a school built on the philosophies of Dewey, et. al., I’ve noticed a significant number of students who, for whatever reason, still are wary of collaboration for learning. They hoard sources they find for research papers, don’t trust their classmates, and generally see education as a competition. Given the philosophy of our school, I find this surprising; I can’t begin to imagine how much more prominent this would be at a school that doesn’t continually preach the mantra of Progressive education.
However, I’ve found that using technology in the classroom, especially collaborative technology, is a way to begin the process of reversing the competitive (and exclusive) attitude on the parts of students. An easy way to begin this process is by using googledocs, a free service offered by Google that provides for collaborations between students.
I recently was teaching a lesson on the origins of human rights and wanted students to analyze some documents. Using google docs, I was able to take what was a pretty basic jigsaw lesson plan, make it a little more relevant and active for the students, and save class period time so that I could lead a more in-depth discussion. Below is a video.