What are Collaborative Environments?

Collaborative environments are online spaces — often cloud-based — where the focus is on making it easy to collaborate and work in groups, no matter where the participants may be. As the typical educator’s network of contacts has grown to include colleagues who might live and work across the country, or indeed anywhere on the globe, it has become common for people who are not physically located near each other to nonetheless collaborate on projects. Joint classroom-based projects with students at other schools or in other countries are more and more common strategies used to expose learners to a variety of perspectives. The essential attribute of the technologies in this set is that they make it easy for people to share interests and ideas, to easily monitor their collective progress, and to see how ideas have evolved throughout the process. These tools are compelling and widely adopted because they are not only easy to use, but they are also either very low cost or free, and often accessible with a simple web browser.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - alan alan Jan 27, 2010

1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • collaboration is a 21st century skill and needed in almost all kinds of work in the future. Obviously, it's very relevant in any fields of education as schools are going global, teachers are becoming globally networked and the only sustainable way of collaborating is virtually. Global education is becoming an integral part of curriculum and international projects and networks will be the learning environments of the near future for everybody. - tiina.sarisalmi tiina.sarisalmi Oct 23, 2013 - good point - helga helga Oct 26, 2013
  • With collaborative skills increasingly appreciated and as we head towards 2015 and the introduction of assessment of collaborative skills becoming part of OECD PISA measurements, it seems reasonable to expect that interest in the use of technology for encouraging collaboration and for assessing collaborative problem solving may become of increasing interest see http://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/Draft%20PISA%202015%20Collaborative%20Problem%20Solving%20Framework%20.pdf - Gavin Gavin Oct 30, 2013, [- kiira.karkkainen kiira.karkkainen Nov 3, 2013]
  • - Neil.Ingram Neil.Ingram Nov 3, 2013 This is good news. The true potential of these technologies lies in new modes of collaborative working, with the teacher acting as a facilitator. Indeed the role of the teacher may became increasingly essentila, although different. [- kiira.karkkainen kiira.karkkainen Nov 3, 2013]
  • Collaborative environments are very attractive for students, as well as for adults. These environments present opportunities for self-expression and friendship building and also for building skills that will be a foundation for career success in the 21st century. 21st century skills include learning through digital means, such as social networking. This enables individuals to function in social networks and contribute to the development of social and intellectual capital. It is also important to working together in order to solve problems which involve the contribution and exchange of ideas, knowledge or resources to achieve the goal. This technology is important because is free and accessible, so every school can use it for encouraging cooperation. - ikomninou ikomninou Oct 30, 2013ikomninou- ikomninou ikomninou Oct 30, 2013- gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Nov 3, 2013
  • I take the rather unfashionable view that technology which enables people to collaborate is not actually very important in education, for the simple reason that if a class of students are already in the same room as each other all day long, they don't need digital technology to enable them to collaborate. They can just speak to each other. Collaborating in person teaches you much more than collaborating through social media.- paul paul Nov 3, 2013

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • I think collaborative environments are not only for learning across borders, they're also for learning within your own school and classroom. In the future schools, learning will be more and more project-, inquiry- and problem-based, students building knowledge together collaboratively. Internet and collaborative environments there provide a place where this learning can take place, the process can be followed and the results presented and shared. - tiina.sarisalmi tiina.sarisalmi Oct 23, 2013 - another good point :-)- helga helga Oct 26, 2013 Agree, but for this to happen at scale, curriculum and assessment must value and recognise collaborative effort. - jimdevine jimdevine Oct 30, 2013 While Pisa is including collaboration, national scale evaluations may not. Assessment and curriculum should include this dimension, as well as national evaluations- gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Nov 3, 2013

  • Collaborative environments for teachers. Teachers are unlikely to foster collaborative activities and the social skills of teamwork and collaboration in their students if they themselves operate in splendid isolation as sole practitioners. Teachers themselves need to develop and engage with collaborative opportunities, particularly using digital and social media platforms. - jimdevine jimdevine Oct 30, 2013
  • One essential question may be what kind of blend between face-to-face and online interatcion collaboration may require to be effective? Is pure online collaboration enough or should there be a face-to-face interaction and how much of that? [- kiira.karkkainen kiira.karkkainen Nov 3, 2013]

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on European schools education?

  • teachers and students learn to learn actively, using modern technology to build and share knowledge. They learn from each other across the world as the processes and new innovations are rapidly shared in the networks connected with the environments. - tiina.sarisalmi tiina.sarisalmi Oct 23, 2013
  • To the extent that assessment and comparison often drives behaviour, then inclusion of collaborative problem solving within OECD PISA scores is likely to have a growing impact, and the mode of assessing these skills is likely to be through technology (see 1 above). It would be a shame (indeed a case of tail wagging dog) of that is the sole motivation for greater attention to collaboration through technology - but if we work together we can make it otherwise! - Gavin Gavin Oct 30, 2013, [- kiira.karkkainen kiira.karkkainen Nov 3, 2013]
  • At teachers level we are seeing how collaboration is fostering innovation and peer training. In fact, this phenomenon is brining to our system a huge amount of bottom-up innovation. We think that, as teachers are becoming more confident with the technologies that make possible online collaboration, and know better the benefits, they will use them more at class. - gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Nov 3, 2013

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • there are quite a few big projects like eTwinning in Europe, SOLE globally. In general, it's a major challenge of curriculum design and of the change of school culture, being addressed in many projects across Europe. - tiina.sarisalmi tiina.sarisalmi Oct 23, 2013
  • European Commission's etwinning project has helped schools to find other schools with which to work, and I believe is increasingly open to participation by schools from outside the European Union - Gavin Gavin Oct 30, 2013
  • I know many European projects like eTwinning, Comenius, Leonardo etc. But there are also other projects for promoting collaboration between Europe and Asia, like ASEF NET. I believe such projects offers a good picture of how these technologies can help learning across borders. - ikomninou ikomninou Oct 30, 2013
  • In our region, we are promoting online collaboration using Google Apps for Education, through a project called PNTEApps. We are finding that, as we offer some possibilities, very often teachers demand more and find new possibilities. - gabriel.rubio.navarro gabriel.rubio.navarro Nov 3, 2013

  • Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project sharing form