From 15th October, we start our second part of theory course of “Learning Theory and Pedagogical Use of Technology”. This part is an on-line international collaborative learning. Students, from Oulu, Norway, and Estonia, are divided into seven groups and assigned different scenario, our task is to solve the problems showed on the scenario, display the solution and outcomes in the individual chapter, and make presentation with Prezi, the final aim is to make an educational handbook. Through one month’s working, we make presentations on Thursday and ask for complete all the tasks within this week.
Ana, Asta and I are distributed in Group Two. In our group, there are still four Norwegian students and one Estonian student. Our tutor is Mikhail, he comes from Norway. Our scenario is focused on how to facilitate collaborative learning, cooperation learning, and technology application to design on-line international English course for primary school students. This scenario is a little difficult, for the target object are among eight to ten years old primary school students, so we could not only use collaborative learning theory to deal with the related problems, we add self-regulated learning and cooperation learning theories into our chapter. For the technology, we select WordPress, Google doc, Skype, Lingobee, and E-mail, which are popular and easy to apply for teachers and students. Thanks to Ana, her idea of “dictionary” assists me to get the train of thought for our scenario; thanks to Asta, she also gives me some help in our on-line collaboration process.
There are two most important things I have learned during the on-line part of the theory course. One is I experienced a various kind of collaborative learning form. On-line collaboration is different from face-to-face collaboration, especially with the international students from other universities. Since we have not only distinct learning background and experience, but also strange and unfamiliar with each other. For me, except for preparing some materials in advance, I need to indicate my ideas and thoughts, discuss and negotiate certain viewpoints with other members, make a range of compromise sometimes, and pay attention to the feeling of other students. So this on-line collaborative learning is a precious chance for me, which make me understand the definition of “collaborative learning” more deeply than before. The other one is I apply the knowledge and technology I learned into the specific problem-solving process. This on-line collaboration is just like a project, we need to make a plan, search the theory and technology resources, select and choose strategies, and evaluate our individual outcome; and then we will go on to make another plan and undergo relative works. During the procedure, I use the technology and information into the practical case, at the meantime, my own working activity is also a self-regulated learning and collaborative learning process. Therefore, combining theory with practice is a better method for me to memorize and comprehend the knowledge.
The implementation of the on-line collaboration runs smoothly, although there are some problems. We would publish outcomes on the wiki page after every on-line meeting, allot different portion of the assignment to each member, and discuss the design of presentation on Prizi and final demonstration. The assignment would be reread and revised by our members, and there are still a few disagreements for the different opinions. But happily we make a consensus in the end and complete our tasks promptly.
I think this kind of collaboration is very interesting and meaningful. We communicate with international group members, express our own ideas and viewpoints, debate and accept various suggestions, and bring into contact with different information and messages. This is a good way to broaden our horizon and utilize theoretical knowledge in real life. The on-line collaboration is convenient, rapid, and feasible. We need not spend time on going to university and finding available classroom or other spot to meet each other, and it still break down the barriers of space. So long as we have a computer, a headphone, and network, we could speak and communicate with any person who comes from different countries and districts.
But we should admit that on-line collaboration still has many challenges. On the one hand, the individual schedule is difficult to unify. Just for our group, the first two or three on-line meeting, only our three students (Ana, Asta, and I) from Oulu participate, Norwegian students have a study trip in that time, and even the tutor could not get in touch with Estonian student. Our three girls discuss and plan some issues about the scenario and have to wait for other member’s participation and opinions, for we are a whole group all together. On the other hand, some principles and rules are needed for on-line collaboration. Such as the technical tools should be prepared in advance, attend meeting on time, keep active and participative activities, and so on. If we deal with above-mentioned problems, the on-line collaboration will become an efficient and functional learning and working measure.
In a word, the second part (on-line collaboration) of theory course makes me harvest more, no matter knowledge, experience, and technical application. I am looking forward to the following courses.
Here is the link and presentation of our outcome: