Using Technology to Enhance Group Collaboration in Blended Learning
Workshop Session 1
This workshop is geared for anyone desiring to utilize technology to enhance group work in blended learning classes. Google Applications such as Google Docs and Google Chat, Pinterest, Youtube, and Padlet will be highlighted. Presenters will demonstrate how specific technologies can be implemented to enhance group projects.
Instructors across disciplines are using group work to enhance their students’ learning. Whether the goal is to increase student understanding of content, to build particular transferable skills, or some combination of the two, instructors often turn to group work to capitalize on the benefits of peer-to-peer instruction. Group work does not have to happen in face to face settings. Technologies provide the opportunity to learn in peer groups from a distance. Students can chose what type of technology to use to best illustrate learning based upon comfort, learning style, and topic. This presentation will explore the benefits of technology to enhance group work in the blended learning environment. Student feedback will be included to illustrate how students felt about the use of different technologies presented.
Presenters will share various ways to use the free of cost Google applications in their classes to facilitate positive group interdependence, effortless and efficient collaboration, and individual accountability. A focus will be placed on Google Docs, Google Slides, and Google Hangouts. In addition, ways to enhance group work using Pinterest, Padlet, and Youtube will be demonstrated.
Google Docs: Presenters will show attendees how to use Goggle Docs, which allows students to work collaboratively and simultaneously with group members on the same presentation, report, or document. Ways to contribute ongoing and simultaneous feedback among group members and instructors will be demonstrated in addition to using revision history to hold group members accountable for their work.
Google Slides: Presenters will demonstrate how to stimulate group collaboration using Google Slides. Google Slides works seamlessly with the other Google applications (e.g. data collection) and allows learners to develop and simultaneously modify presentations and other collaborative assignments. Similar to GoogleDocs, each group member can effortlessly modify or add to the existing presentation, making it less cumbersome than PowerPoint. Participants will learn how to create, edit, and share slideshows. Video integration will also be demonstrated.
Google Hangouts: The possibilities of using Google Hangouts in education are endless. With group members just a video call away, students can work on projects, discuss course concepts, share ideas with one another (even those out of state or country), and so much more. Body language and facial expressions are significant aspects of communication that can be lost in written communication. The face to face connection offered by hangouts allows students to forge more meaningful connections while sharing ideas simultaneously. This piece of the workshop will impart ways this medium can transform the group learning experience. Attendees will leave the workshop with realistic ideas and step-by-step instructions for setting this up in their online or blended classes. Online tutorials will also be shared.
Pinterest: Pinterest is a social media tool that provides the ability to save links to resources discovered on the Internet. The articles, images, or videos that are pinned all link back to the original source. A comment can be added to the pin to serve as a reminder of why the resource was selected and pinned. Students can work together on a group project by adding resources such as research articles, videos, and other web-related resources. This can be done together or independently by locating and pinning ideas onto a shared board. Students in the group and the teacher can add comments to the board or to individual pins that have been added.
Padlet: Padlet is an optimal tool for enhancing engagement between instructor and students. Furthermore, students can work individually, in dyads, or in groups in the classroom or outside of the classroom. This private online tool allows students to collaborate effectively, see what other students are doing, and share their ideas with the instructor. Using Padlet allows instructors to stay FERPA compliant while still moderating their classroom in a third party platform conducive to group work. Padlet allows users to enter and exist easily once the instructor has been shared the link with their class. Using Padlet instructors can post critical thinking questions, scenarios for application, pictures, documents or videos and invite students ‘responses. Padlet allow instructors to customize the background and other features to reflect their personality and/or the personality of the class, further increasing course community and building cohesion.
YouTube: Most students report spending a great deal of time watching YouTube videos. Presenters will explain how instructors can use this popular form of social media in the classroom to enhance students collaboration; formulation, expression, and active discussion of viewpoints and current issues. Participants will learn how to create a class YouTube channel, record lectures, share video demonstrations and content-approved films, embed links, and set up creative ways to elicit student comments.
Takeaway: Presenters will share ways that the technologies listed above can be implemented to enhance group work in blended learning classes. Participants will be provided the opportunity to set up accounts to use Google Applications, Pinterest, Padlet, and Youtube. Participants will also have the opportunity to participate in activities that utilize the presented technologies and will leave with resources and step-by-step tutorials to continue use after the presentation.