Possibilities with technology for collaboration and developing multiliteracies

Talking about digital media as a tool to support teaching and learning is not new nowadays. The single fact of including technologies in the teaching process will not imply that we are innovating in our classrooms or teaching environments (face-to-face, online, blended). We could could transform the whole student experience using simple tools as PowerPoint, but we can also use it just to replace a blackboard (which is okay, but it'd be the same than before just using a different tool).

What digital technologies could help with, is bringing a great variety of possibilities to change the classroom experience and transform it into a constructivist, unique and student-driven one. This, of course, will imply some changes in educators' mindset. Changing the paradigm of teaching, giving students the chance to become "the main characters of the movie", where questions and students' interests are taken into consideration in the curriculum design.

John Cano


A collaborative and constructivist approach is easier now than before thanks to technology, specially those that were built in the Web 2.0* era. Simple tools like the Google Drive "package" allows multiple forms of interactions through sharing folders with the whole class or groups of students; edit a file (e.g spreadsheets, text documents, slideshow presentations or drawings) by multiple users at the same time; creating a collaborative Website using "Google Sites"; creating a classroom YouTube Channel to share video-based projects or promote video-content related to the subject matter taught; using Blog tools—such as Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr, among others— to encourage students to create their own PLE (personal learning environment) where they can develop the content, tasks, projects for a particular class, and receive feedback from peers who can check their work; using telecollaboration/video calls as a way to communicate with other people or to execute projects in a distance-based setting enables students to establish rich interactions.

Among all the possibilities, and much more available if we wanted to include those tools that are not necessarily meant to be educational but, with a good twist and use, will work nicely—like social networks—it is up to educators to take advantage of these to "engage" with students using them to create new ways of learning. However, as I stated at the beginning of this post, technology are just the tool or medium, they will be potentially useful only if we change our mindset of what is to teach under a student-driven philosophy.




*Web 2.0 definition (external Website)

Comments

  1. I have a question about your statement that technological tools can help educators transform classrooms into "constructivist, unique, and student-driven" ones! You do a good job of recognizing that technology won't automatically do this without deliberate effort on educators' part, and that a broader reconfiguration of our pedagogical ideals must accompany technological transformation for it to be truly effective. But do you think that there *must* be technology incorporated into the classroom to make it constructivist and student-driven? Couldn't this, in theory, also be accomplished without the use of technology? I'm thinking of some of the more radical educational theorists I'm familiar with, like Ivan Illich and Paolo Freire, who accomplished constructivist and student-driven pedagogical practices in the 60s and 70s without what we would consider to be "modern" technology at all.

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    1. Hello Anna,

      I totally agree with you. I do not consider technology as the only way to bring constructivism to the classroom, there are different alternatives for educators to bring such approach. This is kind of the same mindset about "innovation in the classroom", today people conceive that the sole fact of bringing technology to the classroom is an example of innovation—and we know it is not.

      What I am sure is that technology allow us to create new spaces that could (or not) make our practice more situated based on the society we live in: We are surrounded by technology and the access to data and the consumption of it is the biggest in the story. So, through the use of technology we could foster other competences across the curriculum (information literacy, digital literacy, among others).

      Thanks for your comment!

      John

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