Content Tech: Cooperative Learning

Content Tech
Ideas for Technology Use in the Classroom

In an ongoing look at the book,
Using Technology with Classroomcooperative Instruction that Works, the next strategy is cooperative learning. The research indicates that when technology is used collaboratively, there is a modest increase in effect size (learning).

Multimeda, and specifically creating a video, is a perfect way to structure student learning cooperatively. When students work in teams to create a video, it forces them to construct meaning and perform it as well. One big caveat about using video projects is best said by the authors:

“Creating a video is a complex task that requires many roles and responsibilities. By nature, both multimedia projects and cooperative learning groups require attention to detail in the planning process.”

Students have no problem working with video technology – they are surrounded by it, and really enjoy it. When they get the opportunity to do a video, it is very motivating. Two items that help to foster quality video projects are rubrics and storyboards.

As with any work, having a rubric to frame a video assignment is very helpful. The website Rubistar has many different examples of multimedia rubrics that can easily be refined and revised. I’ve used them many times as a resource, and then altered them to include content-specific criteria in addition to technical criteria.

Storyboarding is just like pre-writing. Having a plan for a video is especially important because it makes students think about what resources they will need for the video (location/equipment/materials, etc.). Experience has shown that students do not necessarliy like the storyboarding process, but it definitley helps the product.

Video projects are possible in any class – we’ve done videos in ELA, Social Studies, Science, LOTE, and more. They provide a valuable way to engage students in cooperative learning.

Photo courtesy of Mulsanne on Flickr