* What can we gain through collaboration?
Through collaboration we can obtain a broader scope of information and comprehension, and we can be far more productive in far less time than when working independently. For example, I've just spent the last 30 minutes locating and reading as many classmate blogs on collaboration as possible, jump-starting my own thoughts on the subject. I enthusiastically agree with those that responded (and I paraphrase):
- Collaboration in a classroom will keep students engaged.
- By collaborating with each other, teachers gain alternative/fresh viewpoints as well as support.
- Collaboration can facilitate communication, better understanding, and a better working relationship
between teachers and administration.
- It is important students learn to collaborate in the classroom with peers and teachers alike, as it's a basic life skill that will be necessary for "real world" success.
- There are numerous online resources available to students and teachers that leverage collaboration to promote education.
- Learning that happens without collaboration occurs in a void; everyone brings something different to the table.
For me, collaboration has helped me to gain and maintain focus. I am in my first term of grad school and haven't been a student in 12 years. Everything is new and the academic skills I once honed as a successful high school and college student are nearly extinct. I am both excited and anxious by my reintroduction to academia and admittedly a little overwhelmed. When I sit down to an assignment - a reading, writing a response, formulating intelligent thought of any kind - I find it difficult to quiet my mind, focus, and begin producing cohesive, coherent thought. However, collaboration has helped me to clear a path in the labyrinth that is my student mind. I listen to my classmates give their feedback on a certain subject; I ask questions and listen to the answers provided; I search for information online related to the subject I'm studying; I read blogs. Somehow, after I've collaborated with others in some way, my own thoughts begin to organize, find focus, and finally I can begin to communicate and respond intellectually to what I'm learning.
Thus far in my education, I've made collaboration my navigation tool of choice. It's the GPS I'm taking with me on my M.Ed. road trip to make sure I get where I'm going with as few wrong turns and detours as possible.