I've spent a good deal of time this year developing my students' collaborative skills. I've had them analyze collaboration rubrics and define what it means to be a great team player. They even made their own rubric! (see right). Every PBL I designed this year involves multiple rounds of peer revision. Recently, I've moved towards always having an individual product AND a team product to encourage more collaboration in projects. At this point in the year, my students know can define a great teammate, and they are continually working towards the standards we've set:
- Great teams actively generate ideas. In strong teams, all members contribute.
- Great teams identify individual strengths and capitalize on them.
- Great team identify areas where they need to grow.
- Great teams give AND take feedback from each other.
- Great teams respect each others and maintain a positive culture.
- When is the last time I had someone evaluate one of my lessons?
- When is the last time I asked someone to look at a project I designed and give some feedback?
- When have I asked someone to come and observe my class?
- Do I give and take feedback on a regular basis, weekly? maybe daily?
- What goals do I have, and were those goals made in isolation, or are they part of a larger collaborative vision?
- What strengths do I bring to the table? What strengths exist within other members of my team?
In an effort to give/receive feedback on a professional level and to experiment with some potentially awesome tech., I tried out VoiceThread to get some feedback on a PBL that I'm implementing. I thought it was a REALLY cool website/app, and I can see its potential. Teachers could give/receive feedback on a host of things in digital space. It would also be GREAT for teachers who can't find a common time to meet or who live in different states. If you don't have a PBL background, I don't expect you to give any feedback on this "thread" that I made, but I wanted to share it just to give you an idea of what it looks like. I made a fancy screencast, but it's just as easy to make a thread about a document, a picture, or a quick video you recorded on your iPhone/iPad.
Feel free to share your thoughts about collaboration. Where are you at when it comes to collaboration? What's your story? What have you learned about it in the last couple years? Does your team have protocols in place to facilitate feedback? Does your team take the initiative to set up peer observations or leverage video technology to do the same? These are a few questions to dwell on, but feel free to add you own.