The traditional K-12 educational model involves mostly one-way communication. The teacher stands in front of the class and delivers a lecture. Students are then given assignments and tests, and mastery of a subject is based on correct responses. Collaborative learning is a complete 180 from the traditional model.
Collaborative learning emphasizes interaction among groups of students to achieve a specific goal or solve a specific problem. In many cases, the group determines what project they should tackle and what the ideal outcome should be. This can include a variety of collaborative activities, such as creative projects, writing, scientific experiments, and the visualization of concepts discussed in the classroom.
With collaborative learning, students don’t simply memorize facts or recite the single correct response to a question. Each student has a voice in their own learning. Collaborative learning requires preparation from both an individual and team perspective. Students have the opportunity to express and defend their own ideas as those ideas are challenged and scrutinized by others. They receive feedback from peers and offer feedback of their own. They learn how to compromise and come to a consensus.
Collaborative learning teaches students that success is found not only in the outcome, but in the process. They learn critical thinking and problem solving. They can leverage the strengths and expertise of each individual to complete certain tasks while working collaboratively to achieve a common goal. Students discover that there are often many approaches to solving the same problem. They learn that certain situations or problems can be interpreted differently, and not every question has a right or wrong answer.
The right technology is critical to collaborative learning. For example, video conferencing applications make it possible for students to connect face-to-face regardless of location. It can extend collaboration beyond the classroom and campus. Interactive whiteboards enable students to work together, solve problems and complete projects. Educational materials and resources can be securely accessed from any Internet-connected device.
The Intel Unite platform was designed to enable and simplify real-time collaboration. An Intel Core vPro processor-based, mini PC serves as the hub, and the Intel Unite application is installed on all user devices. Because Intel Unite is an open platform, users can collaborate on any device. Students and teachers can begin collaborating quickly and instantly connect to conferencing equipment, interactive whiteboards, and other collaboration tools. Access is controlled with PIN codes, while advanced encryption and other enterprise-grade security tools keep data protected. Content can be shared and edited in real time whether users are in the same classroom or on opposite sides of the world.
New Intel Unite capabilities include sophisticated meeting room analytics to track usage and monitor system health. Meeting control features have been customized to allow teachers to moderate and control who presents content. Schools can now use a static PIN, which allows all students and teachers to use the same PIN in a given session.
Just like in business, effective collaboration is becoming a critical part of K-12 education. Intel Unite provides the technological foundation for collaborative learning so students can learn valuable, real-world skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
by Edna Zielmanski, National SLED Relationship Manager at ProSys Information Systems