“I was scheduled in a new-to-me classroom this semester, so I went to visit it in person like you suggested. When I got there, I found that my students will be sitting at collaborative tables of 6 with a collaboration display at each table. …” – IU Faculty
This is an example of several instructor emails I have received recently, followed by, “I’m so excited!” or “What do I do with them?” and several reactions in between. So, I think it’s time to share some more ideas.
One of the easiest ways to use group collaboration screens in a classroom is to ask students to collaborate on a product or in response to a prompt. This could mean collaboratively searching for evidence in support of a statement. Or it could mean aggregating individual ideas into a single, shared document. Another possibility could be collaborating to create a group presentation.
One classroom activity that can be especially enhanced with collaboration screens is peer review. When asking groups of students to collaborate in class, it can be difficult for an individual instructor (even with TAs!!) to get around to each group and provide them feedback, but collaboration screens can help address this challenge. For example, imagine each group – in response to a discussion prompt – has collaborated to create a Google doc; using collaboration screens to facilitate this group writing allows everyone in the group to simultaneously contribute to and view a single document.
An application like Google Docs also allows documents to be quickly and easily shared between groups, with the subsequent peer review process also enhanced by collaboration screens (i.e., group members can simultaneously view and comment on a single document). Using collaboration screens in this way also avoids the need for groups to physically switch tables (not insignificant, especially in a large class where asking students to physically move from one table to another can detract from valuable class time).
In providing feedback, students also informally receive feedback. When students review another group’s work they are able to see how some of their peers addressed the same prompt. Students might realize that the other group addressed the prompt using a totally different approach or produced an even more rigorous artifact than their own team did. This new perspective on the original assignment that feedback provides can be leveraged to improve students’ original group assignment. Instructors can ask students who have reviewed a peer’s work, to take their new knowledge and make changes their own collaborative work.
Collaboration screens are a great way to facilitate peer feedback. Have you successfully utilized group collaboration screens in your course? Share your ideas in the comments below or contact us about writing your own blog and share your ideas with others. Interested in more resources about active learning? Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, subscribe to the blog, and read more at https://mosaic.iu.edu.