M5 Task 3 - Pros and cons of collaborative projects
Consider the experience of a Spanish teacher, Johanna E Cena, Bridging Gaps between Cultures, Classrooms and Schools: A Close Look at Online Collaborative Learning (http://ifets.ieee.org/periodical/vol_3_2000/d01.html).
You can print out a summary of this article if you wish (M5 Task 3 Cena Summary).
Go to the Virtual Architecture website and read the following article by Judi Harris, to see some potential problems.
Taboo Topic No Longer: Why Telecollaborative Projects Sometimes Fail (http://virtual-architecture.wm.edu).
Click on Ch.1: Foundational Ideas > Focus: Designing an Activity > Why telecollaborative projects sometimes fail. (This is a pdf file and it could take some minutes to download, depending on the capacity of your modem and processor. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to open it)
Consider the following questions and make notes of your responses:
- What general benefits could come from students working on a collaborative project in the classroom?
- What negative aspects might there be?
- How could potential disadvantages be overcome?
- Is there value in cross-cultural contact between students? If so, what? If not, why not?
- What means, other than the Internet, exist for Australian students to work with students in other countries, or in other parts of Australia?
- How does the Internet compare with other forms of communication as a method of communication between distant groups of students?
You can print out these questions if you wish (M5 Task 3 Questions).
Have a look at Observations on Educational Electronic Networks: The Importance of Appropriate Activities for Learning by James A Levin, Al Rogers, Michael L Waugh and Kathleen Smith (http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/Guidelines/LRWS.html). Although written some time ago, this is a useful illustration of the potential pitfalls of an epals project and how careful planning can create success.
The article, The Email Read Around the World, by Steve Friess (http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,20154,00.html) is a cautionary tale of an email project that had unforseen consequences.
The research paper, Project Pillars: Foundations for Success in Online Curriculum Projects by Jane Carr (http://www.edna.edu.au/sibling/pillars/default.htm) has an About the Paper section that is worth reading.
Have another look at the questions you answered at the beginning of this task and add any new points you have found in any of the articles.