Ulearn Conference 2012

Workshop Action Plan
  • Welcome and “Wallwisher
  • Group activity on “Collaboration” demonstrating discussion post on Wiki
  • Examples of student collaboration in practice demonstrating Moodle forums and Google forms evaluated pedagogically
  • Other platforms for collaboration: Twitter, Voice Thread, Face book, Answer Garden
  • Collaborating to generate Feedback and Feed forward using Learning Dialogue and Rubric

This workshop will look at how online learning environments such as blogs, ePortfolios and other ICT software can give students ownership of their learning and at the same time allow them to cognitively engage with other students to critically enhance their understanding of the networked world around them. Vygotsky and a wide body of research recognise that students learn best when in ‘social situations in which they are actively engaged with other learners who are near their same level of understanding ‘. Added to the importance of collaborative learning is the exponential expansion of technology in the 21st Century. This workshop aims to address the point at which these two strands cross and give some practical applications of how students can take advantage of digital technology to manage their own learning, as well as actively network with other students in collaborative learning. The work shop will incorporate collaboration in discussion forums as well as peer assessment making use of feedback and feed forward. The workshop will be interactive and is suitable for teachers new to using ICT as well as those who want to expand their horizons.

Learning outcomes
  • Recognise the value of forums for generating student based collaborative learning discussions that promote critical thinking.
  • Gain an understanding of how to direct collaborative learning in order to encourage learning- effective student participation.
  • Gain an understanding of how to set up effective feedback and feed forward to facilitate peer assessment through collaborative learning and through establishing collaborative learning relationships

1. Read the Dillenbourg extract below and identify a key idea that resonates with you. A key idea could be something new, something surprising, something you agree/disagree with.

Pierre Dillenbourg (1999) argues that collaborative learning is neither a mechanism, nor a method.
  • Collaborative learning is not one single mechanism: if one talks about "learning from collaboration", one should also talk about "learning from being alone". Individual cognitive systems do not learn because they are individual, but because they perform some activities (reading, building, predicting, ...) which trigger some learning mechanisms (induction, deduction, compilation,...). Similarly, peers do not learn because they are two, but because they perform some activities which trigger specific learning mechanisms. This includes the activities/mechanisms performed individually, since individual cognition is not suppressed in peer interaction. But, in addition, the interaction among subjects generates extra activities (explanation, disagreement, mutual regulation, ...) which trigger extra cognitive mechanisms (knowledge elicitation, internalisation, reduced cognitive load, ...). The field of collaborative learning is precisely about these activities and mechanisms. These may occur more frequently in collaborative learning than in individual condition.
  • collaborative learning is not a method because of the low predictability of specific types of interactions. Basically, collaborative learning takes the form of instructions to subjects (e.g. "You have to work together"), a physical setting (e.g. "Team mates work on the same table") and other institutional constraints (e.g. "Each group member will receive the mark given to the group project"). Hence, the 'collaborative' situation is a kind of social contract, either between the peers or between the peers and the teacher (then it is a didactic contract). This contract specifies conditions under which some types of interactions may occur, there is no guarantee they will occur. For instance, the 'collaboration' contract implicitly implies that both learners contribute to the solution, but this is often not the case. Hence, a general concern is to develop ways to increase the probability that some types of interaction occur.

Share your key idea in the wiki forum and consider what others have to say.
Do this by clicking on discussion post icon in the information bar at the top of this page and then on the "What is collaborative learning?" subject.

Respond to someone else's contribution by asking a question for clarification or for more information.

STUDENTS from MRGS comment on MyPortfolio

Read the exchange below and use the effective pedagogy bullet points ( NZ Curriculum ) and Hattie's Seven Principles common to high quality learning and achievement to discuss the learning that is evident in the student exchange. Discuss your thoughts with the person next to you and record your shared ideas in this google form.
The answers will automatically show up on this spreadsheet:
Student forum examples
Effective pedagogy
external image thumb.php?type=profileicon&maxsize=40&id=12824Fiona Burns This discussion is an extract from a forum I had set up on MyPortfolio for the students to discuss the characters in "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. The comment I posted was to get the ball rolling.

Ultimately, Liesel learns the power of words to influence humans to act towards both good and evil as she experiences the beauty and the brutality of humanity. Death describes her as a "perpetual survivor," and Liesel survives Hitler's reign while many of those whom she loves perish as a result of World War II and the Holocaust.

Harry: Posts 6


I don't think you should judge whether the story would be boring if Liesel had died in place of her brother. In the book he wasn't alive long enough for us to have an understanding of his character, and if that character would have provided for an interesting book full of just as many meaningful ralationships. Unless you deem his inability to survive an obvious weakness symbolic of overall failure as a character. But that seems a harsh view and I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt. Mainly because I think that anyone put in the situations Liesel was would result in an interesting life. And I think that the relationships are formed due to these terrible situations people faced.

One attribute specific to Liesel however, that insured the storys success that wouldn't have been as clear if she was replaced by her brother, is her age. Much of the story is built on the idea of this in-between age she is at, on the edge of innocence. And so her younger brother(6) would have given a different perspective, as he lacks the maturity to percieve some of the deeper meanings of the situations Liesel was in.

On a different note(possibly somewhat related to the above), it interested me that amongst all Liesels thoughts and Deaths, the afterlife is never mentioned. The main most obvious reference is "Himmel st" which translates to Heaven.Liesel Quotes.

"It made me sad to think my brother would be six years old forever."

This doesn't imply any specifics just that he still exists somehow in a non-living form. And as for death carrying souls away. Where to? Not Heaven, as in this story it would seem he is carrying them away from Heaven.
Posts: 6
  • create a supportive learning environment
  • encourage reflective thought and action
  • enhance the relevance of new learning
  • facilitate shared learning
  • make connections to prior learning and experience
  • provide sufficient opportunities to learn
  • inquire into the teaching–learning relationship.
Point taken. I did not mean what I said to come across like that, I was merely saying that Deaths development of Liesels character, and his observations on how she makes the most of her situation is what the Book Thief is all about. The idea of Liesel dying instead of her brother was purely hypothetical, and used to reinforce the point that Liesels many unique traits make her tale more appealing. If the story had been centered around any other character, it would be a completely different story, not boring, just, different...As it is, the cohesion is perfect for the points the author is trying to get across If the main character was a little boy, society would deem Deaths interest a whole lot creepier.
Interesting observation on the whole afterlife thing. I suppose Zusak wanted to keep the story realistic and believable, and not introduce too many speculatory answers to lifes mysteries, and distract the reader from the more important issues
Himmel Street was kinda like Heaven to Liesel. It was where she found herself, she found literature, and she found love. Despite their poverty, the war, and the raids, Liesel managed to make the most of her time there
It is suggested that God was around, Liesels prayers may have helped their situation... And God saying to Death "It's not your job to understand" If God and Heaven went hand in hand, then Heaven would exist... But maybe Death, as the narrator, never gets that far, he just completes the orders set by the big fella, and delivers them on Gods doorstep
Life ends at Death

Seven principles common to high-quality learning and achievement

(Evidence –Based teaching by Geoff Petty, 2009)


Students must see the value of learning
Students need to be persuaded of the value and purpose of learning what they are about to learn. Marzano gives this top priority.
Students must believe they can do it
Students must expect some success, though not necessarily total success.
Challenging goals
Hattie’s first principles: the goals should involve student activity, reasoning not reproduction and all students should work towards the goal (could be cooperative learning)
Feedback and dialogue on progress towards the goal
Students need information about: the extent to which they have achieved the goals; descriptions about how to improve and progress; developing a growing understanding of the goals
Establish the structure of information and so its meaning
This involves relations between concepts: from known to unknown; from concrete to abstract; the structure first then the detail.
Time and repetition
Multiple contexts, multiple perspectives and multiple representations
Teach skills as well as content
If the teacher makes times to teach study and thinking skills and integrates these into their teaching, then students learn these skills and their understanding of the content is improved with an average affect size of 0.77

Other scenarios for collaboration:

To tweet or not to tweet

Facebook for learning

The eLearning planning framework is a great tool for evaluating the effectiveness of the web 2 technology. The learning outcome is what is important and the technology is just a tool that needs to support and empower that rather than become an end in itself.

Framework for Self Review PEDAGOGY.PNG

Collaborating on MyPortfolio

The Power of Feedback

"Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement, but this impact can be either positive or negative". (Hattie & Timperley, 2007).
Summary of Hattie's points:
Effective forms of feedback provided cues or reinforcement to learners and /or relate to goals.
Effective feedback answers three questions which work in tandem:
  1. "Where am I going?" (The goals or success criteria working towards)
  2. "How am I going?" (Feedback)
  3. "Where to next?" (Feed forward)
The focus of feedback is important and directly influences its effectiveness:
  1. [FT] The task level - e.g. "your essay needs to include more detail about the conflict faced by the character"
  2. [FP] The process level - e.g. "this page may make more sense if you use the strategies we discussed earlier"[FS
  3. [FR] The self-regulation level - e.g. "you already know the features of an introduction. Check to see if you have incorporated them here."
  4. [FS] The self-level e.g. "That's an intelligent response, well done.."

Answer garden


Answer Garden QR.png