This is the third in my series of blog posts regarding the NETS for Teachers. Today we are continuing with the first area of Student Learning and Creativity, which encourages teachers to utilize technology in various ways that excites students and enhances their imaginativeness. I am going to explore NETS-T 1c, which recommends that teachers Promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes.
Promoting student reflection with technology can be very easy with the right technology tools. Google Docs is tool that is accessible to our 5th - 12th graders with their school Google accounts. A Google Document can be shared with an entire class or just a small group of students as part of a discussion about something in class. There are other ways to hold a discussion, but while class is going on, with a Backchannel, like Today's Meet. Here is a great resource that lists 27 different online tools that you could use with your students in the classroom, Top 27 Free Tools to Collaborate, Hold Discussions, and BackChannel with Students. You will definitely find something that fits your needs in this list of 27 free resources.
Another great technology tool for collaboration is blogging. This is a tool that can be used with students of all grade levels. I found a video that describes how students as early as 1st grade can blog, Blogging in the Elementary Classroom. By incorporating book talks, elementary students can easily use blogging to share what they have learned.
Graphic Organizers are another tool that allows students to show understanding, thinking, planning, and the creative processes. There are some online graphic organizers that allow students to collaborate, they are listed in this article by the Connected Classroom, on Graphic Organizers.
Here are some more links to resources on Digital Collaboration and Digital Class Discussions and Digital Tools that Promote and Support Creative Thinking.
Take some time to promote digital collaboration in your classroom today. You will find that it is worth the time and effort when you can actually see what your students know through their digital collaboration.