"Are we preparing our students for a world of mass collaboration?"
"How do we prepare our students for a world of mass collaboration?"
It has taken me weeks to figure out how to address these two questions for me personally as a teacher. The idea of mass collaboration with 5 to 7 year olds is a bit overwhelming for me - blogs, wikis, chats, etc. Then I decided that mass collaboration has developmental levels just like everything else. Sometime I need to remind myself that sometimes to reach an end goal you have to start small with block at a time. So with that in mind - I'm ready to answer the questions.
I do believe that I am preparing my students for a world of mass collaboration. I am doing that by giving my students the skills that they need to cooperate during face-to-face social and academic situations. My students work together in partnerships and small groups to inquire, discover, make choices, learn, and teach together. They are developing the skills needed to take turns, participate equally, listen to each other, and give feedback. In my eyes these are the skills they will need to become effective mass collaborators in their very near future.
In the beginning I think it is important for students to know how to cooperate & collaborate face-to-face with others before they are introduced to the multitude of tech tools that are available for them to use to mass collaborate with students in other class rooms, at other schools, and beyond.
**While searching for information about collaboration and cooperation in early childhood settings I found Stepping Forward: Personal and Digital Learning in the 21st Century a blog that is worth taking a look at if you have the time.**