Enhancing Student Collaboration

with New Media


I have found throughout the years, that planning, implementing, and monitoring student collaboration can be challenging. I strongly believe that student collaboration in and out of the classroom is important to all students and their understanding of mathematics. My purpose in using new media, including my class website, is to make the planning, implementation, and monitoring of student collaboration in and out of the classroom more efficient for my students as well as myself.

My Dream Project: Ms. Werner's Algebra 1 Website


I use a number of new media tools with my students, including:

Google docs which are often used as collaboration sites for homework assignments. Students are assigned problems in a google doc and are asked to post the answer(s) to their problems next to their name. This is also a way for students to see each other's work and provide advice/assistance. Students can comment/advise each other and see the steps that their peers took in solving their problems. For the teacher, the "assignments" are all in one place and make it easier for me to assess each student as well as look for common mistakes throughout the class.

I also use Popplet.com, which is an online brainstorm-web, as another formative assessment. In the middle of the web I place a prompt based on in-class discussion and asked students to reply and/or contribute their thoughts around it. Yes/No answers are not acceptable. An explanation is required. This is an excellent way for my students to collaborate and/or build off of each other without the pressure of being wrong in front of the whole class. Each student's thoughts will appear allowing the teacher to see who has contributed what.

In addition to pencil and paper collaboration assignments, I utilize Socrative.com. Socrative is an online quiz maker site. I have created short homework quizzes that follow, closely, collaborative assignments done in class. My goal in using this online quiz site is to see/monitor what each student learned or got out of the assignment given in class. As a teacher I can use this site to provide quicker feedback to each student, assess the quizzes more quickly, and determine if there is an area that needs to be readdressed. (Room Code: CBGDF2EWW)

Articles I read and considered:

Kagan, M., and Kagan, S. (2009). Kagan cooperative learning. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing

Merrienboer, J.G., and Sweller, J. (2010). Cognitive load theory in health professional education: design principles and strategies. Medical Education, 44. 85-93.

Mandernach, B.J. (2006). Thinking critically about critically thinking: integrating online tools to promote critical thinking. Insight: A Collection of Faculty Scholarship, 1. 41-50