February 15 2013

Valuable Contribution through Collaboration

Student Comments: Moving from Participation to Contribution by Maryellen Wiemer,PhD from Faculty Focus, identifies an interesting distinction between a student’s contribution to class discussion and simple participation. Originally quoted by Gioia, “Participation connotes involvement, sharing and simply taking part. . .”  Contribution implies “…intellectual involvement and sharing of knowledge and knowledge construction. Concentrating on contribution causes people to think about what they are going to say, instead of simply blurting out ill-considered opinions, superficial observation, and irrelevant personal examples. ” (p. 16) Teachers have struggled with this classroom dilemma for decades. Many strategies have been suggested (and employed) in an effort to steer the learning experience toward the best possible outcome; to encourage contribution as opposed to superficial participation.

One could make a strong argument for the use of web2.0 tools and an online discussion model as a means to accomplish these  preferred, higher-quality contributions as outlined by Wiemer and Gioia. The article describes what students typically accomplish when making a contribution to any discussion. These include providing summaries; making observations; integrating concepts; and asking questions that lead to further discussion.  New technology tools such as blogs, wikis, wallwisher, Diigo and others, also achieve this same interactive and collaborative result. Online discussions naturally allow for Gioia’s “think breaks” where participants can take the time necessary to reflect and add worthwhile, thoughtful comments. Successful online environments are not only nurturing collaboration but also  accomplishing valuable contributions with a much larger, authentic audience and engaging students through natural inquiry and creativity. Online “we are hearing contributions that promote understanding, develop knowledge, and result in discussions where student voices dominate”.

Reference: “Student Comments: Moving from Participation to Contribution | Faculty Focus.” Faculty Focus Student Comments Moving from Participation to Contribution Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2013.


February 8 2013

Web2.0 Tools support Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Mind MapBP – Web2.0 Collaborative instruction. Week 3 – Critical Thinking & Mind42

This week’s task: “ illustrate your understanding of how Web 2.0 tools can support critical thinking, systems thinking and problem solving skills.“  My thoughts were inspired by Pam Berger‘s article Student Inquiry And Web 2.0”, where the author identifies the many advantages in utilizing various Web2.0 tools to actively engage learners. According to Pam Berger and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) it is commonly believed that “Inquiry provides a framework for learning”.  To effectively support this framework “educators should develop interactive, inquiry-based, technology-rich curriculum.” And so my mind map began with the relationship of inquiry based leaning to the fundamental development of Critical Thinking & Problem Solving.  These correlations were further supported by the Maine Learning Technology Initiative in the article “Making meaning-Critiquing reality using web2.0 to Foster Critical Thinking”.  This author identifies a lack of “Higher reasoning skills” and suggests “Socratic questioning is a way of helping students face the issue of critical thinking.”

In addition illustrating  the direct correlation of technology-rich  inquiry  to the many Web2.0 tools available, I also mapped out a project currently taught in my Computer Literacy class.  In this thread,  I identified how the various elements can be modified using Web2.0 tools. Again, I included links to pertinent sources of  information and notes to explain and define the bullet.


Mrs C.