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10 ways to use collaboration in the classroom

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Have you tried our collaboration feature yet? ELA teacher and Wakelet Ambassador Samantha Shaffner shares 10 ways you could use it in your classroom

Collaboration, for me, is hands down the most useful of the recent enhancements to Wakelet. Why? Well, now you can invite your students, co-teachers, and administrators to collaborate on your collections. Collaboration means that educators can introduce students to the online world as they collect, communicate, and curate various online resources into their own shared collections.

Wakelet’s full potential is becoming clearer and more exciting to its users, educators and other consumers – and the collaboration feature is a major cause of that buzz!

Start curating content in the classroom

In the last few weeks, I’ve brainstormed, tested and discussed ways to use the collaboration feature with members of my professional learning community on Twitter and at school. Then, I was able to use the platform to interact, not only with members of my PLN, but with my students as well. It was quick and easy, and the students were engaged and inspired.

Here are 10 ways that I’ve already used or will use this new feature:

1. Book Reviews

This week, in my 6th grade ELA class, we collaborated on book reviews in a Wakelet collection. I was shocked by how easily the students took to it; without question they created a product by following simple directions and took pride in their collaborations with one another and with me as their ELA teacher.

My students were already interacting with collections of curated content on Wakelet to some degree, but this week we stepped it up and created collections together. It was an empowering process for me and the students, and enhanced learner agency within our learning experiences. The best part is, it took very little prep time (5-20 minutes per collection with some final edits). Students immediately took to the task in hand, and enjoyed engaging with one another, as well as publishing their work. They were even more please to hear how the Twitter community felt about their writing.

2. Personalized Blended Learning Menu

With just a small amount of training, my students can access differentiated activities targeted directly at their individual needs. Wakelet supports and reinforces classifying and categorizing personal learning experiences through the process of curation to organize class materials and collections of curated work and notes over the course of a class. It’s easy for me to create these individualized learning experiences by giving the students and their Intervention Specialists another tool to make sure the students are growing as the scholars they are. I

3. Virtual Learning Community with other Educators

Wakelet’s collections are easy to share and can become virtual backpacks filled with student and educator resources. A recent digital publication, ‘The Educator’s Guide to Wakelet’ is a great example of educators from around the world working together to create a product that encourages teachers and students to engage with curation and collaboration on Wakelet! I’ve had the pleasure of working with the publication’s authors as part of the Wakelet Ambassador program and truly enjoy the conversations and updates I receive from my Wakelet PLN. They all give me fresh ideas, in real time, to incorporate into my curricula and teaching practice. I have a few nice collections that fall under this category, so if you’re looking for ways to collaborate with your peers online, check out the Professional Development section of my page.

Professional Development on Wakelet

4. School Newsletters and Home Pages

With Wakelet’s new collaboration feature, teachers and school administrators can keep parents and stakeholders up-to-date with newsletters written, reviewed and contributed to by an entire faculty or a few select users. By accessing the collection and creating or following a prototype/rubric, this feature is more streamlined and organized than using the share feature on Google Docs/Drive. The main advantage to using Wakelet collaboratively is the flexibility of working with varying types of media content.

Start curating content in the classroom

Many primary school teachers already use Wakelet within their classrooms but collaboration allows for much more than that. Ideally, a school with an active Wakelet home page would feature a Wakelet collection for each teacher, providing students and parents with important information about coursework and school news from very staff without having to navigate to each teacher, program, or school’s separate website.

Collaboration makes this a one-stop shop. As time and convenience become more important, schools not jumping on the #WakeletWave will miss out. Check out Cedar Crest Middle School’s page for an awesome example of collaboration on school-wide newsletters!

5. Student Digital Portfolios

Wakelet is an amazing tool for students because they can add various types of media – Tweets, hyperdocs, videos and more – to their collections. By sharing a unique code with their classmates, teachers and other contributors, students can practice the peer-editing process, as well as prompt teachers to add letters of reference and other evidence articles to these portfolios. The creator, in this case the student, would still have editing power over the collection but they can also invite others to help them compile artifacts representing their academic experiences to share with colleges, in job interviews, and on social media.

6. Student Art and Literary Magazines

I hope to use Wakelet to guide students though the writing, editing and publishing process of their own art or literary magazine. They can make their product public online via Wakelet and even collaborate with students across the world on writing projects.

Start curating content in the classroom

Wakelet’s collaboration feature allows students to be at the centre of their learning as they develop writing and communication skills by creating publications with their peers, for their peers. It allows students to work together and take on important leadership roles in the writing and editing process. This authentic learner agency-centred collaboration will allow students to express themselves, learn new skills, and become comfortable publishing their work and discussing new ideas with members of virtual learning communities in a safe and controlled setting that the teacher can oversee.

As a state coordinator for NCTE’s REALM (Recognizing Excellence in Student Art and Literary Magazine) program, I can see this allowing schools who lack the funding for fancy editing software and professional publishing equipment to participate in these competitions and create a product that is collaborative, high quality, visually appealing, and easy to use from top to bottom. I

7. Note Taking and Sharing in the Classroom

You can also use Wakelet for note taking. By doing this, students can make sure they have access to important information needed to complete assignments 24/7. I also share my own curated resources with them, so they can add their own notes and ideas. Learning doesn’t have to stop when a student leaves your classroom. Enhancing learner agency with Wakelet engages students with materials that interest them.

8. Group Research Projects

Students become the center of their learning, learn unique perspectives, and engage with content that meets their learning needs when creating authentic research projects with Wakelet’s collaboration feature. Check out my blog on ‘Transforming the research process for 21st Century’ to learn more!

Curated resources and activities

9. Flipped Video Lessons

Wakelet’s new collaboration feature facilitates the idea that learning and resources must be accessible, transparent, and collaborative. This is where the Flipped model comes in.

The ‘Flipped Mastery Model’ is often employed in K-12 schools. Teachers upload videos of themselves and others, illustrating content examples for students, so they come to class with some basic knowledge as well as the tools they need to succeed on an assignment. Teachers use apps like movenote.com and ScreenCastify to create these videos and then store them on their district’s preferred learning management system. By assigning a flipped video and hosting it on Wakelet, teachers can provide examples and a learning task associated with a given video, and students can interact with that assignment when invited by the teacher via email, QR code or link. Students can then view these videos when they’re on-the-go, absent, or for remediation and academic intervention.

This can also be streamlined into curricula by simply embedding a link and some simple instructions into a preferred LMS. This allows district administrators a chance to view examples of student mastery, and even collaborate with teachers to enhance learning and create a larger audience for students.

10. Formative Assessments

Using Wakelet’s collaboration feature in your classroom is an effective way to measure student mastery of skills and comprehension of class content. Teachers can create a formative assessment simply by creating a collection, choosing a standard, activities and resources, inviting students using a unique code and inviting students to express their own thoughts and ideas on a subject while demonstrating mastery of skills in a virtual learning environment.

These projects can then be embedded easily into learning management systems like Google Classroom and Schoology, as well as be exported into PDFs to print off for parents or other invested parties, to serve as an illustration of student mastery and collaboration. To do this effectively, last week, I transferred the materials I was using on other platforms into Wakelet and allowed students to use my materials to guide their own learning experiences and then reflect upon them with their peers.

Start curating content in the classroom

Students took to this easily, asked few user related questions about the platform, engaged with the material, and were cautious with editing and time management. They were proud of their work and loved the feeling of sharing it with the world! Overall, Wakelet’s collaboration feature will be ground-breaking for teachers and I plan to use it regularly to test my students’ mastery levels as well as celebrate their accomplishments in the classroom and archive them in collaborative collections. The ‘best practice’ gives students the opportunity to reflect on their own learning, as well as receive feedback from teachers, peers, and members of virtual learning communities.

These are just a few of the things I’ve done, or plan to do, within a vetted virtual learning community with my students. Teachers like me are, and should be, looking for innovative ways to incorporate the 3Cs into the classroom (collaboration, communication and critical thinking). Alongside curation, these are invaluable skills that will be demanded in the hob market, and it’s our duty as educators in this time of change to find creative new ways to empower students to become the centers of their own learning. Using Wakelet to collaborate with scholars is, in my opinion, a best practice that enhances student work quality, creativity, and engagement with materials within my ELA classes.

Samantha J. Shaffner is a secondary English Language Arts Teacher at Millennium Community School in, Columbus, OH. This is Samantha’s 12th year in the ELA classroom within an urban charter school setting, where she has also held a variety of administrative positions including director of blended learning and district testing coordinator.

Samantha has a passion for blended learning program/assessment design and implementation of best practices within the field of ELA education, and is an active/contributing member of both the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) as well as the Ohio Council for Teachers of English Language Arts (OCTELA).

Samantha enjoys writing and conducting research about cutting edge EdTech tools and applications, as well as serving as a Wakelet Ambassador.

Wakelet profile: @SamanthaShaffner9061, Twitter: @SamanthaShaffn2, LinkedIn: Samantha J. Shaffner