Collaboration #1: Why can’t I work alone?

By Michelle Harrell and Emily Kotecki, Coordinators of NCMA Teen and College Programs

TASK Party

Group work: two words that stir strong feelings for both students and teachers. While group work may be loaded with challenges, collaborative learning can help students problem solve with students of different skills and perspectives. The Partnership for 21st Century Skills identified collaboration as one of the 4 C’s within the framework for 21st Century Learning.

What does collaboration look like in the classroom? Some educators may confuse collaborative and cooperative learning. Both are similar in the use of small groups to promote active learning through collaboration but differ in structure. Cooperative learning is structured by the teacher with learners divided into groups with specific roles and tasks. Collaborative learning is less teacher structured, requiring all learners to contribute to problem solving. One radical example of collaborative learning are Oliver Herring’s TASK events which involves social interaction to construct knowledge.

In the next two blog posts, we’ll continue looking at how collaboration is used in the art and design industry. We will share interviews with experts from the fields of Game Design and New Media who share how collaboration affects their practice.

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