Astrid's Learning Diary Teamwork makes the dream work

Collaborative Teaching & Learning

  • What is collaborative learning?
  • How can I carry it out effectively in my classroom?
  • What tools can I use to assess collaborative learning?
  • How can I collaborate with fellow teachers to facilitate collaborative learning?
Unity is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.
M1 What is Collaborative Learning?

M1 Learning Objectives

  • Understand the full meaning of collaborative learning, and that it requires more than teachers simply putting students in groups. Appreciate the key benefits collaborative learning can bring to students and the specific skills it helps develop
  • Appreciate how collaborative learning can be facilitated by a flexible, interactive classroom, and also through project-based learning
  • Create a personal Learning Diary to log learning activities, reflections and resources from the course.
  • Reflect in your Learning Diary on two learning activities and whether they require a low or high level of collaboration from students

1.1 What is collaborative learning?


LQ (Learning Question) What do you understand collaborative learning to mean? In your experience of implementing collaborative learning in the classroom, have you witnessed academic achievement, student attitudes, engagement and retention being enhanced? What about the skills mentioned in the video – have you witnessed your students develop these as a result of collaborative learning?

In Italian Primary Schools we often teach together, with three or more teachers in the same class ( modulo /team) at the Primary School. Personally I'm convinced that my students need to start to develop collaboration skills at an early age BUT THERE FOR, we need to work together as teachers. Teachers first of all need to develop their collaboration skills... It would be better if we teach these skills in collaboration. For the moment I started with some little projects by myself. ( I have only two hours a week every class of my eight classes, and this doesn't make it very easy) We are working on a simple digital storytelling project in where every kind has clearly personal task.

1.2 Collaborative learning in a flexible classroom

LQ: Is your classroom set-up flexible and interactive like the one shown in the video? Without necessarily having access to flexible classroom furniture, has the video inspired you to see how you might make your classroom environment more collaboration friendly? What about the technology and online tools used by the students; have you used these with your students and have they effectively facilitated collaborative learning?

UNFORTUNATELY? At our school most teachers are not very interested in innovative & collaborative learning. This makes that in the normal classes I always need to change the environment at the beginning of a lesson. "Fortunately" we have laboratories, which are not much used: I'm always there with my classes! We often change disposition of the classroom and above all I istruct the my pupils how to handle at the beginning of of a lesson. They seek for their group members and help to redefine their place etc. As a teacher trainer I had the possibility to live for two hours in a 'dream place' such in your video.

1.3 Collaborative learning through project-based learning

LQ: Have you ever carried out a similar exercise to the ‘circle time’ described in this video, where the teacher explicitly discusses with students how the group work went, what were the positive and negative aspects and what could be solutions for the future? If so, has this improved your students’ collaboration skills and have you seen evidence of this in collaborative work carried out afterwards?

  • Personally I introduced the circle time a lot of times in my classroom, but I never experienced the circle time at the end of an activity. Allthough in big groups it becomes every year more difficolt because the children haven't much time to listen so much to each. It like to try to create mini-circles. While other children are working on their project.

LQ: The teacher states that ‘Technology becomes useful in class especially when collaborative practices are used’. Do you agree, and why?

  • The question to me is more : why do you use technology in the classroom? Because with tecnologies sometimes we more possibilities to differenziate learning and give the pupils more opportunities to learn by doing and develop autonomy skills. When pupils work together they have the opportunity to help each other to find better solutions and to share their competences. The teacher has some time to support groups differently

1.4 A foreign language teacher’s experience of collaborative learning

LQ: In your experience of collaborative learning, is behavior management and getting students to stay on track a challenge? Do you agree that assessing collaborative learning is particularly difficult, and what are your experiences of this? How do you monitor teamwork? Do you find the ways mentioned in this video (e.g. through self and peer assessment) useful? What about the online tools mentioned?

I'm convinced that it's impossibile to concentrate about innovative teaching methods without considering classroom management. I follow some blogs about classroom management, to keep updated and I have created a pinterest boards with resources and ideas how to implement classroom management. Of course it's not always easy and there aren't real recipes. It's above all it's a question about relation and good comunication. I try and I fall and feel that I'm learning together with my students how to manage in the best way.

1.5 A History & Geography teacher’s experience of collaborative learning

LQ: Have you experienced similar or different difficulties in collaborating with teachers, and if so why? Do you, like the teacher in this video, find it difficult to guarantee the quality of the collaboration that takes place between your students? What about the uneven efforts made by individual group members resulting in frustration for some students when it comes to assessment of the whole group?

  • It's not easy to involve other teachers even if I'm convinced that if we would work more together, collaborative learning would become, more natural and more effectively.
  • In the past I had some good experiences, you need to know each other and spend time to build the relation with collegeaus. Other teachers need to feel appreciated and we need to valorize more each other qualities instead of being jealous and create competion which is totaly useless.
  • The best way to learn how to teach collabative learning, is to create same worthful experiences with other teachers in our own learning environment. It's a dream I want to realize bit by bit...

1.6 Module 1 Learning Activity

  • Reflect on some recent learning activities you have carried out with your class in the past year, which have included some level of collaboration, and follow these steps:
  • Select two of these learning activities; one which you think required a low level of collaboration from students, and one which you think required a high level of collaboration from students.
  • In your Learning Diary, describe each learning activity in no more than 300 words, clearly outlining the aspects related to student collaboration.
  • In your Learning Diary, explain why you think each activity requires a low or high level of collaboration from students.

High level of collaboration: Under the link you can find a brief documentation about our mini storytelling project. My pupils where asked to create a simple cartoon together. Every child had his own disegno to create. In little group we create some audio-tracks. We discussed together how to create the additional audio. Our classroom became a big playground. Unfortunately, my students doesn't have their own tablets or other devices which was a big limit. But I 'm sure every pupil had the experience that his little piece was essential to the whole project. It was an excersize so we didn't go on to create a perfect final project ( for the moment) but the learning process / experience was great.

Low level of collaboration: Often we work with Learning Apps. org, at the end of a learning my students working together with a peer can make a game. It happens often that one of the peers leans to much on the other without giving a real personal contribution. Sometimes we are to much fixed at the end product so we loose the real opportunity to develop specific competences and life skills. I feel I need to invest better our time and find better strategies

1.7 Module 1 Resource Section




Personal Learning Goals

How can you design collaborative learning in the classroom?

M2 How to design collaborative learning in the classroom


  • Understand how to embed collaborative learning into a lesson design
  • Appreciate the four dimensions of collaborative learning concerning group work, shared responsibility, making substantive decisions, and interdependent work
  • Understand how the 21st Century Learning Design Collaboration Rubric and Learning Scenarios can help you reflect and design collaborative learning activities
  • Assess the two collaborative learning activities you described in Module 1, using the 21 CLD Rubric, and report in your Learning Diary

M2.2 Embedding collaborative learning into lesson design

LQ Do you agree about the importance to have a shared language concerning what we mean by collaborative learning? Do you agree that having collaborative skills is not a personality trait and that you can design learning activities to develop these skills in your pupils? Professor Butler mentions that ‘Technology can support new pedagogies that focus on learners as active participants with tools for inquiry-based pedagogies and collaborative work spaces’. Do you agree, and what are your experiences of this?

I'am very agree with Dreide Butler although I have some problems in implementing collobaration using tecnologies and specials tools in my school. I'm to working to promote attive partecipation and interdependence. Interdependence to me is important because I see it as an attitude whuich promotes inclusing. My students doesn't have their own devices and students aren't allowed to use the wifi connection. When I want to use digitals tools to increase student collaboration I need to flip my classroom, something I do using my teacherblog. With little children ( I work with pupils form 6-11 years) this isn't easy,because they need their parents to support and connect. Sometimes I use the collaboration strategies of some tools I discovered. I trasform them in a simple 'paper solution'. By example checklist with Google Form or a quizz. The children can create a 'paper padlet' together etc. It's not the best way but it makes that we can keep on by dreaming of a future classroom. Another problem is bureaucracy. I'm asking for more the three years for the Google Apps in Education. Two years ago our school created an account, I often asked to have for students accounts and a Google Classroom offering my collaboration to amministrate a parte of the network. It's not always easy to make the dreamwork because there are collegeaus who have problems with interdependence.

PERSONAL LEARNING GOAL: Never give up trying!

PS: DREAMING BY DOING today in made a SIMPLE GOOGLE FORM for my colleague to help her to find some new ideas how to manage updating the firewall. I showed her how you can create a form and share responsabilty, saving time and adminstration problems. I don't know if she will use it ( in someway it doesn't matter). What matter's to me in this is that I tried to do my part and giving a contribute to my school / (teacher) team.



LQ: How useful do you find the rubric Professor Deirdre Butler explained? Do you think it is useful in helping you understand the type and quality of collaboration taking place in the learning activities you design? Have you used this or similar rubrics before to help you design collaborative learning activities? What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of it?

To me the collaboration rubric seems very useful. I had but had the possibility to discover the rubric in a precedent course. Mentally I already tried to consider and use it in my classroom. It was very important to me, to hear Dreide Butler underling that not all Learning Activities requires a code five and that it could e very usefull to use the rubric while you are designing a lesson.


LQ: Check out the scenario template and 6 example scenarios in the resource section of this module. What do you think of the template? What do you think of the example scenarios? Do you find them inspiring? Can you see how you might adapt some scenarios to create collaborative learning activities for your own context? What do you find useful or less useful about these scenarios?

It's a very good and useful template, since I followed the Future Classroom Course and using the Learning Designer during other MOOC's I started to plan my lessons in this way. Although I don't used the learning designer. I use the most of all DREAM / EXPLORE / MAP and ASK. The MAKE / REMAKE / SHOW fases are present but the way we use them are more flexibile ( adapted) way. The last three fases inquire more time if you want to realize them in a collaborative learning process and you haven't the possibility to realize the lesson / project interdisciplinary. Although I think we should try at least once a year to realize a complete learning scenario with other colleagues. I'm agree with Arnoud Pernier that when you consultate your learning scenario, specially offline, it's nice to catch you plan in 'one eye' but at the same time you could be overwhelmed by a lot of information at the same time.

2.6 Module 2 Learning Activity

LQ: Use the 21CLD framework and rubric (see video 2.4 and pages 3-9 of the PDF entitled ‘21CLD Learning Activity Rubrics’ available in the Resources section of Module 2) to assess at what level the two learning activities you reflected on in Module 1 are at. In your Learning Diary identify the codes (from 1 to 5) which best reflects the collaborative learning in your learning activities.

Using the collaboration rubric my 'low leveled activity' had four points, because the work wasn't realy interdependent ( the children made a game with Now I realized what Dreide Butler said about the 'five code' ( not all activities requires five points), so I discovered that this activity was more collaborative than it seemed to me.

The high level activity: 'create a simple digital cartoon' I considered high level was (afterwards) in my opinion a bit to much a teacher guided activity. My pupils should have collaborated more if they would had they own devices. The rubrics and the reflection on my activites helped me to realize that how more technologies in our classroom could make a positive difference.

2.8 Module 2 Resource Section

Collaboration Rubric:

  1. Microsoft (2012). 21ST Century Learning Design: 21CLD Learning Activity Rubrics

SIX Example Learning Scenarios:

  1. Collaborative work - Towards a healthy city (CCL, Europe)
  2. iGroup - Collaboration and Assessment in a group (CCL, Europe)
  3. Personalisation – Topic: friction (CCL, Europe)
  4. Flipped Classroom (CCL, Europe)
  5. Art & Music - Creating an exhibition (NCCA, Ireland)
  6. Asteroids, impacts and craters (NCCA, Ireland)

Resources for the 'Asteroids, impacts and craters' learning scenario:

Asteroids Scenario Resource: Fact Sheet

Asteroids Scenario Resource: Glosssary of Terms




Module 3: How can you assess collaborative learning?


  1. Understand the principles of assessing collaborative learning
  2. Appreciate the various challenges teachers face in assessing collaborative learning and the tips, tools and solutions available
  3. Understand the value of using rubrics and checklists for assessing collaborative learning, and how to construct them
  4. Appreciate the importance of involving students in the definition of assessment tools used for collaborative learning
  5. Start creating one or more lesson plans integrating collaborative learning and assessment using the Learning Designer

Module 3: How can you assess collaborative learning?

3.11 "Questions and Answers" Session with Prof. Deirdre Butler!

As part of the course, we would like to announce that on Tuesday 15th November you will have the opportunity to participate in a live and informal "Questions and Answers" session presented by Deirdre Butler, where you will have the chance to ask her any question related to collaboration or any specific topic of the course.Tuesday 15th November you will have the opportunity to participate in a live and informal "Questions and Answers" session presented by Deirdre Butler, where you will have the chance to ask her any question related to collaboration or any specific topic of the course.

You can ask her about best practices for your classes, ideas for collaboration, interesting resources for any specific target group, how to assess students that work in groups... anything that you have always wanted to know, but you could never ask before.

Please use the padlet below to ask Deirdre any question or doubt you may have before the event.

See you all in the webinar!

Start working on creating one or more lesson plans integrating collaborative learning and assessment, which you intend to use with your students in the classroom before the end of 2016 or early next year. Start working on creating one or more lesson plans integrating collaborative learning and assessment, which you intend to use with your students in the classroom before the end of 2016 or early next year.

Module 4’s learning activity will be to continue working on your lesson plan/s so that you can submit your final one/s at the end of the course, and implement it/them in practice shortly afterwards.

To design your lesson plan, please use the Learning Designer.

Below is a list of criteria you should consider when creating your lesson plan and to use for your peer review of the lesson plans of two other course participants:

1. The lesson plan includes learning activities specifically designed to develop students’ collaborative learning skills: For example, at least two of the following criteria are included (see module 2 videos and resources – i.e. the 21CLD rubric and the example learning scenarios for further information and inspiration):

Students are required to work in pairs or groups

Students have shared responsibility

Students make substantive decisions together

Students’ work is interdependent

It is essential that the nature of the collaborative activities is fully described in the lesson plan, and clearly refers to one or more of the four dimensions mentioned above.

2. The lesson plan incorporates appropriate assessment tools to assess the collaborative learning activities mentioned, preferably including the student in the design of at least one of the tools: For example, one or more of the following are included as assessment tools (see module 3 videos and resources – i.e. the CO-LAB Guidelines for Assessing Collaborative Learning in the Classroom for further information and inspiration): Rubric to assess a group

Rubric to assess group members individually

Checklist for self-assessment of students’ collaborative skills

Checklist for peer-assessment of students’ collaborative skills

Digital tools facilitating self and peer assessment of collaborative learning

Mindmaps and infographics to assess group work and facilitate peer assessment

3. The lesson plan is well aligned with its learning outcomes: activities and assessment clearly link with the defined learning outcomes and allow the teacher to determine by the end of the lesson(s) if the objectives have been achieved.

4. The lesson plan is balanced: there is a good mix of activities with at least four different Teaching Learning Activities used (TLAs in the Learning Designer) and none of the Activities, except in the case of collaboration, taking up more than 35% of the time (see the pie chart for this).

What can we do with our feelings?
Remember a take a piece of this experience with you...
Together We Are Strong

In these days we are working hard in our school my students learned to think how other people live in these days. There are preparing an Art Gallery and want to sell tickets. The awards are made by the children: EIGHT FAVOLOUS PAINTINGS. My little students are learning that if they learn to collaborate they can help each other and other people together. Their gift in this big world can make a difference,even if it's little difference, it's SPECIAL, it's IMPORTANT and it's WORTH

I feel proud of my kids and greatful to this course. It was hard working but I really enjoyed every moment

PS: during the exhibition we will use AURASMA to show the learning process and what's behind this project...

Created By
Astrid Hulsebosch


Pixabay, My own photo's, some creations made with CANVA

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.