Posts Tagged ‘collaborative learning’

Skype in the Classroom

Skype in the Classroom is a global community of educators who partner to create learning experiences for their students. Imagine using this resource to communicate in real time with students in neighboring cities or states. Think about the opportunities for students to practice foreign language skills with students from other countries. Students might participate in mystery Skype calls, where classes connect online and give clues to help each guess the other’s location. They might also have opportunities to learn more about the setting of a book they are reading or a subject they are studying. The site provides the means for teachers to connect through a members-only directory and includes a directory of resources such as videos, websites, and teaching ideas.

One project from the site was an invitation from a teacher in Bahrain who was hosting an online safety conference. He was interested in connecting with a guest speaker knowledgeable about the topic of online safety and cyber bullying. This idea caught my attention because it could be adapted for a variety of subjects. For example, a teacher might invite a university professor to speak to a class about science-related topics or host a university counselor to speak to students about college admissions. Speakers from another country or region might provide information about their culture. Skype in the classroom opens endless possibilities for collaboration with experts in a range of fields.

Image: Stuart Miles /


Resources for Authentic Assessment

In The Case for Authentic Assessment, Wiggins noted that authentic assessments provide opportunities for students to apply acquired knowledge, instead of selecting or writing responses to test questions. Through authentic assessment, students can demonstrate mastery of concepts through the application of knowledge. The School of Education at The University of Wisconsin-Stout offers authentic assessment resources for teachers. The site presents information regarding performance assessment, rubrics, negotiable contracting, and electronic portfolios, as well as web-based tools that can be used to create assessments.

In looking for resources to be adapted for use in my online classes, I found rubrics created by Joan Vandervelde of UW-Stout to be used for the assessment of e-portfolios, online discussions, student blogs, wikis, and the use of Twitter for instructional assigments.

Another resource contains a complete description of peer assessment and team assignments. The article presents issues to be considered when implementing peer assessments, considerations for team grading, and tips from teachers who have implemented peer assessments and team assignments in their classes. This information could be applied to the planning of collaborative assignments that can be assessed in a way that is fair to all students.

Image: koratmember/