THE WISDOM OF THE CLASS. A DESCRIPTION OF THE MAIN EDUCATIONAL DESIGN CHALLENGES RELATED TO STUDENTS COLLABORATION IN LARGE GROUPS IN TEACHER EDUCATION
Large scale collaboration is considered important in a large variety of professional work. The widespread use of new digital technology now seems to offer people the opportunity to collaborate in larger groups in new ways (e.g. wikis, google docs,etherpad, padlet). Many of the applications now open up for co-production of text (e.g. From Microsoft Office to Google docs). Digital books (e-books) are also becoming increasingly more multimodal as traditional text is being integrated with video resources and pictures. Traditionally, students have also only used a few textbooks which has been selected by the teacher or the school, but it is now more common that students are allowed to use internet resources in their school work. At the same we are witnessing the emergence of new types of massive online collaboration (e.g Wikipedia, MOOCS).
This development has “fueled” the development of newer pedagogical theories. There is now an increased interest for concepts that can better grasp collaboration in large groups with the support of digital technology. Some examples of new concepts are Collective intelligence (Malone et al., 2009), Knowledge Building (Scardamalia and Bereiter, 2006) and Learning analytics (Shum and Ferguson, 2012). In this paper I will therefore attempt to develop a didactic model which can support teachers in teacher education who want to design collaboration projects with large groups or the whole class.
Inspired by activity theory,I will discuss if collectively intelligent activities needs to be described in relation to three different interaction levels: the micro level, the community level and the massive open online level. The conceptual discussion is based on data from a case study from Norwegian teacher education. 25 student teachers were required to use a wiki to do three collaborative assignments in larger groups than normal. A rich variety of data was collected from some of the sessions. This includes video data, audio data, screen capture data and group interviews. I will also discuss what I consider to be the main challenges when students are assigned to do work inspired by ideas from the notion of collective intelligence.
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