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COOPERATIVE LEARNING IN THE SUBJECT NEW TECHNOLOGIES APPLIED TO THE EDUCATION

M.E. González Alfaya, R. Mérida Serrano

University of Córdoba (SPAIN)
The following paper describes an university experience developed with students who studied the subject "New Technologies applied to the Education” and shows that cooperative learning can be very useful in this subject’s design, development and assessment.
This subject taught during university year 2009/2010 has represented the basis for enhancing the cooperative learning among different students.
The major assumptions on which the development of this investigation has been based are the following:
Subject’s complexity of "New Technologies applied to the Education". The reasons for such complexity are multiple and diverse. To mention just the most frequent ones: topic’s interdisciplinarity, its broader impacts as well as fast and steady advances.
We have taken as basic principle the need to maintain the proper balance among the diverse dimensions of knowledge when dealing with different fields of technology education. We have referred our study to the conceptual, procedural and attitudinal dimensions.
Need to boost crucial transversal competences within the student community in order to ensure a better job/professional placement. These students as future teachers will be entering a complex and changeable professional and social environment in which problem-solving and ability to work within a group will be key competences.
Therefore we have realized that the best way to take into account the entire subject’s various dimensions was to adapt ourselves to its complexity, and at the same time take advantage of the potential embedded, through a collaborative approach.
The classroom this subject has been offered to has been represented by two groups of Faculty of Education (in the specialties of primary Education) of Cordoba University. All in all 160 students joined the lessons and the average attendance has been rather high.
The students had to work collaboratively into groups with the objective to design and start up a blog. They also had to utilize tools and develop expertise related with IT education (didactics videos, advanced web browsers, etc). Eventually a macro-blog portal has been initiated (magisteriocordoba.blogspot.com) and as many as 21 blogs have been developed, uploaded and updated by the students.
The overall outcome of this teamwork has been excellent and the subject has been positively assessed by the majority of the students who have stressed that they have achieved a comprehensive learning experience as well as higher personal satisfaction mainly due to the collaborative learning experience jointly carried out.