Cooperative learning is just one of the many strategies that fall under the category of the social learning theory. The social learning theory allows students to work in groups for a common goal. According to Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching, and Technology, cooperative learning is actively involving the student in their learning. It is a process for students to discover their own learning opposed to hearing a lecture from a teacher. Students may create a project together or apply the jigsaw method. The jigsaw method is where each student learns about a particular topic and then teaches or shares it with their group.
Technology can be used in multiple ways with the social learning theory. A class blog allows students the opportunity to write about something that is meaningful to them and have their classmates give feedback. See my posts on Kidblog from January for more information.
Skype is another tool that I use in my classroom. My students have Skyped with two veteran marines and twice with classrooms around the country. This was a great opportunity for them to learn what it was like to be in the military. We also learned what other schools and states are like. My students may never have an opportunity to visit these states and this gives them an experience to learn about other children their own age. My students worked together to create questions to find where in the United States another class was located.
In addition to blogging and Skype, students can also create a Voice Thread. Voice Thread is a tool that can be created individually or as a group. What makes this a strategy for the social learning theory is that once posted, people can comment to the author or anyone else to watches it. This is a great learning tool to gain additional knowledge on a topic. This is my first Voice Thread and it is on the Titanic. https://voicethread.com/share/2907610/
In conclusion, there are many activities students can utilize while working together. Technology definitely lends itself to the new era of online collaboration. Whether it is blogging, Skype, podcasts, or Voice Thread, students are gaining knowledge at a rapid speed by working together.
Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Main_Page