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Alisha Portolese: My dream: Learning design project proposal - Collaborative writing in a primary classroom

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Alisha Portolese
12 January 2013


In the next few months I have the opportunity to work closely with a grade three teacher and her class of 20 students. This teacher is excited to work on collaborative writing and integrating technology into her class. At present, the students in her class have never experienced collaborative writing. Like many children of that age, working collaboratively in general is a challenge, and it is common for the best situation to involve students co-operating by dividing tasks rather than truly collaborating. Of course, this is true of many adults too.

The change I would like to see - The challenge:

I've recently begun working with this teacher in designing a series of collaborative writing projects for her class.  I would like to create progressive projects so that the students can build on their skills over time. I would like to integrate as many different learning objectives across the curriculum as possible so that precious class time is spent as efficiently as possible. I would like the design to be specific and easy to use for this teacher and potentially other teachers to use, but I would also like it to be flexible such that changes and mash-ups are possible. I want it to be reusable to maximize what is gained from our work together.

If I succeed, I will have helped to create lessons that are practical, align with curriculum goals, and are reusable. I believe it is important that children learn how to write collaboratively as early as possible. We have all dreaded working and writing in groups in the workplace and at univerisity, and at the same time, we all know how important this skill is in our modern world.

How to bring about this change:

As part of earlier work I've done with a partner in another course, I've learned about some of the options available such as various wikis and the Thinking Together approach developed through The University of Cambridge ( I am ready to continue to build on this early work and expand it with as many concrete and usable outputs as possible (such as lesson plans and related materials).

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