NOTE: You might also be interested in My Best Posts On The Basics Of Small Groups In The Classroom
You might also find my Education Week Teacher post, Response: Do’s and Don’ts for Better Project-Based Learning, useful.
I’m now working on my third book, which is focused on instructional and classroom management strategies geared towards developing student autonomy and personal responsibility (as opposed to student obedience or student rebellion). Eye On Education is planning on publishing it in early 2011 — assuming I meet my deadlines
I’ll be writing a post soon inviting reader contributions to the book, too.
One of the strategies I’ll be writing about is cooperative learning. In the course of my research, I’ve found some pretty good sites that I thought readers might find useful.
I’ve divided them into two sections — one sharing sites that provide research results on its use and the second section with sites offering more practical ideas on how to implement cooperative learning in the classroom.
Here are my choices for The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas:
Powerful Learning: Studies Show Deep Understanding Derives from Collaborative Methods is an excellent Edutopia article by Brigid Barron and Linda Darling-Hammond. You can also download an expanded version of their article here.
Cooperative Learning And Social Interdependence Theory by David W. Johnson and Roger T. Johnson and Cooperative Learning:Two heads learn better than one by the same authors.
Evidence that PBL Works comes from Edutopia.
IMPLEMENTING COOPERATIVE LEARNING IN THE CLASSROOM:
An article by Spencer Kagan on using cooperative learning in the ESL classroom.
Unleashing the “Brain Power” of Groups in the Classroom is a great article about the neuroscience of cooperative learning groups. It appears in The Harvard Education Letter.
I write in my book, English Language Learners: Teaching Strategies That Work, about how I used problem-based learning in the classroom. It’s very engaging, and very effective on a number of levels.
Apparently, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agrees.
I think they’re pretty good, and being able to attribute them to the CIA will only make them more attractive to students. I can see giving students the lists and having them pick the ones that they’re most interested in answering.
Watch Problem Based Learning in Action: Apollo 13 is a nice post (and video clip) by Peter Pappas.
Here are some resources specifically on Project-Based Learning:
Edutopia has some great resources on Project-Based Learning.
Seven Essentials For Project-Based Learning is the title of a very useful article in this month’s issue of Educational Leadership.
The Buck Institute For Education, one of the leaders in project-based learning, has just begun a blog devoted to PBL.
The Buck Institute For Education, which has created a number of Project-Based Learning resources that are on this list, have recently had Common Craft, the wildly popular animation company, to create a video on PBL. Here is how Buck describes it, and I’ve embedded the video below the explanation. I’m also adding it to the previously mentioned “The Best…” list:
The Buck Institute for Education commissioned the cutting-edge advertising agency, Common Craft, to create a short animated video that explains in clear language the essential elements of Project Based Learning (PBL).
This simple video makes the essential elements of PBL come alive and brings to light the 21st Century skills and competencies (collaboration, communication, critical thinking) that will enable K-12 students to be college and work-ready as well as effective members of their communities.
Here are some more resources specifically on Problem-Based Learning:
I published a post about a recent study that found that a group of people who had good social skills would outperform a group of individuals with higher native intelligence but fewer interpersonal abilities (see And This Is Why We Have To Help Our Students Learn How To Work In Small Groups). NPR ran a more extensive story about the same research. Go to Collaboration Beats Smarts In Group Problem Solving.
I know that some studies have said that three or four students are the best number for student small groups in the classroom. However, I’ve always found that — at least for ninth-graders — working in pairs works best (though sometimes near the end of the school year I’ll have them do a project in three or four after they’ve matured a bit and gained more experience in pair work).
A new study now seems like it might reinforce my opinion. 2 people can learn to cooperate intuitively, but larger groups need to communicate is the title of an article reporting on research that two people can work more easily intuitively.
You might also be interested in some past posts about student small groups:
Thanks to Sheryl NussbaumBeach, here’s an excellent video describing the steps of problem-based learning. I write a lot about about this process in my books, and am adding the video to The Best Sites For Cooperative Learning Ideas:
Top Ten Tips for Assessing Project-Based Learning is a new great — and free — classroom guide from Edutopia.
The Marzano Research Laboratory has released a study on their website that concluded:
on the average, the use of cooperative learning by teachers in the action research studies was associated with a gain in student academic achievement of 30 percentile points over what was expected when teachers did not use cooperative learning.
What Makes A Good Project? is by Gary Stager.
How to Refine Driving Questions for Effective Project-Based Learning comes from Edutopia.
I’m also adding another post titled How To Write Driving Questions
Don’t Lecture Me: Rethinking How College Students Learn is a commentary on research in a college classroom, but it certainly can also pertain to K-12, too.
Problem-Based Learning in K-12 Education: Is It Effective and How Does It Achieve Its Effects? is a new study highlighting the effectiveness of Problem-Based Learning. Unfortunately, the link will only allow you to access the abstract and you have to pay to see the full report.
Physicists Seek To Lose The Lecture As Teaching Tool is an NPR Report about the successes of a professor who has stopped lecturing and, and instead, has begun using small groups. American Radio Works has a more extensive feature on the results.
Work That Matters: A Teachers’ Guide to Project-Based Learning is a very helpful report.
The Muppets Guide to Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a great post from Michael Milton.
Edutopia has published a newsletter titled Project-Based Learning: Success Start to Finish. It has tons of resources and links.
Think-Pair-Share Variations is from Teacher Cast.
Co-operative learning: what makes group-work work? is by Robert Slavin, and provides a good overview of cooperative learning research.
Cooperative Learning Ideas From Nobel Prize Winner Carl Wieman
Getting Started with Project-Based Learning (Hint: Don’t Go Crazy) is by Andrew Miller and appeared in Edutopia.
Practical PBL: Design an Instructional Unit in Seven Phases is from Edutopia.
Why PBL is Good for the Brain is from ASCD.
For Authentic Learning, Start With Real Problems is from The New York Times Learning Network.
Here’s a useful chart on What’s the Difference Between “Doing Projects” and “Project Based Learning”?
Research Supports Collaborative Learning is from Edutopia.
How to Refine Driving Questions for Effective Project-Based Learning is by Andrew Miller at Edutopia.
Why Problem-Based Learning Is Better is by Tim Holt.
Should I teach problem-, project- or inquiry-based learning? is by Lauren Davis.
Problem-Based Learning or Just Another Project? Use This Checklist to Find Out is from teachbytes.
Dispelling misunderstandings about PBL is by Andrew Miller.
Additional suggestions are welcome.
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You might also want to explore the 400 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.