Cooperative Learning Tools


Posted by Charles | Posted in walden | Posted on March 30, 2016


Cooperative learning is the process in which students interact with one another to increase their learning (Pitler, Hubbekk, Kuhn,2012).  There are several benefits to implementing cooperative learning within the classroom.  First, cooperative learning provides students with the opportunity to reflect on their learning then gain a deeper understanding of the material by talking and listening to other students (Pitler, Hubbekk, Kuhn,2012). There is documentation to support that through peer interactions students build a sense of trust amongst their peers.  With this acquired trust, students will then be able to actively participate in their learning environment with less stress. Another benefit of the implantation of cooperative learning would be for students to work toward a common goal.  In the search for this common goal, students find commonalities amongst themselves, which may lead to an atmosphere that brings a sense of community to the classroom. Through collaboration, students have an opportunity to work to their strengths and weaknesses.  There are students that are very vocal and would prefer an oral presentation while there may be individuals that are shy but strong in writing. When these two diverse personalities are grouped together each has a vital attribute to contribute.

While there are several benefits to implementing cooperative learning there are some challenges that must be considered in its implementation.  I have personally used cooperative learning, sometimes with success and other times without.  There are three key points that must be considered in the implementation of cooperative learning.  First teachers should consider the use of both positive interdependence (sink or swim) and individual accountability (each of us has to contribute to achieving a goal).  Second, the group size should be kept to a minimum.  Finally, cooperative learning should be used consistently and systematically (Pitler, Hubbekk, Kuhn,2012).

With the new and always changing demands of the workplace, it is imperative that students have skills that will empower them to be successful.  One of the most important skills that must be acquired by students is the ability to work collaboratively.  In many cases, this collaboration requires the production of some type of artifact.  Cooperative learning provides students with a great foundation for the real world.  Much of this interaction with peers can be done by face-to-face or in a virtual setting.  Technology plays an important role in facilitating collaboration (2012).  CollaborationThere are several tools that are available that provides students the opportunity to interact with one another, without having to be in the same location.   One possibility, for communication, is the creation of a web page or website.  There are currently several sites that provide users the ability to create a free website with little to no technical experience.   An alternative to creating a website could be the use of social media.  While most would use caution in using personal social media to interact with other peers in an educational setting, there are new educational alternatives.  One popular social media alternative specifically for students and teachers is Edmodo.  Edmodo provides students and teachers with the same feel of facebook or twitter but in a safer environment.  Globester is yet another example of how students can interact with peers in an online format.  Blogging and Wiki spaces would also provide students the ability to interact in a unique way.  As you can see there are a plethora of tools at the disposal of teachers and students.   It is simply a matter of finding what works best for a specific application.

Voicethread is an online tool that provides teachers and students the opportunity to work collaboratively.  This tool allows users to create a presentation with the added benefit of layering audio over the presentation.  Students may interact with the presentation in a variety of way including adding text, audio,  or drawings.  It has been described much like removing pencil and paper and allowing students to add their voice to their work (Laureate Education, n.d.a). I am familiar with a variety of presentation tool; however, Voicethread was a completely new experience for me. I recently had the opportunity to create a Voicethread and had my students interact with the presentation (view presentation).

The following is a brief synopsis of the project and how I implemented the Voicethread into the lesson.

Students in my robotics course are in the process of learning coding and the implementation of the Arduino, which is a microprocessor.  At this point, students have general knowledge of coding and how the Arduino is used in the creation of robots and other electronic devices.  At this point, we are in the process of entering the “Zone of Proximal Development” (Laureate Education, n.d.b).  Students have acquired some skills but are now going to implement these skills in a real-world scenario.   The objective of this project is to apply the engineering design process in the creation of a robot that can autonomously solve a Rubik’s Cube.   There are definite parallels that run between the engineering design process and the social constructivist learning theory.   The process requires students to thoroughly investigate the problem and then determine the best possible solution to address this dilemma.   The student will then work cooperatively to carefully plan a possible design.  The construction of their design will then take place by creating a model or prototype.  Students will evaluate their design and determine possible improvements to their product.  Once the evaluation process is complete students will then create a finished product.   I will be using Voicethreads to elicit possible designs for their Rubik’s Cube solver.   Each student will contribute by describing their design while providing a general blueprint of this design.  The success of the project is dependent on how well the team works as a unit.  The implementation of this Voicethread is only one example of how technology is being used in a cooperative setting.  There are a variety of resources to develop a personal learning network in order for students to develop a deeper understanding (Orey, 2001)




Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., & Kuhn, M. (2012). Using technology with classroom instruction that works (2nd ed.). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J. (2008).Theoretical foundations (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.a). Spotlight on technology: VoiceThread [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.b). Social learning theories [Video file]. Retrieved from


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Comments (4)


I really enjoyed reading up on your topic. The content and text was very informative and gave me insights on how I could design a interactive voice thread. Could you please explain to me how you came up with the format for slide 6?


I appreciate your blog entry, especially including the aspects teachers need to ponder when integrating collaborative activities. The addition of technology in cooperative learning adds to the 21st century concept of working together. I, too, am new to voice thread but see the value in using this tool remove some of the traditional constraints (pencil and paper) that go along with reports.

I enjoyed while reading your post and loved your voiceThread idea. Rubik’s cube challenge your students and I am sure that they will make a great project at the end. I was using edmodo too and it was a good tool to communicate with the students. We are using learning space now.

You brought up three really great points that teachers need to consider using cooperative learning. “First teachers should consider the use of both positive interdependence (sink or swim) and individual accountability (each of us has to contribute to achieving a goal). Second, the group size should be kept to a minimum. Finally, cooperative learning should be used consistently and systematically (Pitler, Hubbekk, Kuhn,2012).”
If teachers decide to do any sort of cooperative learning we need to make sure we have thought about all three of these components. It requires teachers to be constant monitors, setting clear expectations and guidelines. We have to be floating around the room listening to conversations, making sure students are staying on task and that all groups members are participating.

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