Collaboration is not a 21st Century Skill, it is a 21st Century Essential.
In a recent blog post from the official google blog, Google identified the following as key traits or abilities in 21st Century Employees:
“... communication skills. Marshalling and understanding the available evidence isn't useful unless you can effectively communicate your conclusions.”
“... team players. Virtually every project at Google is run by a small team. People need to work well together and perform up to the team's expectations. ”
If we look at UNESCO's publication “The four pillars of Education, Learning: The Treasure within” Collaboration is a key element of each of the four pillars.
- Learning to know
- Learning to do
- Learning to live together
- Learning to be
So to prepare our students, our teaching should also model collaboration. A vast array of collaborative tools are available; wikis, classroom blogs, collaborative document tools,social networks, learning
management systems - Many are available at no cost. If you have not yet tried them, look at:
- wikis – wet paint and wiki spaces (or 'Pages' within Canvas)
- Classroom blogs – edublogs, classroomblogmeister, blogger
- Collaborative document tools – Google documents, zoho documents, adobe Buzzword
- Social Networks – ning
- learning managements systems
These tools are enablers of collaboration, and therefore enablers of 21st century teaching and learning.