The evolution of ICT and the influence over educational areas has been very significant in recent years, changing conception of learning environments, communications and interactions forms, and educational material. Researchers, like Buzon and Barragán (2004), have expressed the need to create new learning (online)-environments that allow teaching and learning without the time and space restrictions of residential courses, and ensures continual (virtual) communication between students and professors, or the need to find new material courses, learning strategies that allow the efficient use of new systems and educational resources emerged from technical advances (Wai-Chung and Li, 2007; Weert, 2006). On the other hand, among the conclusions reached at the Second Virtual Congress, “Education through Internet and Internet in Education” (2004), was the need for all technological research to take into account the pedagogical, economic, and social aspects, so that a coherent integration between technology and education can be achieved. Nevertheless, it is still difficult to incorporate the use of tools like chat, electronic mail, text editors, and forums, in other activities that involve no more than the simple exchange of information; this limits their potential and benefits. According to Friendals and Pauls (2005), the majority of Professors still depend on well-established, primitive teaching aids, like, for example, chalk and board. Their analysis revealed that the need for teaching aids in classrooms, which include educational integrative mini-applications, should be one of teaching’s main priorities. Based on these criteria, that is, the need to effectively incorporate ICTs to make changes in the educational field, this research has focused in submitting a proposal of a collaborative teaching strategy, empirical education collaborative teaching strategy, shortening EE-Col, like first link to develop later on, a collaborative educational model. EE–CoL’s validation will enable to lay down the basis for the design of an exclusive model in distributed environments where the generated learning elements are interoperable and reusable, using shared and coordinated resources.
There have been numerous positive experiences in higher education, where collaborative learning has been supported by the use of electronic mail and discussion forums (Murillo, 2000; Romero, Osuna, Sheremetov, Chi, & Villa, 2003); collaborative editing systems to support groups that edit, simultaneously, from different places (Ignat & Norrie, 2004; Stavroula, Ignat, Ester, & Norrie, 2006); or experiences that show interest in the design and application of collaborative environments with use of diverse learning technique (Gonzalez, 2006; Lucero, Chiarani, & Pianucci, 2003; Roman, 2003). Similarly, there were solutions that used the Web for collaborative work (Klein, 2004; Thao, 2002). These investigations have evidenced excellent and satisfactory results when utilizing technological elements like auxiliary tools in educational processes
Key Terms in this Chapter
Asynchronous Communications: Computer-based exchanges of messages for which the participants need not be available or online at the same time, but, rather, read and respond as their schedules (and desires) permit. Examples: e-mail, discussion boards, text messaging over cell phones.
Groupware: Refers to computer applications designed to help people work together collectively while located remotely from each other. Groupware services can include the sharing of calendars, collective writing, e-mail handling, shared database access, electronic meetings with each person able to see and display information to others, and other activities.
Focal Introductory Activity: A set of activities that try to fix the students’ attention to stimulate the knowledge previously acquired and to create an appropriate motivational initial situation that will be used for any posterior activity. Hypothetical situations, examples, case studies, or a group of approaches or questions are activities that could be utilized.
BSCW System: Provides facilities for collaboration over the Internet. It is based on the “shared workspace” metaphor: an object store for group work, with some simple awareness functionality that allows users to keep an overview of what is happening in the workspace.
Jigsaw or Puzzle: Technique used in collaborative learning that proposes dividing the academic material in as many sections as the number of group members. All groups learn the same topic but, inside the groups, each member learns their assigned section, making him an “expert” on his “piece of the puzzle” or knowledge section. Later, the members of diverse groups that have researched the same topic meet in the so called “expert groups” to discuss their findings, obtain new knowledge and then, return to their original group to share and teach this topic to the rest of the group.
Synchronous Communication: Or direct communication, where all parties involved in the communication are present at the same time. Examples: telephone conversations and instant messaging.
Kagan Technique: Or co-op co-op technique for collaborative learning. Each work group freely chooses the topics to be divided into subtopics. These subtopics will be assigned to, and developed by, each member. Later, each member will impart the knowledge acquired to the rest of the colleagues, so that at the end, each group presents their work globally.
Blended Learning (B-Learning): Learning that combines different modes of delivery, such as online and traditional face-to face learning.