DEC Scan Journal : Volume 36 Issue 2
2017 Volume 36, Issue 2 33 Contents Editorial Learning & teaching Research Share this Resource reviews Synchronous, meaning in real time, refers to activities such as video conferencing, for example a Skype call; virtual classroom interaction and virtual excursion. Asynchronous, meaning not in real time, refers to activities such as online discussion forums, blogging, sharing multimedia and other virtual communication activities. The taxonomy makes it clear that effective online global collaboration means being able to sustain connections beyond the virtual, synchronous experience and being able to build asynchronous networks and online communities to support collaboration. Time-zone differences mean that synchronous learning is not always possible during school hours. In fact, it is not as valuable as asynchronous collaboration where global issues can be explored and problems solved within global partnerships across a period of time. Theory supporting the taxonomy The theoretical framework for this taxonomy tool is developed from connectivism (Siemens 2006a, Downes, 2014), social constructivism (Vygotsky, 1978), and online collaborative learning (OCL) (Harasim, 2012). It is informed in part by the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives that classifies educational goals, objectives and standards and shares how a learning pathway progresses (Krathwohl, 2002). The goal of the tool is to support educators’ understanding of connected and collaborative learning and how they can build on existing practices to implement progressively more challenging types of online collaborative learning in a global context. It is important to understand that the term global, can also apply to more localised connections, for example in the same town or state, particularly within close time zones. In large multi-time zone countries like the USA and Australia, it is labelled global collaboration when students connect across the country. Regardless of where participants are, connecting and collaborating beyond the immediate learning environment is the goal – and it generally takes the same tools, habits, and attitudes to connect locally as it does to connect more globally. Harasim (2012) states that through OCL applications there needs to be an emphasis on knowledge work, knowledge creation and knowledge community. In practical terms, Lindsay (2016b) shares that online global collaboration in the classroom means: • geographically dispersed learners • use of online technologies to forge viable connection and communication • learning is ‘with’ not just ‘about’ • collaborators share ideas online and co-create new understandings. The online global collaboration taxonomy Introduction to the taxonomy In ‘The Global Educator’ (Lindsay, 2016b), a range of design and pedagogical approaches for embedding global learning and online collaboration into the curriculum through connecting classrooms is explored. The Online Global Collaboration Taxonomy was developed to provide a stepped approach for educators to apply. It includes two main communication modes – synchronous and asynchronous, and five ‘steps’ or levels. What is online global collaboration? Online global collaboration is where partnerships are made through connections beyond the classroom for the purpose of working and learning together on specific goals and co-creating new knowledge. Key factors are the use of online technologies, design features of the collaboration, as well as changes made in teaching and learning structures for all collaborative partners involved (Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2005). With the advent of the internet and new technologies, online global collaboration has evolved from the 1.0 version of information exchange, to the 2.0 version where artefact exchange as well as information exchange takes place. With the development of faster internet and better technology tools, online global collaboration as the 3.0 version allows learners to network, collaborate, co-create information and artefacts, and build knowledge together online and share this with others (Lindsay & Davis, 2012). A working definition of online global collaboration: Online global collaboration broadly refers to geographically dispersed educators, lear ners, classrooms, schools and other lear ning environments that use online technologies to lear n with others beyond their immediate environment in order to support curricular objectives, intercultural understandings, critical thinking, personal and social capabilities and ICT capabilities (Lindsay, 2016b, p. 139).
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