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During the first two years of the project the eLene2learn network collected more than 60 case studies, where teachers and students of Secondary and Higher Education provide practical tips and indications on their "first hand" learning experiences using ICT and digital media. This "collection" contains two different types of report:

  • The "How to guide" scenarios describe current practices, tools and methodologies used in the application of ICT to develop learning to learn competencies. The scenarios were collected through Focus Group with students and teachers; Download the printable version of the "How to guide"
  • The Case studies report, in detail the implementation of  practices, methodologies and tools used within real classroom settings. Recommendations and suggestions help you assess the benefit of replicating these practices, methodologies, etc. in your own context. These resources are highly valuable as they come from a direct evaluation by  students and teachers involved.  Some of these resources are (also) partly available in Italian, French, Greek, Finnish, Polish, Spanish and German. If the translations  are available, you can find the translations directly on the sub-pages of each case study. (The most recent Case Studies are listed first on the top); Download the printable version of the Implementation Report.

You can browse the case studies here by Benefits and Tags. The two different type of report can be easily filtered using corresponding tags.

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ICT in collaborative learning

General information
.Level (age of students) 16-18
.Discipline / subject / course Geography / Biology
.Number of participants 24
.Category of the tool digital media
.Tool / resource Google document, Popplet, Prezi
.Country Finland
.Language of the tool or resource Finnish, English, any
.Time plan start date 10-4-2013
.Time plan finish date 31-5-2013
.Did you use an example scenario from the initial phase of the eLene2learn project as an inspiration? Yes
.If you have used an example scenario from the initial phase of the eLene2learn project as an inspiration please identify the name of the scenario Google document as a collaborative learning tool for anonymous learners
.Scenario link LINK
Specific information about given case
.Objectives To encourage collaborative learning and knowledge creation skills.
To develop critical thinking skills and the ability to divide essential information from unessential information.
To develop skills to piece together large unities of study material and to make a short presentation of it.
.Learning to learning (L2L) competences to be achieved • self-assessment
• self-regulation
• ability to handle obstacles and change
• critical thinking
• collaboration
• being creative
• communication (reading and writing)
.Proposed activities To introduce Google document for two groups of pupils in SE classes of biology and geography. In Geography1 course students were asked to take notes "online" and together in a shared document. The aim was that one pupil in a three-pupil-group takes the notes in the class and after the class the notes are discussed and the two other pupils in the group give their comments and add missing information they consider important to improve the notes. The pupils were encouraged to study the notes during the whole course and this is made easy by using Google document for the notes. At the end of the course all pupils of the small group will have well organised notes.
In Biology4 course Google document is used to help the students to perceive large wholes of learning material (Human biology) and to prepare presentations within the topic.
The reason for using Google doc instead of word documents is to encourage students to collaboration and showing a way to organise notes easily to be used later for example when reading for the course exam or matriculation exam.
.Pedagogical approach taken Within geography and biology, two courses of the same content are organised. One course of geography and biology are organised traditionally (control group) and in the other courses (test group) the Google document is used.

The teacher will introduce the pupils how to use the very-easy-to-use Google document. When the document is already created by the teacher, students do not need Google accounts.
.Methods of evaluation The test groups' and control groups' results in exams are compared. The feedback collected by eform on the method in both the groups is compared.
Teacher and 3 pupils were interviewed.
.Ethical statement The parents of the participants of minor age (under 18 years) were informed. The ethical guidelines provided by the University of Helsinki were followed.
Participants were fully informed about the elene2learn project and the use of the data for the project.
Participants were fully informed that data collected through the questionnaires and exam results will be used to inform the project and will be anonymised.
Participants were fully informed that the results of the evaluation will be shared with them.
Evaluation of the outcomes and impact for learners (summaries of feedback)
(with particular attention paid to the initial aims and objectives of the implementation plan and the key competencies developed)
.Summary of student feedback - Usage (max 200 words) 1. Laptops were used for taking notes in groups of 3 pupils, each time the student making the notes changed. Notes were saved in SkyDrive and they are modifiable at home.
2. Popplet mindmap tool was used for studying the functions of liver.
3. Google doc was used anonymously and collaboratively in class in the assignment the teacher had prepared before. We answered to certain questions collaboratively.
4. In addition, those students who wanted could give a short presentation (teach the class) on one article of study book and the teacher was only commenting and adding if some important information was missing.
.Summary of student feedback - Benefits (max 200 words) Making notes
When making the notes by themself, the pupils learned better because it made them really think about the issue, but when studying from the notes of others pupils in the group it was not so easy to learn.
Popplet mindmap
It was clear and easy to use, but the user account should be made beforehand, because registration took some time. A shared popplet enhanced learning.
Anonymously shared Google document
Working anonymously in web was fluent and effective, no time was used for negotiation which usually takes time when studying in a team. It made students think more and they thought they learned more than just taking notes. It was also found positive that the assignment as a whole was on pupils' own responsibility.
.Summary of student feedback - Development of competencies (max 200 words) 10 pupils out of 24 answered the questions of an online feed-back form. These pupils reported that during the case study course developed their next competences the most:
- thinking, collaboration, communication (7 pupils: developed somewhat or much)
- problem solving, ability to handle uncertainty (6 pupils: developed somewhat or much)
On the contrast, self-assessment was reported to develop the least, 7 pupils had developed a little, two somewhat and one not at all.
It became evident that one pupil had reported much development on almost all competences, but most pupils reported remarkable development on several competences.
Interviewed pupils told that the collaboration competences developed especially because of the shared note taking during the whole study course. They fund it also beneficial for their learning, they concentrated better and invested more in note taking. In addition, they explained that as they already know their own learning goals and they know how to study to reach those, no self-assessment was particularly needed and that is why it did not develop.
.Summary of student feedback - Supporting transition (max 200 words) Skills to take notes and skills to collaborate developed. Interviewed pupils thought these are important skills in university studies. Also the assignment of anonymously shared Google document was thought to support transition, as it helped and guided pupils to concentrate on the issue of studies not on the person you are working with.
.Summary of student feedback - Challenges or barriers (max 200 words) In addition to some technical difficulties, at the end of the course it was found difficult to find all the notes and learning materials, as those were on several different services, which had been used during the course.
.Summary of student feedback - Improvements that can be made to the activity or the application (max 200 words) Interviewed student suggested that a note taking template could be useful for the shared note taking. It should be such a service / tool that allows one easily to add concept maps, charts etc. in the notes.
.Summary of tutor observation - Usage (max 200 words) Pupils were sitting the whole course in a group of three made up by the beginning letter of their family name. It was good to separate the "best pupils" who usually wanted to study together into different groups. That made the groups more even in terms of collaborative learning.
.Summary of tutor observation - Benefits (max 200 words) The notes remain and can be modified afterwards. The aim was that when one pupil in a group was taking the notes, the two others were listening carefully and the listeners would had added missing information and asked for explanation, if something was not clear for them in the notes. The aim was a shared understanding of the course content within the groups.
.Summary of tutor observation - Development of competencies (max 200 words) Clearly collaboration and communication developed.
Ability to handle obstacles and change: students were eager to try ICT tools and the new ways of learning. The usage of Google doc as collaborative writing tool may spread to other study subjects.
Self-assessment developed when the students had to evaluate if their answers in Google doc assignment was enough.
Motivation was strengthened by offering a possibility to get a better mark by giving the short presentations or if all pupils in the 3 pupil group (making the notes collaboratively) got at least 7 (out of 10) as a result from the exam that was organised halfway the course.
.Summary of tutor feedback - Supporting transition (max 200 words) Participating pupils learned that learning in a course can happen in various ways and using ICT tools, e.g. if a student in the future studies misses a lecture/class s/he can use Google docs for shared note taking and distribute the note taking. In addition, the case offers instrumental value as pupils learned to use technically several ICT tools, which they may utilise in their future studies. The subject learned in this case can easily be used later in their further studies or entrance exams as it is easy to access as it is saved electronically.
In this case it was demonstrated how the learning can be arranged so that the responsibility of learning is transferred to the learners. The way of using the ICT tools in this case were selected according to this aim.
.Summary of tutor observation - Challenges or barriers (max 200 words) The shared place (SkyDrive) for uploading and saving assignments and notes taken at classes should be demonstrated more clearly to pupils.
During the classes when one pupil in the group of 3 pupils was supposed to take notes it was possible to use the laptop to other purposes as well, e.g. browse Facebook. In these cases the pupil in charge for taking notes had not understood the meaning of the assignment: to take the notes and comment them. The BI4 course was optional, so almost all pupils were motivated and this did not cause much problems.
.Summary of tutor observation - Improvements that can be made to the activity or the application (max 200 words) All pupils could have the laptops for note taking in Google docs and a "commenting the notes" class could had been organised where the pupils had learned how the notes can be later used for learning. This might help some of the students to see the meaning of this activity.
In the beginning of the course it would be useful to tell more clearly the pupils about learning to learn competences and why the assignments are done and what does it mean to transit to higher education.
All links to the materials could be stored in one place, e.g. the electronic learning platform, which is familiar to the pupils.
Google doc could be used for pupil groups to prepare model answers for previous matriculation examination questions. One question would be in the exam. Working together would profit pupils collaboratively.
Reflection and recommendations regarding the activity and approach used by the teacher, tutor or trainer
.What worked well? (max 250 words) Pupils' study motivation was enhanced, they learned to work with other peers than usual, and learned to use different kinds of cloud services and other tools, which they may use later at the university where studying more independently.
.What would be done differently? (max 250 words) It would be helpful for pupils to know one place, from where they could find all the study materials, notes etc. after the course, if several services or applications are used during the course. This would also help them to find all materials when studying for the matriculation examination. This would also support transition phase, if the pupils happen to study biology later at the university – they could find and use the SE materials if they were collected in one "place".
The shared note taking might support learning even more effectively if the pupils were given time and asked to discuss and modify the notes after every class. If the pupils are only given advice to do this, they do not necessarily see the value of this kind of "after class" activity and the whole value of the valuable assignment is not made use of.
.Recommendations for other practitioners who may consider using this approach (max 250 words) These collaborative learning activities are suitable for such subject matter that can be separated into clear wholes.
The size of the group working together should be 3 to 4 pupils, max 5. The collaboration should continue through the course and somehow be attached to student assessment.