Every high school student owes credit to the teachers they had, and to the college professors who influenced their education. What kind of education is influential enough to affect an adult’s experience and maturity? Some would argue education of the mind is the most influential type, but what about access to information? Then, there is hard work, sacrifice, and sacrifice of family and relationships. It’s much easier to learn by gaining access to knowledge, rather than time and effort. This is why collaboration is so influential.
Collaborative learning is still very much in the experimental stage. While there are various ways of collaborating, they all boil down to school and teacher. Several websites, magazines, and educational apps offer students an opportunity to collaborate with one another. Teachers can’t be everywhere, and they are not in every neighborhood. In fact, there is a multitude of potential students who are unable to enroll in a school as a result of geography. This makes collaboration a very interesting option, because there are individuals who do not have access to education because of their location or race.
One of the most recognizable collaborations is called MITx, which offers students a learning program that involves an interactive online classroom with an instructor-led general interest course. The course is designed to be affordable and accessible to everyone. The MITx website offers a voice and video conferencing solution called I-SOUNDUP to allow students and teachers to communicate directly with one another. Faculty can use I-SOUNDUP to remotely help their students out. It’s fairly impressive that I-SOUNDUP is not only affordable, but can connect users remotely.
A second, less well-known, collaboration site is the Maia Garage, which is also free to use. The main purpose of Maia Garage is to democratize access to high quality, creator-centered education. The faculty at Maia Garage are high school or college graduates who strive to make their products, software, and educational initiatives accessible to anyone, in particular, underrepresented minority students. The crowdfunding model with which Maia Garage operates makes it possible for students to adopt products and technologies with little to no upfront investment.
Another amazing collaboration website is iFlavor Studio. The website creates an ecosystem for artists, designers, and inventors. They launch promotional campaigns to recruit artists, designers, and inventors. They then provide free physical courses, professional development, mentorship, and connections to everyone they have collaborated with. Each month, iFlavor Studio manages to create two free skill-building courses, two professional development courses, and two more courses to bring anyone’s ideas to life.
What is interesting about the site is that iFlavor Studio is like an e-publishing company, but for creativity. Instead of digitizing books or creating CDs, they create workable courses that anyone can use. It’s the perfect combination of education and product development. iFlavor Studio hosts the Content Factory courses, which I’ve been following since they launched in February 2018. They are free to anyone who takes the courses. The Content Factory makes it possible for anyone to build their own interactive content. The iFlavor Studio site also provides several free YouTube videos to help users with the creation of their own courses.
One more example of collaborative learning is the educational website, “Undergradism” which partners with students and the internet to create new and effective ways to engage and further a student’s education. It offers students a variety of professional development tools, such as a course management system, assessment software, and more. Undergradism also hosts up to 30 new peer-reviewed course resources per semester. This essentially takes old online classes and creates a new community by allowing users to recommend new course material to their friends. Students can also manage their personal development projects on the website, which allows them to create online projects that help with their own education, professional development, and personal development.
Collaborative learning works on two levels. It is collaborative within the community of people who are using the website, and it is collaborative by implementing information and education into the world. It’s also effective because it allows students to be responsible for learning, and to effectively take responsibility for their learning. Students can collaborate by sending individual assignments that are simple and interactive.