The collaborative classroom and Califone represent the perfect blending of old and new. Califone has been a leader in the design, development and manufacture of audio/visual and supplemental curriculum products for use in education and presentation settings since 1947. Collaborative learning – although long used by perceptive teachers who discovered that in some cases peer to peer explorations in small group settings were more effective than traditional teacher centered lessons – began to formally enter curricula in the 1980’s. Over the ensuing thirty years, small group learning has evolved into today’s definition, which is a method of teaching and learning in which students come together as a team to explore a significant question or develop and create a meaningful project.
The Collaborative Classroom
Not only does collaboration in the classroom add variety to day-to-day instruction, but it encourages communication and cooperation among students. And, just as important as the educational end product, collaborative learning provides a positive bonding experience as students who may not have known each other work toward a common goal.
One of the misplaced criticisms that collaborative learning initially faced was that the activities had vague objectives and lacked accountability. Perhaps worse was the accusation that teachers who conducted small group learning did so to avoid teaching and escape responsibility. Neither could be further than the truth. The collaborative classroom depends on methodology and monitoring to provide effective instruction.
Studies have shown that the investigation that goes on in collaborative activities can be effectively put to use in introducing new material or beginning a new unit of study. Hands on projects that involve building or creating, whether it be a game, model, skit or performance piece, by the very act of taking the project from the idea phase to its completion, makes a lasting impact. This knowledge imparted along the way is more likely to be retained than that gained from traditional instruction. Group demographics depend on the teacher’s goals. Students of similar abilities may work best for some assignments, while for others, groupings of different skill levels allow peer-teaching and demonstrate that all can benefit from members’ various strengths and talents.
Duties should be assigned by the teacher based on her/his observations that the student is predisposed to handle them. These include:
- Leader charged with keeping the group on task
- Monitor to keep track of time, distribute and collect materials
- Secretary/recorder responsible for taking notes
- Artist/creative director to make drawings, illustrations, or graphics
How the group’s findings are presented to the class is usually left up to the group. One form that is gaining popularity is the podcast. Not only does a podcast allow the presentation to be accessed over and over, it can be shared with other classes, used in cases of long distance instruction, or made available to students being home-schooled.
The Califone 4100-AVT stereo headset, with its noise-cancelling boom microphone, gives each member the chance to play a part in collaborating on a podcast. It holds the distinction of being the first school-focused headset to offer single 3.5 mm stereo To Go plug compatibility, not only with Windows-based PCs and MACS, but also iOS and Android tablets and smartphones. If school policy allows, group members might take Califone 4100-AVT stereo headsets home so they can collaborate remotely via Skype. The boom mic also can be positioned upward, if you need classroom headphones today – but might need headsets in the future.
4100-AVT headsets are the ideal all-round addition to any school’s A-V inventory. Thanks to their cushioned earpads, and comfort-sling headbands, they can be worn for extended periods of time, making them perfect for delivering curriculum to ESL/ELL students, AP language classes, and for use in language testing in the ELA portion of Common Core testing.
To find out more about the capabilities of 4100-AVT stereo headsets, contact us today.