A. Construction And Exchange Of Ideas And Solutions

A. Construction and Exchange of Ideas and Solutions

Year after year, information and communication technologies challenge people to think, learn, and work in ways that were unimaginable only a short time ago and, as a result, enhance communication and collaboration among individuals, groups, and organizations. Several lines of research have shown that teams are more productive than individuals for generating solutions to many kinds of problems, provided team members are effective collaborators. The findings extend to teams that collaborate online as well as face-to-face (Hennessey and Amabile, 2010). For schools, this continuing evolution translates into an increasing need to provide students with opportunities to develop digital and media communication skills and to collaborate in nontraditional learning environments.

Several recent sets of national standards and many state standards cite effective communication skills and the capability to work collaboratively as essential for student success in the 21st century. In addition to mastering a set of computer-based skills, students should be able to employ a variety of media and technologies to communicate ideas, interact with others, and present information to multiple audiences. In order to be effective collaborators, students should be able to negotiate team roles and resources, draw on the expertise and strengths of other team members and remote experts, monitor progress toward goals, and reflect on and refine team processes for achieving goals. Since the assessment will be administered only to individuals, tasks involving collaboration with others and sending and receiving communications will need to provide virtual, computer-based renditions of remote collaborators.

Key principles in the area of Construction and Exchange of Ideas and Solutions that all students can be expected to understand at increasing levels of sophistication are:

  • Communication and collaboration are affected (in terms of quantity, quality, and results) by the choice of digital tools used.
  • Digital tools offer many options for formal and nonformal expression in nearly every academic and professional discipline.
  • Teams need people with a variety of skills.

Fourth-grade students should understand what is expected from members working as part of a team and should realize that teams are better than individuals at solving many kinds of problems. Students should be able to gather information from various sources and share ideas with a specified audience.

Eighth-grade students should know that communicating always involves understanding the audience—the people for whom the message is intended. They should also be able to use feedback from others, and provide constructive criticism.

Twelfth-grade students are expected to have developed a number of effective strategies for collaborating with others and improving their teamwork. They should be able to synthesize information from different sources and communicate with multiple audiences.

A. Construction and Exchange of Ideas and Solutions Goals

Fourth-grade students should be able to collaborate and communicate by working with other members of a (virtual) team to make decisions and develop presentations using a variety of formats. Eighth-grade students should be able to take into account the perspective of different audiences, use a variety of media to create effective messages, and modify presentations based on feedback (virtual). Twelfth-grade students should have developed strategies to be effective collaborators, should be able to take into account multiple viewpoints, and should be able to synthesize information from a variety of sources.

Table 2.10 Construction and Exchange of Ideas and Solutions assessment targets for grades 4, 8, and 12

Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12

Students know that:

I.4.1: People collaborating as a team can often produce a better product than people working alone. There are common digital tools that can be used to facilitate virtual or face-to-face collaboration.

Students know that:

I.8.1: Collaboration can take many forms. Pairs or teams of people can work together in the same space or at a distance, at the same time or at different times, and on creative projects or on technical tasks. Different communications technologies are used to support these different forms of collaboration.

Students know that:

I.12.1: Effective collaboration requires careful selection of team members, monitoring of progress, strategies for reaching agreement when there are opposing points of view, and iterative improvement of collaborative processes. Information and communication technologies can be used to record and share different viewpoints and to collect and tabulate the views of groups of people.

Students are able to:

I.4.2: Utilize input from (virtual, that is, computer-generated) collaborators and experts or sources in the decision-making process to design a product or presentation.

Students are able to:

I.8.2: Provide feedback to a (virtual) collaborator on a product or presentation, taking into account the other person's goals and using constructive, rather than negative, criticism.

Students are able to:

I.12.2: Work through a simulation of a collaborative process. Negotiate team roles and resources, draw upon the expertise and strengths of other team members and remote experts, monitor progress toward goals, and reflect on and refine team processes for achieving goals.

I.4.3: Communicate information and ideas effectively to an audience in order to accomplish a specified purpose.

I.8.3: Communicate information and ideas effectively using a variety of media, genres, and formats for multiple purposes and a variety of audiences.

I.12.3: Synthesize input from multiple sources to communicate ideas to a variety of audiences using various media, genres, and formats.