In today’s classroom the emphasis is no longer on teacher-directed instructed; it is on student-centered learning. Another important aspect of the classroom is the integration of technology to enhance student learning. Research over both is significantly increasing, which makes understanding the positive outcomes of implementing the two strategies imperative for educators. As most educators are aware, the key element to a pupil’s success lies in their motivation to achieve goals and be successful pupils; therefore by combining both student-centered learning strategies, such as cooperative learning and technology integration, student learning can be positively impacted.
One way to incorporate both cooperative learning and technology integration into the classroom setting is through the use of Web 2.0 technologies, such as wikis, blogs, and podcasts. “Web 2.0 technologies introduce a new dimension to education, which becomes not just learner centered but learner centered as learners are the joint generators of content”, states Bose. In today’s society student use of technology is on the rise which makes harnessing this interest for educational purposes inevitable. Web 2.0 tools are ideal for educational purposes because they support spontaneous interaction, feedback, and social networks and relationships (Bose, 2010).
A study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland supports the use of technology and cooperative learning. During the study biology pupils used laptops and wiki-environments to scaffold collaborative learning and participation in laboratory-like work. Throughout this study pupils worked collaboratively in cooperative group settings to prepare a fish and modeled it in the wiki-environment using digital cameras, drawings, graphic software, and text. According to a questionnaire that was completed by the pupils after the project was complete, pupils felt that the use of the technology was motivating and that the use of cooperative learning was fitting for the process (Vesisenaho et al., 2010).
The use of blogs is another way to incorporate both cooperative learning and technology into classroom instruction. Blogs can use both formal and informal cooperative learning strategies. In a formal cooperative learning group the instructor specifies requirements, observes throughout the process, and offers assistance when needed. In an informal cooperative learning group the instructor explains how blogs can be used when working together and then allows pupils to articulate their own learning and engage in discussion with other learners. The last type of cooperative learning groups is cooperative based groups. This type of group is long-term and pupils work together from the beginning of a course till the end and group members work together both in and out of class (Wang & Fang, 2005).
A study conducted at National Formosa University concluded that the benefits of cooperative learning in weblog networks includes learner...