What is "Cooperative Learning?"
Cooperative learning is learning in small groups where each student is actively engaged in a three-
step process: research, discussion, and group decision making.
Cooperative learning is the process of discovery through sharing. Cooperative learning creates an
objective that requires the participation of each student in the process. This approach to learning
understands that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Each member of the group may have an
assignment, —something to bring or contribute to the rest of the group. Each member gets their turn to
add to the larger understanding. Leaders and followers will naturally emerge but the assignment is
structured in such a way that all must contribute.
Cooperative learning is goal-oriented. Through research and the sharing of information and ideas,
students construct a group understanding or larger picture which leads them toward new meanings and
insights. The group may be working toward creating a statement or a report, a solution or a completed
project that expresses what the group has learned.
Cooperative learning is not... four kids in front of a computer with one kid dominating the mouse,
keyboard, or discussion. Cooperative learning isn't one team competing against another team and letting
the brightest kids come up with all the answers. Cooperative means "cooperate."
Cooperative learning is more than telling the class to split into three groups to "answer these
questions." It is a way of learning that the teacher both directs and models through their words and
interactions with their students.
Cooperative learning is an intentional lesson planning strategy that fosters discussion and
facilitates contributions from all participants. In cooperative learning, the computer becomes a means
to an end, --a tool to promote the sharing of ideas and peer to peer relationships. Cooperative learning
helps focus attention on software content and not just its whiz bang features. Cooperative learning
embodies biblical values of sharing, listening, expressing your faith to others, and learning from each
Cooperative learning strategies have not always been used in traditional Sunday School. The biggest
hurdles have been lack of preparation time and the limited class time we have for our lessons (typically
once a week for 55 minutes --as opposed to six hours a day, five days a week in public education).
To be successful with your cooperative computer lab strategy, you will need to do two things:
1) Carefully and intentionally craft your lesson plans. This means taking time to know your software.
2) Schedule teachers in blocks of weeks rather than intermittently, and allow them to use the same lesson
plan with more than one class in order to allow them to experiment and improve a single lesson plan
strategy week after week. This will help them be better prepared the next time.
Cooperative learning is a LEARNED habit. So it is a great help to schedule students in for several
weeks in a row. If they are only in the lab once a month, good habits will take longer to develop and
students will have a tendency to want to "play everything" in their one visit. The computer helps us
overcome another traditional hurdle, — irregular attendance. Advertising the computer lab schedule can
be quite an attendance inducement.
Why Computers and Cooperative Learning Are a Great Match
When properly used, the computer can be a wonderful tool to facilitate discussion. Kids frequently find it
difficult to open up and share with their peers, many of whom they may only see once a week in church.
With a cooperative learning strategy, the computer helps them get around the problem. The reason is
this: kids want to succeed with these tools and this motivates them to overcome their natural shyness
about sharing or working together.
Example: Give out a piece of paper and markers to a group of fourth graders, ask them to each write a
short psalm, illustrate it, and share it, and you will most likely be met with a fair amount of passive
opposition, apathetic effort, and "I don't want to share mine." But have them perform that same task
together in pairs using Kid Pix (a creative writing and paint program) and suddenly they are working
together, trading off doing the typing and drawing, and proudly displaying their presentations to the rest of
the class. Their desire to use the computer gives the teacher the leverage to help students move beyond
their boundaries and comfort zones. I'll share more examples in a moment.
There are two other reasons why computers and cooperative learning work well together.
Cooperative learning strategies can provide a comfortable structure and set of calming set of
expectations. Remember, there are other lesson strategies and ideas described in our Teaching Tips.
Cooperative strategies such as the ones listed below can be used in combination with many of those
ideas. What works well with one age group, teacher or piece of software, may not work as well with
Lesson 13: Cooperative Learning with the Computer
Cooperative or collaborative learning is learning by small groups of students who work together in a common
learning task. It is often also called group learning but to be truly cooperative learning, 5 elements are needed:
1. common goal
4. individual accountability
5. social skills
Cooperative Learning and the Computer
Researchers have made studies on the learning interaction between the student and the computer. The studies have
great value since it has been a long standing fear that the computer may foster student learning in isolation that
hinders the development of the student's social skills.
Now this mythical fear has been contradicted by the studies which show that when students work with computers in
Components of Cooperative Learning
Education are still wary about the computer's role in cooperative learning. Thus they pose the position that the use of
computers do not automatically result in cooperative learning. There therefore assign the teachers several tasks in
order to ensure collaborative learning. These are:
1. Assigning students to mixed-ability teams
2. Establishing positive interdependence
3. Teaching cooperative social skills
4. Insuring individual accountability, and
5. Helping groups process information
My Reflection in this lesson:
It is a good lesson to be discussed, because I know that cooperative learning makes learners learn more.
Technology like computer makes studies easier. So that, if the learners collaborates with the computer the more the
knowledge will be acquired by the learners. In summary, collaborates with computer makes the learning easier and
meaningful. In here, the action of each student affects the others in a group. Cooperative learning is an affective
strategy that can be use to integrate in the computer activities to promote the competencies of the learners.