There is a difference between cooperation and collaboration as discussed in the book. What do you think? How do you move students to collaboration?

See It: A Classroom Example

Name: Cynthia Sandler, Flat Classroom® Certified Teacher
Blog: http://flatclassrooms.ning.com/profiles/blog/list?user=1lkr9rqpokd2k&month=11&year=2011

From Vicki: This is an excellent dialog because it helps you see the nuances between collaborative and cooperative working. Use what works for you, the students, and the assignment. See the full post by following the QR code or link.

The Spanish teacher approached me about her students dividing into small groups to create a Spanish menu and restaurant skit. She had thought that students could brainstorm and then one student would take the draft home to type. I suggested that the students create Google Docs and share the documents to create them collaboratively. I had decided not to use a wiki because in a previous project we had encountered writing and editing "wiki wars" that were described in Chapter 6.[of Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds] I also had not used Google Docs too much and wanted to see how it would work.


It was interesting to observe how different groups functioned to complete their projects. Every group appreciated that they could all see what other group members were writing. The first time they logged in, there were lots of oohs and aahs. Then, to their great delight, they discovered the chat side bar. Some groups did collaborate in the true sense. They discussed either in the chat room how they should write the foods and the details about the colors, images and layout. Other groups did a nice job also but were more cooperative about their work. They decided they would each take a section i.e. "I'll do breakfast and you do lunch." They each brought to the project their sections to make a whole; however, they did make an effort to be sure their fonts, colors and designs were consistent.

Overall, I have decided that there is a procedural difference between cooperation and collaboration. Collaboration will seemingly improve inter and intra-personal skills. Collaboration can be facilitated but must be thoughtfully encouraged by the teacher.[i]


[i] Sandler, C. (2011, Dec 19 2011). Challenge 8: Collaborate and Communicate - Flat Classrooms Retrieved Dec 27, 2011, from http://flatclassrooms.ning.com/profiles/blogs/challenge-8-collaborate-and-communicate