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Cartoon Contexts

Using social networking to improve collaboration in Learning Circles

Chris Faulkner, Erin Berg and Brooke Spencer

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Background Information:
Throughout the learning technologies program, we are arranged in several different Learning Circles (LC) for our Action Research Projects. Each time we are rearranged in new LCs, we must get to know each other's fields of action to understand more about our Action Research Projects. As we switch learning circles, we noticed that this step of introduction often gets overlooked.  It is difficult to become invested in the new action research projects quickly.   Therefore, we brainstormed an activity to enhance LCs by introducing our fields of action in an enjoyable and entertaining way.

Established Goal:
Students will develop and/or improve trusting relationships as a foundation for effective collaboration within our LCs by examining others' fields of action.


Resources:
Social Learning Through Virtual Teams and Communities
Building Trust in Virtual Teams | Leading Virtually
Communication and Trust in Global Virtual Teams

Tools:
  • ComicLife, ToonDoo, BitStrip Comic Creator
  • Skype

Target audience:
Anyone with a need to collaborate online in Learning Circles (online students, professionals working in teams, teachers)

Established Goal:
Students will develop and/or improve trusting relationships as a foundation for effective collaboration by examining others' fields of action.

Essential Questions:
  • How are our professional lives similar/different?
  • How would that affect our relationships as we plan our action research?
  • How can we use what we know about each others' field of action to improve communication and collaboration?

What understandings are desired?
The student should understand that trust is essential in effective collaborative learning relationships.

What key knowledge and skills will students acquire as a result of this unit?
Students will know . . . .
how to effectively communicate and collaborate through social networking.

Students will be able to . . . .
communicate through social networking tools
self-reflect and share with others

Assessment of Learners:
The learners will be self-assessing and reflecting upon the essential questions. They will use the following to create a product of their learning.
  • ComicLife/ToonDoos/C
  • Essential Questions Reflection (Blackboard)

Assessment of Activity:
  • SurveyMonkey- Questions will relate to how well the activity meets the learning goals.


Detailed Directions for this Activity


Activity Outline:
March 9-15:
1. Each cadre member will create a ToonDoo (web-based), BitStrips (web-based) or ComicLife (download free trial software) comic strip (Click on the links below to explore sample comics). The comic strip will depict a snapshot of your field of action (for your Action Research Project). Only pictures (no text) will be included in your version of the comic (Text will come later). This must be completed before Monday, March 16, 2009.
Click here for examples of the comic strips:
  • Chris' BitStrips
  • Brooke's ComicLife
  • Erin's ToonDoo: In my comic, you will see my workplace, then my technology classroom, and then my Professional Learning Community (PLC). My ARP is centered on improving collaboration among my PLC which is why it is depicted in my comic.
2. Prior to Monday's meeting, please read Leading Virtually- Building Trust in Virtual Teams.

March 16th:
2. Learners will meet in their assigned Action Research Learning Circles via Skype. In the learning circle, you will share your comic strip with the group and talk about your field of action. Describe in depth your field of action and how your action research relates to it. You may want to discuss the forces that affect your field of action and other people involved. These items should all be represented in your comic strip. Then, LC members will trade their comics within their learning circle and allow another member to add text to their comic according the conversation from the meeting. Remember, we are building trust and communication skills within our LCs (virtual teams).
3. Upload/embed your final comic or link onto the bottom this wiki.

March 16th- March 23rd:
4. Cadre members will then respond to the essential questions in Blackboard.
Essential Questions:
  • How are our professional lives similar/different?
  • How would that affect our relationships as we plan our action research?
  • How can we use what we know about each others' field of action to improve communication and collaboration?

5. Cadre members will also respond to a SurveyMonkey about the effectiveness of the activity in relation to the learning goals.
SurveyMonkey Link


Post a link to your comics here:
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