How tech can benefit classroom interaction

Sponsored: Dan Shaw, Tutor at Strode College, talks us through how tech can bolster classroom dynamics

This month, Tavasham’s Collaborative Learning Platform is launched. Dan Shaw, tutor at Strode College and an early adopter of the programme, explains how he has seen it encourage face-to-face interaction, group discussion and problem-solving in
his classroom…

Q: Tech in the classroom often gets criticised for reducing face-to-face interaction, yet the CLP hinges around group discussion. How is this achieved? 

The tutor controls every aspect of the task and the pacing, encouraging discussion when appropriate before
moving on and unlocking features. Only a group leader can vote and so each group is encouraged to discuss their information, which is discreet and different to other groups. Having information that is unique to each group, means that at some stage they will need to discuss points with other groups in order to share the information.

Q: What are the benefits to pupils of encouraging group-based, real-time problem-solving?

It develops real skills that are vital for the workplace, increases confidence and encourages thinking and problem-solving skills that are not always encouraged in lessons that are focused upon examination skills. 

Q: Can the CLP be tailored to create scenarios applicable to any subject of any curriculum including degree level?

The platform is completely open-ended and the possibilities are limitless. Any lesson that could be adapted to an aspect of role play or discussion could use the platform as a tool.

Q: Why have Tavasham decided to provide this tool for no initial cost?

Tavasham’s primary mission is to encourage engagement with heritage issues and the free training scenario is based upon this.

Q: Once a scenario is created can it be shared with other users?

There is a facility to do this and Tavasham aims to develop a community of educators sharing material.

Q: How has the CLP been received pre-launch by education users?

I have tried the initial scenario with groups ranging from FE to degree level with favourable results. I tried several classes with my own scenario – based upon planning pressures affecting historic music venues in Bristol. These sessions were very successful and enabled my students to grasp quite complex and dry information, and to use it to make impassioned arguments to the group. This led to them making more effective arguments and critical comments in their subsequent assignments.

Q: Where can I view a demo/get free access to the CLP?

Visit www.collaborative-learning-platform.co.uk or scan the QR code.

Tavasham CIC is a Community Interest Company promoting heritage, conservation and good planning practice with start-up funding from the Association of Small Historic Towns and Villages. To promote our objectives, we have developed a Collaborative Learning Platform (CLP) for education. Collaborative learning is a process in which individuals obtain knowledge by group discussion in a decision-making setting. A licence to use the editor enables the CLP to be used across the curriculum. Tavasham’s CLP provides a means of simulating events that affect the lives of individuals, groups and communities.

Initially, the CLP introduces participants to the issues involved in development projects that affect heritage, such as restoration of historic buildings. CLP enables individuals and groups to use role play to explore a wide range of development and planning issues. Whilst developing the heritage modules, it was found that the CLP had far wider applications than originally envisaged. Once tutors have experienced the heritage modules the potential to use the CLP in other subjects become apparent.

Our charitable objective is to distribute the heritage package of the CLP to schools and colleges free of charge.