Designed around activities that help small groups of students to work and collaborate together, this style of teaching helps students to grow and learn from their peers.
It helps to develop higher-level thinking, boosts confidence and self-esteem, and improves teamwork skills.
TIPS FOR COLLABORATIVE LEARNING SESSIONS
1. MASTER THE BASICS FIRST
Run through the fundamentals as a class.
The courses on Zenva Schools start with the very basics – you can watch the lessons together on a screen, answer any questions that the students might have, and have them work through the basic code on their own computers.
2. BREAK OUT FOR CHALLENGES
Many of Zenva’s project-based courses have challenges.
Have students break out into smaller groups to work on the solutions together, and then have the teams discuss their solutions with the class.
3. PAIR STUDENTS UP
With peer coding (or pair coding), one student acts as the ‘driver’ and writes the code, and the other acts as the ‘observer’, navigating the instructions and reviewing the code as it’s written. Students will swap roles after a set period of time.
This technique isn’t just a useful tool for the classroom – it’s frequently used by industry professionals, so will help to prepare students for the workforce.
4. HOLD A CLASS GAME JAM
After students have created a base project (such as a platformer game, or a simple app), have small groups of students work on modifying their base project together, or on creating an entirely new project with the skills that they’ve learned.
SCHOOLS USING A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH
At Blue Peak High School, the school’s programming students competed in a game jam, where they worked in teams to create an 80s-style video game.
One of them made a two-player Pac-Man, one of them made a Duck Hunt game where you can actually shoot the duck, one of them made a Mario clone but instead of Mario, they made it specific to their classroom – and that’s what was exciting to me, that they could actually take this knowledge that we’ve been giving them over the last however long, and they really could implement it in the real world.
Jonathan Black, Programming Teacher at Blue Peak High School