How Can Learner Attribution Foster Better Collaborative Learning? (SMART amp spotlight)

There are a lot of conversations happening in education around how to facilitate collaboration as a core skill and the benefits of student-centered, group-based learning. The other major conversation is around individual assessment. More than a few times I have heard that embracing collaborative learning projects and maintaining responsibility for individual assessment pulls educators in opposing directions. How does an educator evaluate the individual contributions of learners on group projects?

“Assessment and Collaboration in Online Learning” by Kent State University’s Karen Swan (et. al) is one of many papers on the subject. Constructivist learning theorists, experiential learning proponents and John Hattie in his book Visible Learning all emphasize the importance of process over just end product.

In K-12 settings, one challenge of putting students together in groups is that it’s difficult to know what each student contributed and gain insight in the process underpinning the group activity. Attribution has been an issue in group work long before we first began to use computers, but it has come up for discussion a lot recently when assessing group work in an edtech setting when students employ cloud-based tools.

SMART heard this need from educators during the development process for SMART amp collaborative learning software and we’re happy to report that we’ve incorporated this feedback into a new feature!

The new Object Attribution feature, now live in SMART amp, lets you see who created each object. The student’s initials are next to every object they contribute.

  • It enables student collaboration on devices while retaining the ability to see who contributed what gives teachers valuable insight
  • Easily keep tabs on each student’s individual contributions during group work

That’s what makes this feature so powerful —  it lets you assess and guide student group work in a way that would have been almost impossible in the past. It gives you more tools to teach collaboration skills to your students. When you can identify which students are over- or under-contributing, you can help mentor them how to be an effective team player.

Are you talking about attribution in group work at your school? How are you addressing it with digital group work? Is Object Attribution a compelling software feature? We welcome your feedback and encourage you to register for the free SMART amp trial to test it out yourself!

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Sarah Richards
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About Sarah Richards

Sarah Richards is a Brand Strategist at SMART, on a mission to bring students together and empower educators through technology. Sarah works from Vancouver, Canada.

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