Collaborative Learning made Easy
ExamTime is a free online learning platform. However, ExamTime is about offering an experience that is more personal for both student and teacher than traditional VLEs. This post is going to explore the benefits of using such a system in the classroom and how using ExamTime in the classroom can help collaborative learning.
Study Tools and Resources
ExamTime’s provides specially designed study tools such as Mindmaps, Flashcards, Quizzes and Notes. With these tools, teachers and students alike can make resources suited to the learning objective. These tools have been designed to be quick, easy-to-use and help students learn at a pace that suits them individually.
Users can also search the public repository. This is a collection of public resources created by users from all over the world on any and every topic. Having access to this is a fantastic way of getting content to use in class and expanding on what resources you and your students already have access to.
Pooling your own resources, with those of your students and from the public repository will increase the number of ideas and concepts you class engages with. This will increase engagement as students can find the resource that best suits their needs. Having a class that is better engaged will also help increase collaborative learning as each student will have more to offer to the group as a whole!
Sharing resources is at the heart of collaborative learning. With ExamTime, you have many options to share depending of the learning scenario. You can share resources with your students individually or as a collective, you can share a public link so that anyone can access it or you can even embed resources on your website or blog!
Another key feature of our sharing options is having the ‘read-only’ or ‘copy and edit’ options. The ‘read-only’ option is exactly what it sounds like; a digital snap-shot of your resource. The ‘copy and edit’ option however, allows people you share your resources with to take a copy and then make any changes they want to that copy. The person who shares the resource decides who can have this access, of course.
In the classroom, having these sharing options can drastically increase collaborative learning. Just imagine if you create a Mindmap but leave it unfinished. Share this with your class and get them either together or in groups to finish it off. You could then share all the different versions with everyone else. The variety of results might be surprising!
Users can also comment on any resource. So your students can engage in discussions. They can make suggestions, share other relevant material or just thank people for putting the time into creating a really good study resource.
Study and Class Groups
One of the biggest additions to collaborative learning ExamTime has to offer is its group’s functionality. With a Group, a user can invite whomever they please and then share and discuss resources.
A teacher could use this to create a class group while a student could use it to set up a study group with some friends. The person who creates the group has Admin access. This means they choose who to invite and can remove users and content as they see fit.
All the sharing options outlined above can be used within groups too but the resources will only be seen by those within the group. The discussion tool also facilitates collaborative learning as Students and teachers can engage in meaningful dialogues.
Groups would be a perfect addition to any class. For example you could use it to organise a class project. Students would share and discuss ideas in the discussion section. Then they could use the Mindmaps or Notes tools to further expand their ideas into a plan. Other students could then provide feedback on each aspect of the plan in the comments tool. All these engagements could be monitored easily by the teacher . If it’s a really big project groups of students could break off and form their own study groups and then present their ideas to the rest of the class by sharing their finished resources. This is just one scenario in which groups could help collaborative learning.
ExamTime’s timetable tool is the most recent addition to the environment. It allows teachers and students to create a comprehensive timetable in a matter of minutes! You simply drag and drop your subject blocks on to the timetable and then make them as long as you need. You can even set up recurring events for classes you have every week etc. It really is a very versatile tool and perfect way for teachers and students to plan their study and class timetables.
If having all these benefits for you and your class sounds good then check it out now. It’s free and your students will love you (even more) for it!