First National Congress
6-7 December 2004, Cebu City, Philippines


ICT and Cooperative Learning: Reinventing the Classroom
by Renante P. Manlunas
University of the Philippines Cebu College - Professional Education Division

Out of a desire to modernize the classroom, coupled with the belief that acquisition of new technologies improves learning, people are rushing to outfit the classroom with computers and provide Internet connectivity. They think that increased student/computer ratio and the availability of a gateway to the so-called Information Superhighway can make the classroom a better place. This is a common misconception.

In fact, what is important is not the technology itself but the learning processes that take place within the classroom. Effective integration of technology in education requires a rethinking of the ways in which learning is being facilitated, together with readiness and patience to experiment with new ways of teaching.

One such pedagogical approach is the use of cooperative learning methods (CLM). Though not a new development in education, only a few teachers use CLM. Studies in universities abroad show that the use of these methods actually increases the achievement levels of students. The effectiveness of this strategy lies in the core concepts being promoted: positive interdependence, individual accountability, equal opportunities for success, and social skills enhancement.

The current paper explores different ways of integrating ICT and CLM in the classroom. The use of these strategies is a fitting response to the prevailing scarcity of ICT resources in Philippine schools. CLM can be used to solve the inadequacies of ICT resources through the creation of high-performance cooperative learning groups. In this situation, the teacher assumes the role of facilitator and engages students in interactive learning activities. Thus, the classroom is transformed from being a "place" where students meet into an "activity" where knowledge is created, developed and applied.

 

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