My Classroom Use of the Collaboration Zones
by Teacher Explorer 2007, Jeff Sipper
The collaborative zones found on the PolarHusky.com website create an interactive forum where students can share their learning with a worldwide audience. This feature is just one example of how PolarHusky.com invites learners to become active members in the expedition and moves away from a "following the expedition-only" format typically used on expedition websites. This high-tech level of involvement makes PolarHusky.com an Adventure Learning leader.
The collaboration zones allow students to use either a quick response method, or a longer more developed approach, whichever is more appropriate to the assignment at hand. As an example, my students in 2008 students engaged in projects with work ranging from a few days to more than a month before posting their project. Zone usage also brings with it greater responsibility on the student's part. Students understand that work posted is not simply for classroom or peer consumption, but a worldwide audience. Often it seems, the debate about measurable student knowledge needs to come in the form of a multiple choice format. My experience however indicates that student knowledge can also be measured by the final product in a posting to the collaborative zones from fun and simplistic responses to greater depth and involved postings.
My understanding of the Collaborative Zones has continued to evolve over the past few years of using PolarHusky.com as an educational tool. GoNorth! team members have always emphasized the importance of this feature early-on, admittedly at first it took me a bit to understand why. To that, I now know that they want us all to join-in the expedition to further our education as a worldwide audience.