In the paddock of Montreal's Gilles Villeneuve racetrack, collaborative work helps F1 driver Lewis Hamilton gain seconds. In a classroom building a racecar, it allows a group of students to acquire better skills. Collaboration allows for in-depth learning, promotes the development of global skills while exploring those related to various disciplines.
This is what a project to design a Networked School (REA) can achieve. It was presented at the organization's most recent conference.
Before the vroom vroom, knowledge sharing
In this project, it is not about building a car for the sake of a car, but rather about gaining an understanding of the different stages of its design through the interactions, advice and ideas given by peers. Judith Lemieux, a Secondary 4 and 5 science teacher at Saint-Anselme school on the south shore of Quebec City, wanted to share this experience during a workshop.
Divided into teams, Ms. Lemieux's students, before even starting to build their car, had to use an application, the Knowledge Forum (KF). It is a digital collaboration tool used to share knowledge with others to solve a problem or set of problems. Items can be added or commented on. You can also allow others to "like" or rate the items posted.
Concretely, during the construction of the car, whether it was for questions concerning the aerodynamics, the shape of the chassis, the gears, the wheels, the adherence or the mass of the machine, the students had different boxes according to the themes addressed in the KF to put their comments: my idea / I enrich the idea / I explore a different idea / I need to understand / I take a step back / let's put our knowledge together / what we know now and what the experts say.
An inspiring tool
The most important thing to remember about the experience of the Quebec teacher's teenagers is the path followed by all her students. No team was left on its own. According to Lemieux, "A digital tool like the KF helps you understand how to create a car. It is an interesting source of inspiration for finding solutions.
Thus, the teacher's intention was clear: she wanted to show her students that they would be able to create better cars by having designed them collaboratively, and that they would not have been able to achieve the same result by working alone. In addition, the collaboration allowed the students to contribute their strengths as a team.
Although the video produced and presented during the workshop shows some competitive aspect, it is clear that without the collaborative spirit that prevailed throughout the activity, many questions would have remained unanswered and the students would not have gone as far in their design.
It is possible to view the workshop Designing a car in collaboration! More than just science and technology on Youtube.