Reflection: Vertical Alignment Virtual Collaboration: Vertical Lab Groups - Section 1: Engage


Vertical collaboration is a different way of thinking about how to arrange students into groups. Most often, students are grouped in horizontal (same class usually) lab groups. Vertical lab groups arrange students in ways where students may not be in the same class or even the same grade. One option is for students to collaborate with students from different classes that meet throughout the day. Another option is for students to collaborate with students from different grades. Using technology can helps students communicate through space and time to work on investigations or projects. Vertical collaboration is a creative way to address several challenges that crop up in science classes.

1) Challenge: Making Connections

Vertical collaboration promotes connectedness between students socially by uniting them in a common purpose in which they learn together and from each other. Additionally, vertical collaboration helps students make connections between different scientific disciplines. Sometimes these connections are how science practices are used in all types of scientific endeavors. Other times, there are connections to cross cutting concepts.

2) Challenge: Time

Vertical collaboration maximizes time through division of labor. For long term projects or investigations, the tasks can be meted out to different groups and compiled into a final product or a single task can be worked by different groups throughout the course of a day or week. For a recent engineering project (engineering projects can get notoriously time consuming), students designed, prototyped, built and tested their projects throughout the course of one day by leaving each other progress notes for the next class.

3) Challenge: Classroom Management

Vertical and virtual collaboration brings about new classroom management challenges, such as appropriate technology use. However, it also changes the classroom management landscape by building in a different level of accountability. Students are accountable to each other and to the other groups that are relying on them. This accountability produces an air of importance that is not always present in everyday classroom collaboration.

4) Challenge: Authenticity

Scientists work collaboratively across all kinds of boundaries: time, space, nationality, language, etc. By using technology, it is possible to overcome the limitations in order to practice, as scientists do, to solve problems or conduct investigations.

  What Does Vertical Collaboration Do?
  Vertical Alignment: What Does Vertical Collaboration Do?
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Virtual Collaboration: Vertical Lab Groups

Unit 2: Engaging 21st Century Scientists
Lesson 12 of 12

Objective: SWBAT collaborate with students from other classes or grades to design and carry out investigations.

Big Idea: Lab groups that can travel in time? Why not! Vertical lab groups promote collaboration and 21st century technology skills.

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