I’m back into my focus on my assignment. We were asked to identify a social media platform to showcase our completed tasks where discussions can take place. Introvert as I am, Facebook and Youtube were not the options I’d prefer although I must say I have become conversant with both platforms, thanks to POA7006 class last semester.
I am thankful both to the University of Malaya for making it possible for us students to access 365 (therefore access to Teams) and to my team mate Vani who made it clear that we’d go for Teams as a group (in my absence in class). Teams is a great platform for various activities, corporate and business, but especially fantastic for education. I have learned to get around Teams to prepare for our assignment and inadvertently becoming conversant with the platform (although I’m still learning). Teams combines the multiple facets of Microsoft and incorporate other platforms as a additional tools within its entirety.
I can pull in my Word document, OneNote or Powerpoint with relative ease, I can call for a synchronous discussion, I can add on Kahoot! (although you can effectively use it if you are its paid subscriber) or other applications to supplement my online discussion and at the same time have the functionality all embedded within the Teams platforms. Combined with OneNote and other platforms I feel emboldened by the availability of such platforms to support educators. The chat space, posts page and the wiki are great platforms for discussion. Its flexibility also allows it to be a structured repository of learning materials.
Since starting my masters courses, I have been exposed to Youtube, OBS, Facebook, Lumen5, Adobe Spark, Canva, Zoom, Google Meet, SPSS, Mendeley, WordPress and Microsoft 365 (including Teams), to name a few. It is mind boggling what we can discover when we put our minds into it. Some were part of the curriculum, although considerable number of them were a results of accidental discovery when we were asked to complete certain exercises or assignments. It is interesting to consider that when we need to learn in a steep learning curve, we tend to be more focused. Lave and Wenger’s Situated Learning theory expounds on the the situatedness of learning.
My experience in exploring the Teams functionality in nothing short of situated learning. But Teams also has great potential as the platform for situated learning. Rankin (2016) defined 4 components in situated learning – the 3 Cs and 1P; content, context, community and participation. Teams appears to be supporting all 4 components. It can be an incredible repository of contents. Documents, slide decks, videos and other sources of information are easily stored and retrieved on the platform. Teams provides a meaningful contexts to learning – students and lecturers and reach out both synchronously through video conference and live chat or asynchronously through the postings and repository of contents that can be structured to fit the needs of learning. The ability to incorporate other platforms like Kahoots! adds to the effectiveness of Teams.
The third C, community is supported by Teams in such a way that enable multiple way of communications through private or public chats. Interestingly to the benefit of educators, different classes can be set up within Teams who can share similar resources. Both of these functionalities also encourage participation from the students.
Another learning theory that is supported by Teams is Group Cognition. In the context of POA7003, students were encourage to use Teams as a platform to share and discuss topics learned. When one of us, be it students or the lecturer, expresses an idea either through chat or through an article posted on the platform, it triggers cognition among the group. As the group responds to the posting or chat, it triggers small group cognition. The use of other applications that is enabled by Teams like Kahoot! resulted in extended cognition. As the discussion gets intense, the cognitive process gets further enhanced and resulted in situated learning among the members of the group.
Teams is indeed one of solution to be considered not only for collaborative learning but also for situated learning (particularly for instructional technology classes such as POA7003). For those still considering the platform to use, I have no hesitation to suggest Teams!