Changes in Business Communication
Approximately 557,100 new jobs are projected to be added in the tech industry between 2016 and 2026. Certainly, those more tech-savvy students will have no trouble finding a job in this industry, but all industries are becoming increasingly dependent on the innovations of modern technology. Conference calls are often held through a computer screen instead of the old Alexander Bell machine. Architecture blueprints are drawn virtually, then printed off around the world. Teachers enter grades online instead of succumbing to days of cramped hands. The world is connected through technology and students must be on the leading edge to compete for emerging job prospects. If teachers will use peer collaboration technology in their classrooms, students will be better prepared to enter into the workforce and succeed in their careers.
Collaboration in the Classroom
In a 2018 survey with 2,000 business leaders, Gregory Lewis of LinkedIn reports collaboration as one of the top four skills employers look for in new job candidates. Whether they’re preparing a sales presentation or brainstorming with the party planning committee, chances are that everyone will at some point be collaborating with a coworker, boss, or team. Students are often graded on individual assessments, but perhaps not often enough as part of a team. Popular tools such as Google Docs or Google Slides can allow students to collaborate on brainstorming for projects, building presentations, or compiling research.
For example, a teacher could task her students with a group research project on different animals they might find on an African safari. Each group chooses a unique animal and begins to look up all they can about their subject. To compile and present their research, the teacher shows them a collaborative flyer creator. They all work together to decide what information is most valuable and design it into an attractive flyer for an African safari featuring their beloved animal.
Peer Collaboration Technology is Business Technology
Google Docs are not just a tool for schools. Large companies such as Whirlpool and Curves, use “peer collaboration technologies” as real business solutions. There are a plethora of online tools out there that encourage working together as a team and allow you to make edits and comments in real-time with others. These abilities make all the difference in today’s world of large companies that defy distances and borders.
But what do the students actually gain?
Students will gain experience in any involved technology, which can be translated into hard skills. These hard skills look great on a resume and open up opportunities for learning more advanced technologies in the future.
Perhaps even more important than the hard skills earned, will be the soft skills:
- Good communication
- Problem solving
- Decision making
These soft skills are similar to the parable of teaching a man to fish instead of feeding him for a day. With these soft skills, they can learn proficiency in any job sector and work more efficiently as a team member.
Other Example Uses of Peer Collaboration Software
Peer collaboration software has a lot of potential, especially for use in the classroom. Here is a small list of uses (in addition to those already mentioned) that could later be relevant in the workplace:
- Peer reviewing papers
- Discussion blogging
- Compiling/presenting research
- Project/task management
- School newspaper/blog
- Design/art projects
Overall, creativity on the part of the educator will be necessary in creating group projects for students that utilize these technologies.
Entering the Workforce
Recruiters want to see prospective employees in the digital landscape. Besides being great for building their resume, expertise in peer collaboration technology will turn into career success. These tools grant the abilities to make live edits with collaborators, to simultaneously work on the same project from different parts of the world, to make digital comments and highlights on specific portions of a document, and much more. Understanding what tools are out there and being able to use them proficiently is invaluable to employers.
Please comment below:
What are you currently doing in the classroom to encourage peer collaboration?
What technologies do your students use for group projects?