Collaboration is very important, no doubt about it. BUT I think there should be limits to group work. I have done so much group work during this year that I have come to think that I never want to submit my students to as much work with partners.
That being said, I really like Peter Skillen’s suggestions about collaboration and co-construction of knowledge. I could imagine that students would be more engaged in online journals than paper journals: it is somehow easier to make comments on each other’s work online than it is in the “school context” of a written journal. It is probably a good idea to make commenting a part of the assignment. But I can also imagine that these prescriptions might become just like another worksheet, as Skillen mentions. It would be interesting to find out more about how he encourages students to engage in deeper thinking and understanding, rather than making superficial comments. How do you teach this to students?