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‘Collaborating2Create’: A conceptual tool to develop learners’ capacity for collaborative creativity through Virtual Internships in schools

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Twiner, Alison 


Background: Many employers are clear about the skills future workers need: technical and practical skills, alongside transferable skills including an ability to effectively solve problems and to work creatively within a team. School-based ‘Virtual Internships’ offer potential to respond to these calls, enabling learners to engage in pedagogically-aligned challenges grounded in authentic workplace practices. Limited research has, however, investigated how schools may facilitate authentic workplace experiences virtually – through online interaction as well as role-play of workplace practices: to enable young people to develop important competencies around creative groupwork through curricular activities.

Aim: In this paper we outline the development of ‘Collaborating2Create’ (C2C): a conceptual tool devised through the ‘Virtual Internships Project’ to support the teaching of group creativity, in a way that meaningfully links education to the world of work.

Method: We offer a critical literature review followed by extracts from qualitative discourse analysis of classroom data, selected to evidence the value and practice of C2C in genuine classroom interaction. Extracts are presented with integrated analytic commentary, followed by a summary, to make salient features of dialogic interaction that promote C2C. Extracts from a teacher post-programme interview and student focus group, around the deductive theme of C2C, are incorporated to evidence how the programme was developed iteratively based on learning from trials.

Findings & Implications: This paper argues that C2C conceptualised as a ‘complex competency’ within a broader Virtual Internship programme offers a conceptual tool that can be embedded and have value beyond the current project. Further, many charities and businesses are keen to establish links with education but their capacity to engage learners in schools is limited. It is argued that C2C could act as an effective ‘bridging concept’ between education and the world of work.



creativity, collaboration, dialogue, enterprise, education

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Online repository of the American Educational Research Association

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