AbstractCollaboration shift in collaboration started with technology but

AbstractCollaboration is a concept that is essential in today’s modern classroom.  The use of collaboration in the classroom setting develops life-long skills such as active listening, problem-solving, facilitating, and communication.  This literature review examines to what extent does the use of technology in conjunction with collaborative learning impact student achievement, in the middle school mathematics classroom.  The research was taken from the areas of technology and the impact on creating a positive, collaborative learning environment.  Qualitative and quantitative studies were examined, which included the use of touch technology in the classroom, classroom climate in relation to student learning experiences.  The research pieces reviewed point to the benefits of using technology in collaborative learning environments to middle school classrooms. Collaborative Learning and Technology in the Middle SchoolThe idea of collaboration is not a new concept in education.  Collaboration has been around far longer than many other concepts in society.  However, collaboration amongst students has become more innovative over time.  The students that we are educating now can collaborate with a global society by the tap of a keyboard.  Technology has played an important role in the increased collaboration throughout education.  The shift in collaboration started with technology but has also included learning environment.  By creating a student-centered learning environment that pairs technology with collaboration classroom engagement and achievement increase.  Using technological devices to collaborate and communicate is just one tool that increases student engagement as well as a flexible learning environment, with the use of collaborative furniture and inviting aesthetics.            The current educational setting was established at the time of the factory worker.  At the end of the Industrial Revolution, we started to think about how we should educate our nation’s children.  The factory setting had a significant impact on education during this time.  The earliest pictures of a classroom are ones of students in straight rows of desks and chairs.  Unfortunately, this same picture can be replicated with our 21st-century learners in the classroom.  The traditional classroom design is such that it does not invite collaboration amongst students and teachers.  Infusing collaboration into the educational setting through technology and classroom design would allow students and teachers alike to refine their 21st-century skills in a setting that is conducive to student engagement.  The classroom environment evolved into a space that has a modern-day look and feel; technology and collaborative spaces for both students and teachers are becoming the norm, which in turn prepares students for a career in an ever-changing global society.     Changing the way teachers teach is of great professional concern.  In order to prepare students for success beyond their formative years of education evolving methods of instruction need to occur.  In our society mathematics and the sciences seem to get the majority of the scrutiny.  United States students continually falling behind peers from other developed countries.  The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) released its latest results of United States students achievement compared to those of their peers internationally, on mathematics, science, and reading assessments.  “The most recent PISA results, from 2015, placed the U.S. an unimpressive 38th of 71 countries in math” (Desilver, 2017 p. 1).  These results are a direct impact of the type of instruction that students are receiving.  “Two pedagogical limitations have been identified as the major shortcomings in traditional secondary education: lecture-based instruction and teacher-centered instruction” (Zakaria & Iksan, 2006, p. 35).     Students today need to have a myriad of skills upon graduating from the formal education setting.  There are many challenges facing students that require them to tackle problems head-on.  It is more likely that the problem solving will be in a small cohort of people from around the world, than by themselves.  Growth in science and technology has propelled the need for educational reform making it essential for students not only to gain knowledge, but also acquire communication skills, problem-solving skills, creative and critical thinking skills in the years ahead (Zakaria & Iksan, 2006).  Methods that are being examined throughout this literature review tie together two concepts of 21st-century learning; technology and collaboration. The world is getting smaller with the use of technology to bridge the gap between time and space.  “Cooperative group instruction has shown significantly better results in mathematics achievement and problem-solving skills” (Zakaria & Iksan, 2006 p.37).     Technology has afforded both the classroom teacher and student new tools, learning experiences, information and methods to complete tasks.  Technology has grown from a basic campus intranet to the use of social media such as Twitter and Snapchat to complete educational outcomes.  There is emerging evidence of the learning benefits of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) (Resta & Laferriere, 2007).  Resta & Laferriere (2007) include higher order thinking skills, student satisfaction with the learning experience, and improved productivity to be skills that are improved with CSCL.  Researchers have concluded that the Net Generation, N-Geners, are students who have become independent, inclusive and innovative (Resta & Laferriere, 2007).  Technology allows the teacher to change the methodology of instruction at the click of a mouse.  The same technology differentiates the learned content using data-driven decisions to tailor make the students educational experience.  With the wide variety of standardized tests that students are now subjected to, math data is ever present.  That data can be inputted into programs such as Study Island, Compass Learning, IXL and many others to individualize learning.  Pair that with gamification and cooperative platforms such as Moodle, Blackboard and Google Classroom you have a recipe for increased student achievement using two life-long skills, technology and collaboration.            Concordia University in St. Paul uses an essential question that focuses the educational methods of the educator to best fit the needs of students and how they learn and achieve while working with technology.  In this literature review, examination to what extent does the use of technology in conjunction with collaborative learning impact student achievement, in the middle school mathematics classroom.  The purpose is to inform those that are decision makers in education to think outside the box of the 1850s style of education to best fit the needs of our students with environmental and technological changes.