Exploring a Model for Peer-to-Peer Learning

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2013 Update: AthenaBridge software is free for classroom use in grades 5-12.  For example, find examples on our homepage or drop us a note at hello@athenabridge.org to get started.


We were invited to speak at Georgetown University’s Teaching, Learning, and Innovation Summer Institute. With about 350 participants, this was the Institute’s largest year ever.

The topic of our session was peer-to-peer learning and how AthenaBridge can significantly increase the bandwidth of communication in a classroom. The following diagram shows the difference between the standard broadcast model of education and peer to peer learning; the two can be used together in a very powerful combination.

Broadcast and Peer to Peer

These peer-to-peer conversations can occur anytime:

  • Before a lecture: identify the best ideas from the students to incorporate in the lecture that follows
  • During a lecture: real-time integration of broadcast and peer-to-peer
  • After a lecture: continuing the conversation until the next lecture

AthenaBridge software has been used in classroom settings ranging from middle and high school to colleges and universities.

There are some things that one simply shouldn’t learn from their friends (like how to become a surgeon), but in others fields (philosophy, history, civics, etc) learning from fellow students is essential. In some fields, learning occurs best by listening and in other fields learning occurs best by expressing ideas and receiving feedback.

With the structure that AthenaBridge provides, students can provide constructive feedback on each other’s ideas and turn disagreement into opportunities for learning.

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