Smart Literacy Learning in the Twenty-First Century: Facilitating PBSL Pedagogic Collaborative Clouds

  • Margaret AkerEmail author
  • Luis Javier Pentón Herrera
Part of the Bridging Human and Machine: Future Education with Intelligence book series (BHMFEI)


Prevalent in the literature are the components of smart education, learning, and literacies; smart pedagogies are encouraged, but practical examples are scant. A gap between education and the workplace has been acknowledged; how can smart pedagogy fill the void? This chapter provides an example of an innovative educational process bridging the interval utilizing an online problem-based service learning (PBSL) instructional approach and a pedagogic collaborative cloud, a smart pedagogic collaborative cloud (PCC). Educators collaborating together are a crucial component of the changing praxis. In a university course using a PBSL approach, students collaboratively identified a problem—lack of time. A literacy pedagogic collaborative cloud was identified as the solution to the problem. A pilot study was performed (n = 12) to ascertain interest in the idea and warrant conducting a study. A triangulated qualitative study (n = 45) was implemented; a broad constructive theoretical framework provided support for smart education, PBSL, and the pedagogic collaborative cloud. The research questions were: (1) Does the interest or need exist to create a literacy collaborative cloud for graduate students and alumnae? (2) What was the best format to encourage participation? Four types of data were collected and quality checks instituted. The findings revealed 80% of the participants agreed with the creation of a literacy pedagogic collaborative cloud (LPCC); 100% of the participants preferred to collaborate with a group of professionals in their field, and 100% agreed collaboration improved teaching practice. A private literacy PCC was created on Facebook; the implications are clear—smart pedagogy can fill the university/workplace void.


Mobile learning Pedagogic collaborative clouds Smart learning Problem-based service-learning 


Glossary of Terms


A group of two or more people learning together.

Collaborative learning cloud

Cloud-based learning supported by collaborative tools including the Google platform, Padlet, social networks, and forums.

Community cloud

A cloud location designed specifically with a group possessing one or multiple shared concerns which is managed and operated either internally by the group or externally by a third party.

E-learning collaborators

Collaborators in the e-learning environment possessing the dual emphasis of providing and consuming.

Informal professional development

Informal activities established to engage interaction, learning, and growth among educational professionals focused on practice.


Today, the definition of literacy incorporates and transcends functional literacy; literacies include the interactive, complex application of the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed to meet the social, cultural, political, technological, and economic challenges of the nonlinear twenty-first-century world.

Online collaborative learning

Online collaborative discourse designed to promote knowledge building to incite learning and action.

Online community

A formal or informal group situated in the online environment focused on a common purpose.

Peer professional development

A group of peers linked by a similar professional practice sharing, creating, and reflecting; learning together.

Private cloud communities

A cloud community is designed to provide support for a specific group of individuals.

Problem-based service learning

A collaborative approach to instruction based on finding solutions to authentic problems and incorporating a service-learning component.


“Smart” reflects logical, individualized, and flexible education, learning, environments, or pedagogy.


A “smarter” education or pedagogy emphasizes changing instruction for the better linked to incorporating twenty-first-century skills.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Concordia University ChicagoRiver Forest, ILUSA
  2. 2.American College of EducationIndianapolis, INUSA

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