One of the richest ways you can use technology in the classroom is to collaborate globally. I am becoming a big fan of global collaborations and the projects my Grade Two students work on are proving to be powerful learning experiences.
Global collaboration provides authentic learning opportunities that help students learn about another culture while developing their skills with 21st century technologies. Increasingly, to be a successful member of society our students will need to know how to collaborate effectively with others both locally and globally.
My first experience with global projects was in 2008 when I signed up with iEARN and involved my class in a Holiday Card Exchange with seven schools around the world and then a Teddy Bear Exchange project with a class in Canada. These were both fantastic experiences.
Over the past few years, my grade has made connections with classes around the world through our blog. We have many blogging buddies from every corner of the world. These connections have allowed less formal collaboration to occur.
Over the past twelve months, my class has strengthened their friendship with Mrs Yollis’ class in California. Informal interactions have developed into more structured collaborative projects through a joint blog called Collaboration Corner. Read more about Collaboration Corner here. We have completed our “Lunchbox Project” on the Collaboration Corner blog and after having a student vote, we’re now embarking on a project called “Our School.” The amount of learning that is taking place through these projects is priceless.
Time zones no longer allow our class to skype with Mrs Yollis’ class inside school hours. To overcome this, next Tuesday my class will come to school an hour early and Mrs Yollis’ class will stay back late so we can have a special “show-and-tell” Skype session before the school year ends for our American friends. This will be made into a fun event by Mrs Yollis’ class ordering pizzas and our class having a pancake breakfast.
This week, my grade also participated in the Flat Stanley project that Mrs Lynch’s class in Quebec, Canada organised. Click here to read about Flat Stanley’s visit to the 2KM classroom. I am looking at doing the Flat Stanley project later in the year and was interested in John Pearce’s post about using Twitter to send Flat Stanley virtually.
On a more local level, my students also Skyped this week with students at Kunawarritji Aboriginal Community School in W.A. Due to some technical difficulties, we weren’t able to develop our conversation as far as we would have liked but since Skype is so easy to set up, we will try again next week. This sort of experience will inject some life and authenticity into our Aboriginal Australia unit of work.
Our next unit of work will be on dinosaurs so I will have to think hard about what sort of collaboration we could embark on! Let me know if you have any ideas!
The sorts of global collaborative projects you can embark on are only limited by your imagination and ability to strike up connections. Students can measure, collect and evaluate data, write, read, publish, simulate, compare, debate, organise, investigate, share or report.
Here are some links to get started with collaborating in the classroom: