This quarter I have been focusing on setting up all of my IT exploratory (9-week, introductory) classes with international partners. My sixth grade students are thoroughly enjoying collaborating with our partner classroom in New Zealand and my seventh grade class has just started communicating with Mr. James’ class in Texas. Last but not least, my eighth grade class is a Sounding Board for The Horizon Project.
The interesting thing about these global collaborations is that the students are not only picking up the new tools quicker each time, but that they are coming to expect new, exciting, international scope to everything we do. They are no longer surprised to arrive to class to find me talking to an empty classroom (because I’m chatting on Skype with another colleague), they aren’t jumping out of their seats with excitement (well, not as much as they used to) when we video conference, and they don’t even bat an eye when I show them something new and exciting like YackPack. These are the tools they are expecting me to use. These are the tools I need to use to engage them. They’re clearly ready and waiting for all of their teachers to catch up….
I’m curious, what are you doing to create engaging projects for your students?