We all know that you only get out of a conference what you put in. So, I did my best to make the Learning 2.0 unconference sessions work for me by moderating 2 of the 3 sessions (during the third session I was totally wrapped up in Alan November’s amazing presentation on Creating a New Culture of Teaching and Learning).
Both sessions had enthusiastic groups of educators from all over the world, all of whom are eager and ready to get started on some globally collaborative projects. We ended up having a great balance with our first session focused more on lower elementary ideas and the second session focused on upper elementary. All the ideas we brainstormed only require web 2.0 tools that are free and available online.
So many great ideas came up that I thought it would be appropriate to start a new wiki to allow everyone interested to take ownership of these projects. As much as I would like to participate in every single one, I know that realistically it’s not possible. With this Global Collaborations wiki we can begin to connect individual schools together on projects that truly enhance the core curriculum units. Please feel free to contribute anything and everything to this new space!
For convenience, I have listed all of the projects that we brainstormed here, along with a number of collaborative projects that I’m already working on or have already initiated with colleagues over the past few weeks. Now comes the hard part: actually getting started on all these inspiring ideas!
Lower Elementary Ideas
Partnering on YackPack or TokBox for Early Elementary: Connect students in several international schools to create a “global communication center” as Alan November suggested in the roundtable discussion. Each teacher will create a YackPack for each student in your class, each student will have 4 partners in other schools around the world, for a total of 5 students in each Pack. This will enable the exchange to be more constant, more flexible and sometimes involve just a portion of your pack and other times all of your pack (depending on curricular needs).
YackPack is an audio e-mail service that allows students to share and exchange ideas in a user friendly graphical interface that requires little to no reading skills. TokBox is a slightly more complex video e-mail/live video chat service.
The Pack can be used for: storytelling, practicing reading with emotion, share their favorite book, talk about the author, reflecting on learning and the process of learning (metacognition), collecting “data” (for ex: for graphing activities). Students will use inspiration / kidspiration or an online mind mapping software to brainstorm ideas about what they will talk about so students are not reading from a script.
This project could be extended by creating a collaborative Ning or Imbee for the classes for a place to share pictures, videos, etc and/or video conferencing with Skype or TokBox (video e-mail) where video would be required to enrich the experience.
Global Village: One of our grade two classes will be working with Alecia Dry’s teachers on the Global Village project to connect elementary students around the world. The goal is to merge our two classrooms into one global village by conducting joint activities or projects once a month. We are going to focus on intercultural understanding and making connections between or different lifestyles.
Upper Elementary Ideas
Book Club / Literature Circle: Use Ning or Imbee to share our thoughts on our reading – create literature circles with students from a variety of schools – each group would have a community on a collaborative Ning/Imbee.
Connecting ESL students: Discussing common books that our grade 5 ESL student read using podcasting or YackPack. Please share some of the books that you would like your students to start a discussion around – we are confident that there will be at least some overlap between schools if we’re working at the same grade level.
Weather: Drawing conclusions from data – collaborate to both collect and present data on weather
Blogging: Connecting grade 5 classrooms – individual student bloggers connecting about their learning, areas of interest, creating a community of learners. It might also be an interesting idea to connect our younger students with some more experienced middle or high school bloggers. I know Clarence Fisher had a great experience with this last year and several middle school teachers have expressed an interest in partnering up: Jabiz Raisdana, Annabel and Jennifer Cronk.
Life ‘Round Here: An excellent international digital storytelling project designed and initiated by Chris Craft, designed to introduce students to different cultures and lifestyles around the world. Deadline to join Sept 21st.
Cross Grade Level Ideas
Great Book Stories: Listen and See: A great (new, but existing) digital storytelling project based on book reviews produced by students using Voice Thread to integrate audio and visual elements. Find an overview and two samples on Wes Fryer’s recent post.
1001 FlatWorld Tales: A wonderful collaborative storytelling project developed by Clay Burell, using wikispaces to create a never-ended story based on a central theme. I worked on this project last year with my middle school students and we loved it! This year Jeff Dungan and I will co-coordinate the elementary section. We’re hoping to encourage students to see stories within stories so that students all over the world can build on each other’s idea. We would also like to see use of audio and visual elements to the stories, so there is lots of room for growth with this powerful project.
PodPals: Students use podcasting tools to connect on social issues, curricular integration can develop as the year continues. Jamie Hide has already expressed an interest in participating.
Online Art Exhibit: Using Flickr and/or Voice Thread to post an international art exhibit from a variety of international schools. Also, allowing students to discuss each other’s art by posting pictures and allowing others to comment on areas that interest them by audio, text, and drawing on the images.
Exploring Our Communities: Use Voice Thread to share drawing of the different communities that each student is a part of and describe those communities. Share among schools.
Learning About Local Culture: Representing art in the culture you live in teach students about local art – students teaching students
Social Networking : Open Ning or Imbee network just to connect and communicate – starting with more casual conversation, exploring our likes/dislikes, culture, school experience and build as the school year goes. Jamie Hide has already expressed interest in starting a social network with his students in Canada.
Voices of the World: An existing project created by Sharon Tonner to connect children from around the world using their voices. All too often we ask children to communicate at a distance using text rather than voice. Voices Of The World will hopefully prove that we can unite and learn from one another using our voices in the simplest way possible. I am looking forward to this challenge ahead of us which will surely motivate our children to learn about other cultures through the use of the voice.
Exploring Digital Citizenship: A collaborative VoiceThread project to explore what it means to be a digital citizen – a critical issue discussed by many of the presenters this weekend. Joe Dale, Jamie Hide, Lisa Durff, PJ Higgins and Alex Savage have already expressed an interest in working on a project like this.
Flat Classroom Project: Flatten the walls of your classroom and partner up with another class around the world. Collaborative learning at it’s best. Check out the teacher Ning for more details.
Youth Radio Collaborative Podcasting : YouthRadio is an existing project that Kevin Hodgson shared with me earlier this year. From their site: “We are hoping to transform this site into a space where young writers and voices can connect with news stories about their communities, their schools and their interests via audiocasting (and podcasting). Our sites will include Norris Elementary School in Southampton, Massachusetts; Butler Elementary School in Sacramento, California; and the Odyssey School in Denver, Colorado; and we hope to have other partners along the way.”
Next Vista for Learning: An online library of free videos for learners everywhere – find resources to help you learn just about anything, meet people who make a difference in their communities, and even discover new parts of the world. And Next Vista for Learning wants to post your educational videos online, too. Everyone has an insight to share and yours may be just what some student or teacher somewhere needs! An excellent opportunity to help students teach student initiated by Rushton Hurley.
Global Virtual Classroom: The Global Virtual Classroom (GVC) project is a collection of free, on-line educational activities and resources. It aims to complement the efforts of governments and education departments around the world to integrate technology into their classrooms and curricula and to link their schools to the information superhighway. Jeff Dungan introduced me to this great 21st Century resource.
- Each student may need an e-mail address to access web 2.0 tools – how do you organize this for lower elementary? Thanks to Susan Sedro for one solution: Scholastic.com. We could also try gmail accounts.
Ideas for Teachers
Join an existing network of educators learning together:
- Clasroom 2.0 Ning
- The Global Education Collaborative Ning
- NextGen Teachers Ning
- Support Blogging Wiki
- Ning in Education
- Tapped In
- K12 Online Conference
Of course there’s always room for more participants! Please let me know if you’re interested in participating in any of these projects or share your thoughts on the collaborative wiki!
Anything spark an idea for you? Please share your ideas here or on the collaborative wiki!