Earlier this week, I posted a monster list of 20 ideas inspired by the Learning 2.0 Conference and now I’m starting to take the time to really flesh out those ideas, make some good contacts and get the ball rolling…

The first big idea I’d like to tackle is the concept of creating a “global communications center” in your classroom as described by Alan November. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and am really excited about.

Ideally, I’d like to have one classroom at each grade level (PK – 5) with this type of global communications center in their classroom. To keep things a bit more streamlined, I have created a wiki to help centralize communication and facilitate collaboration on this project. Please let me know if you’re interested in participating!

For convenience, here’s a brief recap of the idea from my earlier post:

Thanks to my wonderful colleague, Jennifer, from my previous school (who was also at Learning 2.0), we came up with the idea of using YackPack to set up mini-personal learning networks for each student in a class. YackPack is a web-based audio communication service that allows students to share and exchange ideas in a user friendly graphical interface that requires little to no reading skills. I used it extensively with my middle school classes last year when we collaborated with Chrissy’s class in New Zealand, and loved it!

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).

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.

My first step is start this project with one of our fabulous second grade teachers, Susan, who also attended Learning 2.0 and is totally inspired and ready to start. Right now I’m struggling with the management issue of setting up 20 different YackPack accounts – one for each member of the second grade class I’m working with. Because second graders don’t usually have their own e-mail address and since the school doesn’t provide them I have to figure out how to set them up and maintain them for the kids. After working in middle school for the past seven years, I’m really not used to doing all these little things for the kids. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Are you interested in participating in a project like this?

Tags: learn2cn, elementary, 21stcentury, globalcollaborations, internationalschool, flatclassroom, yackpack, alannovember, globalcommunicationcenter

16 thoughts on “Collaboration Idea No. 1: Creating a Classroom Global Communications Center

  1. A teacher on the Global Education Collaborative tipped me off to Think.com. Your school can set up an account where you have a secure area where your kids can set up their own email accounts and web pages.

  2. Super job, Kim, in facilitating the unconference session and then recording the 20 ideas for telecollaboration. This effort really brings theory into real classroom practice.

    I will be in touch as I want to chat with you about how folks at ISB review curriculum units and possibly build in a mechanism for tech and information literacy integration.

    And thanks for taking notes at my presentation. I added them to the mind map.

  3. Hi Kim,

    I’m a Technology Instructional Advisor in a district in Mechanicsburg, PA in the US. I would love to get some second grade teachers and their students involved in this project. I’ll have to work out the logistics as well (email addresses, etc.) but I’ll be in touch to learn more.

    I love your enthusiasm and passion! Thanks for sharing!


  4. Kim,
    I am a Instructional Tech Teacher in Virginia, USA, and would love to get some of my students involved. I have a third grade group ready to do some collaboration globally, and hope to get some other teachers involved. As far as email, have you considering using disposable email (www.pookmail.com or http://www.10minutemail.com) to set up accounts, and then having them correspond in a written fashion via a blog? That might not be exactly what you have in mind, but thought I’d throw out the idea.


  5. Kim.

    I am a 4th grade teacher from New Jersey in the US. I am really looking for a way to get my students connected to the world. I think this is a great idea, and I would love to have my class involved.


  6. I am ready to go Kim. Let’s get our grade 2 classes started and pull others on board once we are set up. I see that we can mass import users to create free gaggle.net accounts. Since the accounts won’t be our primary means of communication the ads don’t really bother me. Otherwise we can use epal accounts which are also free without the ads…I contacted them to find out about mass import. Have you been in touch with your friends at YackPack about mass import? I don’t want to do any manual account set up if we can avoid it.

  7. Hi Kim,
    I am definitely looking forward to being involved in this project – YackPack is difficult for us as we don’t have multiple e-mail accounts. I would prefer to keep contact within my moderation range (ie not using pupils home e-mails) Think.com may be a possible or a specific Ning Community. I also think we should use the power of Skype and FlashMeeting for contacts.

  8. Hi Kim!
    I have a group of about 17 second and fourth grade students in an after-school web2.0 publication group. We would like to participate, but I’m not sure how that would work.
    I am a school tech integrator at the American School of Madrid and mainly working with the K-5 students. I will try to find a class willing to participate as well.
    I’m looking forward to participating in some way,
    Cheers, Nancy

  9. Kim,
    I have used the gmail trick before with elementary students. It was real easy to use. Gmail is blocked at school, but google desktop is not. Once I got everyone setup, I opened my gmail through google desktop. By the way, I hope you are enjoying your new assignment and would love to collaborate again this year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge