Update: Check out our new wiki: Books Go Global! Please feel free to add your class to our Participating Schools page and collaborate with us! Thanks to Lucy Gray for inspiring our wiki layout with her fabulous Cities of the World wiki (another amazing global collaboration to join!)
Today I introduced our two fourth grade classes to VoiceThread to get them excited about their next big project. They are going to be creating book reviews on VoiceThread (inspired by Wes Fryer‘s son, Alexander) and then sharing them with partner schools around the world so that their single book review can become a dynamic conversation around books.
Now, I have to admit, I think VoiceThread is pretty cool. When I came into the classroom to show them a sample (thanks again to Wes and his creative family) I thought they would just be blown away by the tool. Plus, Kevin Jarrett had just tweeted about some awesome VT upgrades to be released on October 10th (which will, of course remain free to educators – hint, hint, YackPack), which I also showed the class. And, to some extent they were impressed. But, when they really got excited, and I mean literally shaking with excitement in their seats, was when I mentioned that these book reviews would be shared with other students all around the world.
I find these global connections exhilarating myself and I’m so amazed at how quickly and easily fourth graders were able to grasp the power of these tools. One student asked if she could create her book review in English and her native language, so that friends and family from her own country (who might not speak English) can still enjoy her work. Which then started a discussion about the possibility of a book review being started in Korean, but making it’s way around the world, being translated as it travels. We talked about having partner schools on every continent and ending up with one book being reviewed in as many languages as possible – just like “real” books are published in different languages. What a powerful thought for a group of nine-year-olds.
Little did I know that my hook was not the super cool tool that we’ll be using, but the global connections that our students will make. Clearly they’re reading for world 2.0.
Right now we have two partner classes in the US already on board, the fabulous Lisa Durff, Susan Morgan and Matt Kish – all from the US, but we would love to add a few more continents to the list! Is anyone else interested in joining us on this book-lovers adventure around the world?