Image: Connections I Found on flickrcc.net
This month’s #globalclassroom chats were a fascinating affair, enabling many people to make new global connections, and explore tools and strategies for global collaborative projects.
These chats were personally very significant, as I discovered a fellow West Australian educator participating in the chats for the very first time. Trust me, this was cause for celebration!
As Mark Otter was unable to participate in the chats due to other commitments, we asked our moderators to share their thoughts and reflections on the chats:
Laurie Renton (@RentonL), who managed to attend two chats, was struck by the diversity of the #globalclassroom conversations ….
This time around, I saw SUCH value in visiting the archives of these discussions. The links shared are invaluable. The varied experiences shared by each of the participants brought such a richness to each of the discussions. Both hours went by SO quickly, and people were SO engaged, than many of us continued to share long after the hour was up!
Their chat explored many of the lessons we’ve learn the hard way, and reflect the considerable experience of some amazing global educators. As Maggie writes;
I’d say the key take-away message was the idea that regardless of the tools, you need passion and authenticity for global projects to happen and work well, this means connecting with “real people” and focusing on a meaningful topic that is directly related to kids’ interests/wonderings.
In terms of specific tools, Twitter came up throughout the chat as a tool to create a global network (for class partnerships) and as a stepping stone for future collaboration / projects.
Storybird was also named as a tool to use with young learners, as well as Google Docs, Skype, Facetime, (quad)blogging, wikis, and projects like Flat Class and Global Classroom Projects. These two projects, in conjunction with iEARN were the main ways people seemed to find classroom partners.
There was a discussion about how some tools (e.g., asynchronous ones) may be better than others when dealing with practical concerns like time zones, such as Voicethread.
The idea was also raised that there’s a need for teachers to have a certain amount of global awareness before asking their students to cultivate that awareness and use these tools.
Finally, we briefly discussed the fact that some schools have a school-wide approach to #globaled (e.g., it’s part of school improvement plan) while other teachers are working independently to get involved in projects and connect their schools. Some teachers are doing this by linking global projects to PBL or Common Core.
Finally, we’d like to warmly thank Julia Skinner (@TheHeadsOffice), who returned to moderate her second #globalclassroom chat, and who has done such an amazing job in growing these chats.
Please take a moment to explore, and share your thoughts. We look forward to seeing you for our next chats!