As school winds down for those of us in the southern hemisphere, things are still very early in the school year for those in the north. Unfortunately for those of us in Australia, schools in America have often already formed connections by the time we are ready to start our new school year. If we are looking for a quick project to end our year, it can also be challenging to find something relevant in such a short period of time. Below are five projects or places that you can go to find global projects to end your year, or to start next year with engaged and collaborative students!
This project is not inherently collaborative but is a compassionate way to start or end the school year. People go onto this site and nominate people who they think need to be appreciated. Some people are terminally ill, some have done amazing things for their communities, others just for people who have gone through hard times. You select the person, write them a (physical) letter and mail it out – that’s it! It is a basic premise, but can lead to some wonderful conversations about kindness, gratitude and about seeing the world form other people’s perspectives.
ePals is a fantastic place to start for teachers who have never participated in global collaboration before.You can be matches with a school with similar learning needs, create a new global project, or participate in one of their learning challenges. You can be as connected with your partner class as you like, from just emailing to organising a live video chat, depending on your level of confidence and experience.
The Global Classroom Project for 2014-15 launched two weeks ago, and it is a wonderful way to connect with other educators, find classes to connect with and discover global projects your class can become involved with. It is a wonderful place for beginners as there is plenty of support and you can always ask questions using the Twitter hashtag #globalclassroom
Skype in the classroom has three main purposes: to connect classes with one another, to connect classes with guest speakers or for virtual field trips/excursions. While the latter two aims are not easy to achieve through Skype, the first aim is absolutely Skype’s strength. Classroom teachers can post topics or projects to be shared with the community, or respond to other teacher’s projects. I would recommend responding to someone else’s project first if you want to connect within a few weeks. If you don’t mind waiting, then posting a project is the way to go.
In the words of Amanda Palmer, sometimes we need to learn the art of asking. If you are on Twitter, try just sending out a tweet about what you are looking for. I have sent out two tweets looking for classes to connect with and have received numerous responses both times. Use appropriate hashtags to broaden your search beyond only your followers, and you will be surprised how many other people are out there looking for a class to connect with too. Just be sure that you check Twitter regularly and respond promptly if you receive a response.
What other global classroom projects have you been involved in? What worked? What did not?