Exchange 2.0 - Technology-enabled International Interaction

Exchange 2.0 Technology Enabled International Interaction

 

"Exchange 2.0 - Technology-enabled International Interaction" was developed to help teachers use the Internet to "reach out" globally. These materials were initially prepared as part of the US Department of Education's inaugural International Education Week in November 2000 and were hosted by the US Department of Education.  This is the third version of this Guide.

Rationale: International collaboration is part of Secretary Arne Duncan’s call for international engagement and education reform:

“. . . [I]n this interconnected world, our country risks being disconnected from the contributions of other countries and cultures. Through education and exchange, we can become better collaborators and competitors in the global economy.”

-- Secretary Duncan’s speech to the Council
on Foreign Relations, May 26, 2010

The Teacher's Guide to International Collaboration was developed to help teachers use the Internet to "reach out" globally.  In his address to the Council on Foreign Relations in May 2010, Secretary Arne Duncan stated:

We must improve language learning and international education at all levels if our nation is to continue to lead in the global economy to help bring security and stability to the world and to build stronger and more productive ties with our neighbors….We have never been more aware of the value of a multiliterate, multilingual society, a society that can appreciate all that makes other cultures and nations distinctive, even as it embraces all that they have in common.”

This Guide has been prepared as part of the Department of Education's effort to expand global awareness through collaboration between students and teachers in the US with their peers around the world.   On these pages, teachers will find many projects and suggestions to begin or expand classroom projects that reach across the globe and enable students to learn WITH the world, as well as about it.

In each section of this Guide we have also provided links to elementary, middle and high school projects and links to organizations that are involved in international education via the Internet and Web 2.0 tools.

                

 

 

 

 

  Introduction and Background

  - Why international collaboration?

  - Why project-based learning?

  Resources for Cross-cultural Interaction and Project Work

  - Global Organizations and Networks

  - International Regional Networks

  - Content Resources

  Project Work to Enhance Language Skills

  Music and Graphic Arts Project Examples

  Creative and Language Arts Project Examples

  Science/Math/Environment Project Examples

  Social Studies Project Examples

  Post-Secondary Opportunities

  Tutorials and Guides

  - Guides for Getting Started

  - Web 2.0 Tools for International Collaboration

  - Professional Development     Opportunities

  Tips and Helpful Suggestions
  Credits and Acknowledgements

 

 

Why International Collaboration?

  WHY INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION IN SCHOOLS?

As the Internet and Web 2.0 provide connectivity among people and nations, they therefore also create opportunities for connectivity within K-12 education. As we realize the global reach of the Internet within school classrooms, we realize we can build local-to-global multicultural understandings of human experiences across and integrated among content areas including social studies, science, math, languages, history, and arts. 

It is important that students’ global collaborations be embedded in an overarching philosophy of international education. In local-to-global collaborations, the philosophy of international education is to provide action learning in real world contexts and experiences where students are given opportunity, encouragement, mentoring so they can:

  1. embrace, experience, understand and honor the commonalties of histories, experiences, and perspectives among global peers as opportunities to understand the world in new ways and to understand that diversity brings positive strengths and insights to our human experiences;
  2. understand, experience and respect that differences of ideas, experiences and perspectives exist and can be mutually accepted and sustained side by side;
  3. understand and experience that the local actions of communities have connection to the issues, conversations, struggles, realities, hopes and dynamics of nations on a global scale;
  4. understand and experience that the process of knowing about the world, both past and present, is an ongoing process enhanced through access to newer and evolving technologies that enable learners to increase in global knowledge and insight;
  5. understand that the goal of local to global action learning is the enhancement of collaborative understandings so as to improve opportunities for more positive, inclusive international exchanges.

Source: Kristi Rennebohm Franz, adapted from her article "Towards a Critical Social Consciousness in Children: Multicultural Peace Education in A First Grade Classroom". The Ohio State University College of Education Journal Theory Into Practice. Vol 35, Number 4, 1996.

 

  WHY INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION?

As the President and Secretaries of Education and State have pointed out in speeches cited earlier in this Guide, the current economy we are preparing students to enter is global, competitive, and interconnected. For students to feel comfortable in such an environment, they need opportunities to participate in more collaborative learning experiences internationally. Doing so engages students, furthers their learning, improves intercultural awareness, and connects them to the contributions of diverse and valued cultures. Only global and collaborative initiatives will solve the world’s larger problems such as climate change, health care, and poverty. The potential power of combined talents between nations could greatly improve the amount of knowledge and possible solutions to these global problems.

Emerging research [1] reveals that collaboration across countries, continents, and cultures leads students to develop a sense of intercultural awareness and understanding: key features needed to work together to solve global problems.

“And we will … create a new online network, so a young person in Kansas can communicate instantly with a young person in Cairo."

 –President Barack Obama’s speech at Cairo University, June 4, 2009


[1] Barron, B., & Darling-Hammond, L. (2008, October). Powerful learning: Studies show deep understanding derives from collaborative methods. Edutopia. Retrieved November 1, 2010, from http://www.edutopia.org/inquiry-project-learning-research

 

 

Why Project-Based Learning?

  WHAT IS PROJECT-BASED LEARNING?

Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a systematic teaching method that engages students in learning essential knowledge and life-enhancing skills through an extended, student-influenced inquiry process structured around complex, authentic questions and carefully designed products and tasks. (From PBL-online.org)

PBL allows students to explore concepts in-depth and in an authentic, inquiry-driven manner. Many also argue that PBL engages students in more real-world situations, thus better preparing them for the 21st century. Emerging research indicates that using PBL results in more effective learning for most learning outcomes when compared to traditional methods of instruction.

Here is an introduction video to PBL from Edutopia. It is a great way to see PBL in action.

 

  MORE RESOURCES ON PROJECT-BASED LEARNING:

Re-inventing Project-Based Learning is a blog of a book by the same name. Both the blog and the book “showcase teachers on the leading edge of project design.”

Resources for Collaborative Project Work

International Collaborative Teachers

As you begin to explore the possibilities for cross-cultural interaction, global classroom projects, and new learning opportunities, several organizations and facilitators of online spaces can assist in your efforts. Many will actually facilitate these learning opportunities, while others are simply areas for you to connect and collaborate with other educators and students.

WHAT'S HERE:

  Global Organizations and Networks

Several different global organizations exist for different specific purposes. Explore all the different organizations, or skip directly to the following sections:

  International Collaboration and Exchange

  Global Competitions

  International Regional Networks: browse networks by specific global region.

  Content Resources: start here to look for content to expand your current curriculum in areas of global awareness or internationalism.

 

1. GLOBAL ORGANIZATIONS AND NETWORKS

Browse all of the following organizations and networks, or use headings in the table to explore and then choose the organization that best suits you and your students’ needs.

Purpose

Organization Name and Link

Description

International Collaboration and Exchange

Around the World with 80 Schools

Around the World with 80 Schools

A group of students and teachers with one goal: connect students with 80 schools from around the world using Skype. Many different project possibilities can be explored here. Some suggested ways of getting involved are listed, or look at which groups meet your students’ needs.  A project wiki helps teachers plan which schools to contact and how to connect.

 

Asia Society’s International Studies Schools Network (ISSN)

Asia Society

Since 2003, with initial support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Asia Society has worked in partnership with school districts and charter authorities to create the International Studies Schools Network (ISSN), a national network of design-driven schools that are achieving success in attaining their core mission: to develop college ready, globally competent high school graduates. The network currently includes more than 20 schools in urban and rural communities across the United States. ISSN schools serve students in grades 6-12 or 9-12. 85% of all students are minorities, and 74% are from low-income families. Emerging research suggests correlations between high academic achievement and global competence. For more information visit their main info page or learn more about the design of their schools.

 

Asia Society’s Partnership for Global Learning

Asia Society

The Asia Society’s membership-based initiative hopes to improve international collaboration and knowledge by harnessing the power of 21st century technology and global skills. Benefits include an online assessment of how global your school is, a network of resources, texts, school models, an abundance of articles, an annual conference, and weekly newsletters.

 

CAPspace

Collaborations around the Planet

CAPspace (Collaborations around the Planet) is a social networking tool for educational videoconferencing. Register and login to find colleagues and schools interested in collaborative videoconference (H.323 and H.320) projects. Create and advertise your own collaborative videoconference projects to educators around the world. CAPspace also provides registration for collaborative events and projects such as TWICE’s Read Around the Planet. There are currently more than 6900 educators from 31 countries registered with CAPspace. TWICE is an initiative from Michigan supporting videoconferencing in K-12 education.

 

Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE)

CIESE

CIESE has been involved in K-12 science and mathematics education via the Internet since 1993. Since then, teachers and students worldwide have benefited from CIESE’s collaborative online projects. Specializing in quantitative, inquiry-based science and mathematics web-based curricula, CIESE uses the interactive nature of the Internet for their projects. Browse their collaborative projects, their real-time data projects, or primary source projects. A section on Higher Ed is also available.

 

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC)

CILC

IVECA - Intercultural Virtual Exchange of Classroom Activities

The CILC is a nonprofit group dedicated to advancing learning through collaborative technologies. In addition to offering schools and teachers content resources and consulting to improve learning through collaboration, the site also allows teachers to search for collaborative projects in and outside of the U.S.A.

Intercultural Virtual Exchange of Classroom Activities (IVECA) is an online classroom exchange program in which K-12 school students in different countries share what they study and everyday life through a Web platform. Students in different countries perform individual and group projects in their classrooms according to the weekly activity topics provided by the IVECA Virtual Classrooms. Students from each country exchange their thoughts and information with each other about once a week. Depending on the needs and objectives of participant schools, the communication and collaboration can occur asynchronously through text messages, images, and video clips as well synchronously through the audio and video-conferencing.

 

Classroom 2.0

While Classroom 2.0 is primarily a community for teachers interested in using Web 2.0 and social media in their classrooms, a forum exists for teachers looking to collaborate globally. This is a support group for teachers new to using Web 2.0 tools for collaboration.

 

eLanguages

eLanguages

Start now!
Create an account.

If you are a teacher looking for international partners for your school and would like a safe, secure, easy-to-use space to share your partnership work online, then you've come to the right place.

You can find new partner schools and projects to work with or get support to develop a school partnership you already have.

eLanguages is a global online community of teachers sharing ideas and working together with their students on curriculum-relevant projects.  Create your own school profile, meet teachers from around the world, and share a variety of resources to make your projects lively and interactive. Available in 23 languages.

 

ENO

ENO

ENO- Environment Online is a global virtual school and network for schools, students, and teachers to connect to learn about environmental sustainability. It is based out of Finland and sponsored by the Education Department there. Find a coordinator in your own country or one of 150 others. Register to participate and learn more about environmental awareness.

 

ePals Classroom Exchange

ePals

ePals connects users from around the globe, providing the tools and meeting places to create a worldwide community of learners. The tools include ePals SchoolMail™ and ePals Global Community™ as well as built-in language translation designed for schools. Whether you want project ideas for your class-to-class partnership, or discussion areas where you can contribute your views on a matter, ePals strives to make it easy for members to make meaningful connections.

 

FourNations Classroom

Center for Global Education

An initiative of the Centre for Global Education (Canada), The Four Nations Classroom creates a classroom of the world and brings the world into the classroom. From the months of October to December, hundreds of students from every corner of the planet connect in a series of large group and one-on-one encounters. Schools representing each nation meet via video conference and collaborate through the innovative blending of multiple technologies.

 

Global Connections and Exchange Programs, US Department of State

Global Connections and Exchange

Global Connections programs work to empower youth to use technology to tackle universal issues such as gender equity, health, environment, diversity, and human rights. Further, these programs work with schools to benefit from Internet access and resources by engaging participants in dialogue with the international community.

 

Global Education Collaborative

 

The Global Education Collaborative is a community for teachers and students who wish to connect and find common interests in global education. “The mission of the Global Education Collaborative is to bring people together in order to build the professional relationships necessary for effective collaboration.” Browse the project database, apply to start your own project, or browse a bibliography. Join a group or discuss collaborative projects in the forum.

 

Global Education Motivators (GEM)

Global Education Motivatiors

Founded in 1981, GEM has consistently worked with students, teachers, and administrators through on-site and distance learning workshops and classroom program support to promote a better understanding of the world and its people. GEM maintains a close association with the United Nations as well as several other affiliations. GEM provides various videoconferencing applications and offers packaged videoconferencing programs that can be customized through brainstorming with teachers to fit the individual classroom situation.

 

Global Gateway

Global Gateway

A database for schools and colleges (students aged 5 - 19) looking for partner schools anywhere on the planet to develop international education projects in various subject areas. It is managed by the British Council, but it is open to all schools.

 

Global Nomads Group

Global Nomads Group

Founded in 1998, the Global Nomads Group (GNG) is a non-profit organization dedicated to heightening children's understanding and appreciation for the world and its people. Using interactive technologies such as videoconferencing, GNG brings young people together face-to-face to meet across cultural and national boundaries to discuss their differences and similarities and the world issues that affect them.

 

Global SchoolNet

Global School Net

Global SchoolNet is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting K-12 students by providing a clearinghouse of collaborative, engaging projects that focus on skills and multicultural understanding. They offer several different ways for teachers to get their students involved. Explore their site or take a tour here.

 

ICONS Simulations

ICONS Project

The ICONS Project's mission is to advance learning by designing and delivering dynamic role-play simulations for students and professionals worldwide. These interactive simulations allow participants to be decision-makers tasked with resolving contentious issues. ICONS simulation exercises feature peer collaboration tools and active learning throughout its simulation interface. No software is necessary to participate in this initiative of the University of Maryland. Register for one of the distributed simulations, which happen every fall, to be involved in a collaborative simulation with another school internationally. The research library has further resources for students to prepare for the internationally-focused simulations.

 

iEARN – International Education and Resource Network

iEARN

 

iEARN is a global, nonprofit network with several different access points for youth organizations and classes of students aged 5-19. iEARN has been facilitating student and teacher- designed online collaborative projects and face-to-face meetings since 1988. Over 30,000 schools in 125+ countries participate in approximately 250 iEARN projects covering all curricular areas. Access iEARN-USA, iEARN International, or browse current projects. iEARN has national organizations in each country for teacher and project support.  For a description of these countries’ programs, see its “Globe” pages.  A Getting Started Guide is also available. iEARN also offers professional development workshops, courses, and webinars on how to internationalize local curriculum.

 

Kidlink

Kidlink is a project born in 1990 thanks to the collaboration of a a group of teachers from different countries and based essentially on voluntary service. It is hosted on a Social Network site, a unique on-line environment that allows teachers and students to collaborate in projects by providing a wide range of easy-to-use features and functions. The main goal of Kidlink is helping children through the secondary school level, to be involved in a global dialog. The Kidlink Project Center has a list of current projects.

 

Muse

Muse is a new social utility tool developed for the Internet2 K-20 community enabling educators and practitioners to connect, collaborate, and communicate with their colleagues around projects, people, and promising practices.

Muse enables members to create, edit, and search for projects both within their own regional community as well as the national and international Internet2 communities. Muse also allows members to comment, share bookmarks, websites, and other resources and to track fellow Muse members and projects of interest to them.

 

 

National Association of Independent Schools 
Challenge 20/20

National Association of Independent Schools

The National Association of Independent Schools’ Internet-based, international education program called Challenge 20/20 partners schools in the US with schools in other countries.  Challenge 20/20 teams research global problems and find solutions that can be implemented locally and in their own schools and communities.  Elementary and secondary schools, public and private schools from anywhere in the world can all participate.  There is no travel required and no fees to participate.  We invite all schools to submit a Challenge 20/20 application anytime from March to August to participate in the next school year and to collaborate together through the Challenge 20/20 Portal.  

Students’ research, solutions and discussions as well as videos and photographs will be posted on the Challenge 20/20 Portal within their classrooms and collaborations.  More details are available here.  Challenge 20/20 videos will also be considered for inclusion on our newly launched NAIS on iTunes U website. 

 

Projects by Jen

Creative Projects for the PreK - Sixth Grade Classroom

This site has been hosting and coordinating projects for K-6 grade students and their teachers since 1999. Browse this year’s calendar of current collaborative projects and peruse the resources. You can also check out the monthly newsletter.

 

Rafi.ki

Rafi.ki has four main areas: find partner schools and students around the world (made easier with facilitators); find projects covering many different curriculum areas; communicate through audio, video, text and more; and collaborate in a safe and monitored environment. Membership is free for teachers and schools outside the UK; within the UK membership varies based on services.

 

TakingITGlobal

Taking it Global

A collaborative learning space that feels like a social network, TakingITGlobal has both an online community and educational programs for youth aged 13-30. Their goals are facilitated learning through global awareness of issues like cross-cultural understanding, health care, and climate change. They are a nonprofit with partnerships in many sectors and members around the world. In existence since 2000, TakingITGlobal is dedicated to “shaping a more inclusive, peaceful, and sustainable world.” TakingITGlobal for Educators (TIGed) is a program and community of global educators with resources, support, and virtual spaces for connecting and collaborating in learning partnerships.

 

Teach Connect

The Teach Connect project is a global effort to pair teachers who have collaborative project ideas. Any member can create a group focused on a specific kind of interaction—such as mock trials—or can follow projects launched by teachers from a particular geographic area. Some of the proposed projects may align with your curriculum; you may also create your own project and invite other educators to join in.

 

Teachers Connecting

Teachers Connecting is a simple online network for K-12 teachers to find other teachers for cross-classroom collaboration. Browse projects in the calendar to find a suitable one for your students and timetable, or look for colleagues.

 

ThinkQuest Projects

Oracle ThinkQuest

Students in K-12 use 21st century skills such as teamwork, communication, and technology to contribute to or create projects with others locally and globally. Create an account and browse other projects, or create your own.

 

UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network

GLOBAL COMPETITIONS

Please note that the competitions and sponsoring organizations listed below vary greatly in terms of entry requirements, application process, time commitment, and final products. While all listed involve an international collaborative component, the degree to which this is implemented may be dependent on other project elements and requirements from the sponsoring organization. Review competitions below that may be helpful based on the needs of your students and curriculum. 

Purpose

Organization Name and Link

Description

Competitions

Doors to Diplomacy

Doors to Diplomacy

Co-sponsored by Global SchoolNet and the U.S. State Department, this contest is for middle and high school students to produce web projects that teach others about the importance of international affairs. Each student team member is awarded $2000 in scholarship money. The contest is open to students worldwide.

 

Global Junior Challenge

Global Junior Challenge

The Global Junior Challenge is a world-wide competition launched by the City of Rome to award prizes to the best projects using new technologies for educational training purposes. Youth up to the age of 29 are eligible. Their webpage has a service to find new partners for your project. See which projects are looking for partners by country, or register your own project in the Partner Search database so that others can see your details. Please note that the Global Junior Challenge takes place every two years; the next challenge will be in 2011.

 

International Schools CyberFair

CyberFair

A competition offered by Global SchoolNet each year (see above). In 2011 the CyberFair begins in October and is an authentic learning program in which students conduct research about their communities and then publish findings on the Web.  The contest attracts more than 500,000 students from 75 countries. Each year a new theme is chosen. Learn more here.

 

MegaConference Jr.

Megaconference Jr.

Megaconference Jr., now in its 8th year, is a project designed to give students in elementary through secondary schools around the world the opportunity to communicate, collaborate and contribute to each other's learning in real time, using advanced multi-point video conferencing technology. Teams and their interactive partners develop and share activities focused on both academic and cultural issues. The teams collaborate with geographically diverse peers on authentic learning activities, thus building international cultural awareness. Participants viewing the daily events will be able to address questions to the presenters through a special Megaconference Jr. social networking site.

 

ThinkQuest International Competition

Oracle ThinkQuest

Students aged 10-22 work in collaborative teams to create projects, digital media, or application development. Winners attend the ThinkQuest Live conference, win new laptops, and receive up to $5,000 for the school that their coach represents.

2. INTERNATIONAL REGIONAL NETWORKS

In addition to the global organizations listed above, regional networks offer resources for collaborative projects between schools.

Region

Network

Description

Europe

Asia-Europe Classroom Network

Asia-Europe Classroom Net

Founded as part of the Asia-Europe Foundation, Asia-Europe Classroom Network connects secondary schools in Asia and Europe for collaborative learning and exchanges. It is a shared online space for students and teachers to build stronger bi-regional networks and partnerships in the course of implementing common online projects and participating in face-to-face exchanges. Browse their library of resources or projects.

 

European Schoolnet

European Schoolnet

European Schoolnet provides support and projects for European schools to demonstrate how Internet technology can be integrated into classrooms. It is made up of a partnership of 31 Ministries of Education and more. Their three main areas are School Services; Learning Resource Exchange, and Policy, Research and Innovation.They also host and run the eLearning Awards, where teachers and students present their best projects using ICT for teaching and learning.  

eTwinning is one of the portals managed by European Schoolnet. It is a virtual meeting point for exchanges and partnerships between schools. Students are motivated by an opportunity to learn about each other, their school culture, and family while practicing their ICT skills at the same time.

 

Global Gateway UK

Global Gateway

This is the UK version of Global Gateways (listed above), a database for schools and colleges in the UK (students aged 5 - 19) looking for partner schools.

 

Plan-ed

Plan-ed

Plan-ed’s goal is to link UK schools to the world in places such as China, Kenya, Malawi, Senegal, and Sierra Leone through peer to peer communication and the UK National Curriculum.  Plan-ed is an international Child Centered Community development NGO (charity), working in developing countries. Work on joint curriculum projects with the support of this organization behind you. Their site includes lesson plans, media, professional development, and resource books. An opportunity to blog with schools in sub-Saharan Africa is also part of Plan-ed.

Africa

SchoolNet Africa

Schoolnet Africa

SchoolNet Africa is a project of the African Education Knowledge Warehouse (AEKW). AEKW is a pan-African education portal which services African SchoolNet practitioners, policymakers and school-based communities on ICTs in education across Africa. Their site also has a Learner Centre and Teachers Centre full of resources and projects.

Asia

Asia-Europe Classroom Network

Asia Europe Classroomnet

Founded as part of the Asia-Europe Foundation, Asia-Europe Classroom Network connects secondary schools in Asia and Europe for collaborative learning and exchanges. It is a shared online space for students and teachers to build stronger bi-regional networks and partnerships in the course of implementing common online projects and participating in face-to-face exchanges. Browse their library of resources or projects.

Americas

InterAmerican Teacher Education Network

ITEN is a project of the Organization of American States, building a network of teacher education faculty throughout the Americas who are committed to internationalizing the preparation of educators. ITEN is a network that will be used as an integrating mechanism for sharing knowledge, experiences, research and best practices in the field of pre-service teacher education, built upon a strategy of horizontal cooperation.

 

 

3. CONTENT RESOURCES

In addition to the organizations above, several independent websites exist from which educators can find content related to global issues and international awareness.

Enhance World Language Skills

WHAT'S HERE:

  Rationale for and Examples of Internet-based Interaction and Collaborative Projects

  Language Learning Project Examples Classified by Level of Language Proficiency

  Level 1: Beginners

  Level 2: Pre-Intermediate Level

  Level 3: Intermediate to Advanced Level

  Level 4: Advanced Level

  Español

 

RATIONALE FOR AND EXAMPLES OF INTERNET-BASED INTERACTION AND COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS TO ENHANCE WORLD LANGUAGE LEARNING             

Perhaps no other area in the curriculum gets so much benefit from Internet based international collaboration than in the acquisition of foreign/second languages.  Both traditional and more modern methods and approaches are available in a variety of formats.

Teachers may try to move away from the teaching of rules, patterns, and definitions "about the language" (linguistic competence) towards teaching students how to communicate genuinely, spontaneously, and meaningfully in the second or foreign language (communicative competence).

In the past two decades the interest in teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and English as a Second Language (ESL), as well as other World Languages, has been placed in Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). This focus has centered on teaching speaking and listening skills in real life situations, on writing for specific communicative purposes, and on "authentic" reading texts.

David Nunan (1991) cites five characteristics of CLT:

Some concepts that are related to CLT are the following:

The challenge for the World Language teacher has been how to provide students with real, authentic opportunities to interact in the target language. Technology can play an important role in the effort to bring more authentic materials to the classrooms. Tapes and video-lessons provide a chance to listen to and watch native speakers in action.  Educational computer software companies have developed interactive models, which in general are limited in the kind of responses they allow from the student. None of these technological innovations has had the impact nor the potential for opportunities for interaction as does the Internet, whether synchronous or asynchronous. Internet based technology provides an invaluable tool for World Language teachers to put the theories and concepts of CLT into practice. Several international networks of schools provide:

Some of the benefits of using Internet-based collaboration for World Language teachers are:

One resource for language-teaching and interacting with others teaching specific languages is Virtual Language Center: Lingu@net Europa, coordinated by the National Centre for Languages (CILT). The website provides discussion forums for teachers and learners to bring project ideas and ask questions about language teaching and learning. Languages ICT, another website from the CILT, also provides a gateway to information and guidance for language teachers integrating ICT into the classroom. 

The nature of second language learning differs from other subject areas in the sense that the projects are not limited to specific content areas. Rather, the projects need to be assessed and chosen according to the level of difficulty or complexity of language structures for the learners. Projects are not usually planned for ESL, but teachers can easily adapt them to their teaching objectives.

For the sake of providing a general framework, the table below shows the broad grammatical items and skills that learners need to be able to participate in projects. Although the examples are for ESL and Spanish, the same framework applies for learners of Japanese, Arabic, French, or any other second or third language.  iEARN, for example, has online “Language Lounges” in which students are interacting in over 30 languages.  These Language Lounges can handle languages using non-western scripts and that are written right-to-left.

 

LANGUAGE LEARNING PROJECT EXAMPLES CLASSIFIED BY LEVEL OF LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY

LEVEL 1: BEGINNERS


At the beginners level students are to be able to describe persons, animal and places using the simple present tense. They can narrate everyday activities and routines and communicate likes, dislikes, needs and preferences. They can also comprehend and give simple instructions. They can build or respond to surveys and write a simple report.

Monster ExchangeThe Monster Exchange Project
Students try to communicate an original monster image into another child's mind using writing skills and technology. Each classroom is split into groups who then design original monster pictures. The original monster design is then described using learned writing skills and the descriptive writing process. The description is written knowing that the audience will be another student trying to draw the same monster just from reading the description. The partnered classes then exchange their descriptions via email and the WWW. These students are then challenged to use reading comprehension skills to read the descriptions and translate them into a monster picture that it describes. The true challenge involves getting a redrawn picture as close to the original picture as possible without looking at the original and only using the exchanged written description. The written descriptions, original monster pictures, and redrawn monster pictures are scanned and uploaded to the WWW using the browser based Monster Gallery Builder. The Monster Gallery Builder is entirely form based and does not require the teacher or student to know any HTML code.

 

LEVEL 2: PRE-INTERMEDIATE LEVEL


At this level students can describe and narrate using the past tense and the present perfect. They can also use the language of comparison. They can make future plans and talk about conditions and hypotheses using the conditional structures.

Folk Tales Project
Folk Tales drawingThe purpose is to study Global Community and Cultural Diversity through folk tales. A folk tale provides an opportunity to learn customs, traditions, beliefs, and views. Kids today know "Three little Piglets,” "Sleeping Beauty" and "Cinderella". Unfortunately they know little about folk tales of their own country. And they know nothing about folk tales in other countries. Each classroom is split into groups. Groups read different folk tales from around the world. Students discuss the folk tales with the whole class. Students may e-mail their reactions to the folk tales and interact with other classes. Students decide which folk tales they would like to share with other classes in the world and write their stories. Students develop computer skills in word processing, image digitizing, and e-mail.

 

LEVEL 3: INTERMEDIATE TO ADVANCED LEVEL


At the intermediate level students can read and write more complex pieces that include reporting what others said (interviews), use of passive constructions, and use of the conditional tense.

A Vision
"A Vision" is an international literary magazine that publishes art, poetry, and prose created by secondary school students. Its purpose is to use art and the medium of creative writing to demonstrate that despite linguistic, cultural, ethnic, and racial differences, teenagers around the world share the same hopes, fears, interests, and concerns. This project has received an award from Columbia University for Best High School Publication in the United States two years in a row. Students develop computer skills such as word processing, image digitizing, and e-mail. While participating in the project they have a chance to demonstrate cross-cultural awareness, respect, and appreciation; they share their own culture. Teachers can adapt activities to their ESL needs.

 

LEVEL 4: ADVANCED LEVEL


At this level students are able to read and write argumentative pieces, discuss book and movie reviews, and write articles for school magazines. They can engage in advanced on-line argumentative discussions.

World Youth News
An online project that creates a unique international news service run by secondary school students from around the world. Adhering to the highest journalistic standards, participating students take an online certification course to become a WYN Reporter, select the issues to be reported, and write, edit, and publish their articles on the World Youth News website.

 

Español


Nivel 1-3

PROYECTO ADOLESCENTE GLOBAL

1) Imagenes Y Sonidos del Mundo

Global Teenager ProjectLa música, las fotos, las pinturas y las danzas reflejan las diferentes culturas de los países y regiones. Comparte en los Círculos de Aprendizaje las imágenes y sonidos de tu país.

2) Culturas del Mundo

Spanish  2nd language
Es fascinante ver como en un solo espacio común existan millones y millones de historias que contar, millones de personas que conocer por tanto millones de mundos por explorar y millones de culturas por descubrir. 

Edades: 11 a 18 años.

Fechas: Ver website

Idioma: Español

Página web: http://www.globalteenager.org/?q=lc

Supporting organization: iEARN/Global Teenager Project/Red Telar

Nivel 2

UN DÍA EN LA VIDA
Los invitamos a compartir en este foro relatos que reflejen su cultura a través de la descripción y narración de acontecimientos  y eventos especiales para ustedes, sus familias y la comunidad  en la cual viven. En estos trabajos pueden incluir relatos de sus vacaciones, celebraciones, ocasiones memorables como un cumpleaños, una graduación, el día que nacieron u otras experiencias que son significativas y que perduran en su memoria y en sus vidas. Los alumnos podrán dialogar con otros compañeros a partir de sus publicaciones fortaleciendo su habilidad para comunicarse a través del lenguaje escrito.

Edades: 6 a 18 años.

Fechas: marzo a noviembre.

Idioma: Español e Inglés.

Página web: http://media.iearn.org/projects/undia

Contact: Adriana Maria Aguinaga martindumrauf@hotmail.com

Supporting organization: iEARN/Red Telar

Nivel 4

LEYES DE LA VIDA

Las “Leyes de vida” son las reglas, los ideales y los principios que las personas eligen para vivir. El Proyecto de Ensayos "Las Leyes de Vida" invita a los jóvenes a expresar, en sus propias palabras, lo que valoran más en sus vidas. Los participantes escribirán ensayos que pueden: describir las reglas, los ideales y los principios que rigen sus vidas; explicar las fuentes de sus leyes de vida (libros, experiencia de vida, religión, cultura, modelos de personas, etc.)
Edades: 9 a 21 años.
Fecha: continuo.

Idioma: Español

Página web: http://media.iearn.org/projects/leyesdelavida

Contact: Crescencio Orrego crescencio@telar.org

Supporting Organization: iEARN/Red Telar

 

Level 1-3

GLOBAL TEENAGER PROJECT


1) World Images and Sounds

Music, pictures, paintings, and dances reflect the different cultures of countries and regions. Share the images and sounds of your country in the Learning Circles.

2) World cultures

Spanish as a 2nd language

It is fascinating that in one common space people can have the chance to tell million of stories, millions of people to get to know and therefore, millions of worlds to explore and millions of cultures to discover.

Ages: 11 to 18 years old

Dates: See website

Language: Spanish

Website: http://www.globalteenager.org/?q=lc

Supporting organization: iEARN/Global Teenager Project/Red Telar

 

Level 2

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE


One Day in the life photoShare stories that reflect your culture through the description and narration of special events for you, your family and the community where you live. In these activities, include stories of your vacations, celebrations, and memorable occasions such as a birthday, a graduation, the day that you were born or other experiences that are significant for you and that remain in your memory for life. The students will be able to engage in a dialog with other classmates based on their publications, fortifying their ability to communicate through written language.

Ages: 6 to18 years old.

Dates: March to November

Languages: Spanish and English

Contact: Adriana Maria Aguinaga martindumrauf@hotmail.com

Supporting organization: iEARN/Red Telar

 

Level 4

LAWS OF LIFE


Laws of life are the rules, ideals and principles that people choose for their life. The essay project “Laws of life” invites youth to express, in their own words, what is most valuable in their lives. The participants write essays that describe the rules, ideals and principles that govern their life and explain the sources of those laws of life (books, life experiences, religion, culture, role models)

Ages: from 9 to 21 years old.

Dates: on-going

Webpage: http://media.iearn.org/projects/leyesdelavida

Contact: Crescencio Orrego crescencio@telar.org

Supporting Organization: iEARN/Red Telar

 

Music and Graphic Arts Project Examples

WHAT'S HERE:

  Global Art: Images of Caring
  International Intercultural Mural Exchange (IIME)
  Rock Our World

  GLOBAL ART: IMAGES OF CARING


Images of caringThe purpose of this global art project is to provide the opportunity for children and youth around the world to exchange artwork accompanied by writing on the theme of "A Sense of Caring.”  Students in participating schools and communities will create artworks that portray ways that they presently care for one another within our schools, families, communities and world as well as ways we find and hope to care more. Each student writes an accompanying text that further describes the sense of caring portrayed in her or his artwork. The narrative for the artwork is written in the student's first language so that children and youth viewing the exchanged global artwork and writing can see how our world is multilingual and can see the many languages that communicate ideas of caring. Teachers and students may choose to include a translation of the text to English or Spanish. As each school is preparing artwork with writing to exchange with other participating schools, they are also asked to generate a service learning project of caring within their local or global community.

 

  INTERNATIONAL INTERCULTURAL MURAL EXCHANGE (IIME)


Mural pictureIIME is a project where students of two classes in distant countries cooperate to create one big mural. The aim is for students to understand that diverse values coexist and can foster empathy in a changing world. IIME connects distant teachers and students with Art and ICT. Students meet diverse cultures, learn about global topics, exchange ideas and opinions, and express what they learned in a visible way, by creating a mural with a partner class. This collaborative creation is a high level, challenging but rewarding exchange.

 

  ROCK OUR WORLD


Rock our World pictureSince 2004, Rock Our World has been connecting students and teachers to collaborate in composing original music, making movies, and meeting each other in live video chats. Using Apple’s GarageBand, each country creates a 30 second drum beat.  Every Friday, that drum rotates to another country, where the bass guitar is added.  It keeps getting passed along, from country to country.  At each stop, one more instrument is added.  When it comes back to the original country, it has touched students from all over the world! While the music is moving, students are meeting each other in live video chats to discuss various topics of curriculum. Rock Our World has partnered with several different organizations in their projects. See the website for more information.

Creative and Language Arts Projects

WHAT'S HERE:

  1001 Flat World Tales
  Chain Stories 
  Digital Storytelling
  Kindred (Family History) Project
  Laws of Life
  Learning Circles
  A Vision

  1001 FLAT WORLD TALES


1001 Flat World Tales uses the story telling format of 1001 Nights to tell a new story, a story of our world. The format of 1001 Nights is unique, with thousands of different stories embedded within the one main story. The hope is that student stories will become "never ending tales," with links to different individual stories embedded within one overarching story. The story starts here! This project takes the traditional language arts "writing workshop" into the 21st century by replacing pencil and paper writing with a wiki; by expanding the options for peer response and peer editing beyond the walls of the classroom; and by replacing the "authentic" publishing of the 20th century classroom with authentic publishing in the 1001 Flat World Tales "blook": a potentially endless series of stories from students around the world, interlinked on individual student blogs. Since the project is web-hosted, it is open 24/7/365—all year long. As long as two classrooms from around the world want to collaborate, then "Flat World" collaboration is always possible. Add the name and time-frame, and another classroom will likely have the same timeframe in mind. Then classrooms connect via the wiki. After registering for the project using the Google Form, all participating schools will be listed on the wiki. Teachers of the same grade level and writing style join together to form small cohorts to help make the peer review process more manageable. For more information, read the FAQ on the elementary page.

 

  CHAIN STORIES


Students from Europe and Asia write and illustrate collaborative stories. Chapters become like rings of chains built by different hands. Sets of ideas come from different places. These are stories from the global world. This project is a part of the Asia-Europe Classroom Network.

 

  DIGITAL STORYTELLING


Students will learn about the age-old practice of storytelling and use 21st century tools to create their own digital story.  Students will explore digital storytelling as a way to tell a story, promote cross-cultural understanding, and build meaningful connections with others.  Students will participate in an email exchange to discuss the process.  They will: 1) develop a story topic; 2) write their story; 3) create or find appropriate images to support their story; and 4) share their story and reflect on their work.

 

  KINDRED (FAMILY HISTORY) PROJECT


Kindred bookStudents research events in their family membes lives or in their local communities to find the impact of world or local history. They are asked to interview members of their immediate familes (mother, father, brothers, sisters), extended families (grandparents, uncles, aunts), neighbors or friends in the local community. Students should ask about life experiences that have been affected by the events of world or local history. Events may include war, natural disasters, migration, important discoveries, monuments, famous places and so on. Students should focus on family impact. There have been four editions of the Kindred book published. The next production date is not predetermined but is dependent on the number and variety of submissions. Each story that is submitted is eligible for publication in the next edition of the book, and each student whose story is published receives a complimentary copy of the book. The Kindred Project was recognized as a "Commended Project" by the Cable & Wireless Childnet International Awards for 2000.

 

  LAWS OF LIFE


Laws of LifeAn essay project in which students write about their personal values in life. The Laws of Life Project invites young people to express in their own words what they value most in life. Participants submit essays about their laws of life in which they describe the rules, ideals, and principles by which they live and explain the sources of their laws of life (reading, life experience, religion, culture, role models, etc.). Participants respond to each other's essays and interact with each other electronically. They also report on any dialogue or events that occur in their learning communities as they participate in the Laws of Life Project and are encouraged to use what they learned about values to initiate change within the community through action projects. A teacher's guide is also available in the project languages from iEARN.

Possible project/classroom activities: writing essays about one's laws of life; providing respectful yet open feedback on another participant's essay; responding to feedback that one's essay generates reporting on any discussions that arise in one's classroom or group from writing Laws of Life essays.

 

  LEARNING CIRCLES


Learning CirclesLearning Circles are highly interactive, project-based partnerships among a small number of schools located throughout the world. Each session is 14 weeks. To join a Learning Circle, you must be a member of iEARN and complete a Learning Circle placement form two weeks before the beginning of the session. Learning Circle classrooms are grouped by general themes. Three are listed in the Language Arts section, while another, Places and Perspectives, can be found in the Social Studies section of the guide.

Computer Chronicles - This theme promotes writing across the curriculum. Interaction online revolves around producing a newspaper called The Computer Chronicles. Each class has the opportunity to sponsor one or more sections of the newspaper as their Learning Circle project. They solicit articles from their partner classes and edit them to create one section of the newspaper. This section is combined with the other sections sponsored by Circles partners to form the completed newspaper, the Circle publication.

MindWorks - MindWorks is a writing theme designed to enhance creative and expository writing as well as develop different forms of self-expression. The goal is to help students learn how to communicate their thoughts and feelings in writing, then share and compare them with other students from distant places. The Circle publication for MindWorks is a literary magazine that might be called Creative Minds, MindWorks or a name selected by the group. The sponsored projects could be a specific form of writing such as: personal narratives, place poetry, city dialogues, school fables, local myths or personifications of local products. Alternatively, students can select a topic to sponsor and request different forms of expression on subjects like the family, jobs, schools, or cities.

My Hero -- The mission of My Hero is to use media and technology to celebrate the best of humanity and to empower young people to realize their own potential to effect positive change in the world. The freely accessible, not-for-profit project is supported by visitors of all ages who share stories, art, and short films on our award-winning multimedia journal and digital library. Students contribute writing, video, art, and more in telling their stories about their hero. A guide for educators is included, including lesson plans and an organizer.

 

  A VISION


A VisionAn anthology of students' writings in various literary genres- essays, stories, poems, and poetical sketches- which aims to showcase the youths' thoughts, viewpoints and insights into the things around them and across borders, regardless of cultural and racial diversity.

Science, Math, and Environment Projects

WHAT'S HERE:

  Astronomy with a Stick (AWS) and Day into Night (DIN)
  The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE)
  Core Concepts of Systems Engineering
  Down The Drain
  The Sun Times
  Connecting Math to Our Lives
  ENO-A Global Web School for Environmental Awareness
  Exploring Alternative Energy
  Global Warming: The Planet is Heating Up!
  GLOBE: Global Learning and Observation to Benefit the Environment
  Journey North A Global Study of Wildlife Migration
  Our Footprints, Our Future
  Solar Cooking Project
  Weather: Forecasting the Future
  YouthCAN (Youth Communicating and Networking)
  Additional Resources

 

ASTRONOMY WITH A STICK (AWS) AND DAY INTO NIGHT (DIN)


Science projectsUpper elementary students can experience astronomical relationships through indirect observations of the sun on the school playground and with models built in the classroom. AWS activities provide a continuous exercise in critical thinking and combine well with practice in the use of mathematics and language skills. The science information and skills gained in the activities form a foundation for future studies in astronomy and geography. An accompanying project is Day Into Night, which is designed to introduce the basic concept of nighttime astronomy, by relating it to students through familiar activities of Astronomy With a Stick.

Registered classes will be able to share data, different ways they are using AWS in their classrooms; stories and myths about the sky overhead; and other information.

 

THE CENTER FOR INNOVATION IN ENGINEERING AND SCIENCE EDUCATION (CIESE)


CIESECIESE sponsors and designs interdisciplinary projects that teachers throughout the world can use to enhance their curriculum through compelling use of the Internet.  Projects utilize real time data available from the Internet, and collaborative projects utilize the Internet's potential to reach peers and experts around the world. Below is a catalog of projects that are currently being or have been sponsored by CIESE; a few specific projects have also been highlighted further down the page. Each project has a brief description and links to the National Science Standards and National Council of Teachers of Mathematics math standards it supports.  Teachers can participate in any of the projects for free and are welcome to participate to any extent that they can. 

The following are highlighted CIESE projects. More are available on their main site page.

 

CORE CONCEPTS OF SYSTEMS ENGINEERING


This is a CIESE-sponsored 3-week project, offered at 3 different times. This telecollaborative project is designed to provide students in grades 9-12 with an orientation to systems engineering concepts. Students will be provided with an overview of systems thinking including the systems model. Through guided activities students will reverse-engineer a common device that contains both electrical and mechanical components and then create a systems diagram for the deconstructed device. Students will create reassembly instructions and diagrams that partner schools worldwide will use in their attempt to reconstruct the device. This project provides the background needed to encourage teachers and students to participate in more advanced collaborative design activities.

 

DOWN THE TRAIN


Down the DrainThis is a CIESE-sponsored ongoing elementary project. This Internet-based collaborative project will allow students to share information about water usage with other students from around the country and the world. Based on data collected by their household members and their classmates, students will determine the average amount of water used by one person in a day. They will compare this to the average amount of water used per person per day in other parts of the world.

 

THE SUN TIMES


The Sun TimesThis is a CIESE sponsored ongoing middle school or high school project. Join students from around the world as they determine how their geographic location (i.e. where they live) affects their average daily temperature and hours of sunlight. Specifically, students will measure the temperature and record the number of minutes of sunlight; compare and contrast their results with those from other parts of the world; and determine how proximity to the equator affects average daily temperature and sunlight.

 

CONNECTING MATH TO OUR LIVES


This project helps students see how they can use math to analyze issues of importance to society and to take action to promote greater equity in their school or community. Students may choose from a number of activity options, including statistics and society; promoting equity at our school site; and school and community survey and data analysis.

 

ENO-A GLOBAL WEB SCHOOL FOR ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS


Eno Envirionment Online

ENO- Environment Online is a global virtual school and network for schools, students, and teachers to learn about environmental sustainability. It is based in Finland and sponsored by their Education Department. Find a coordinator in your country or one of 150 others! Register to participate and learn more about environmental awareness. There are two lessons per week and you must apply during the previous school year in order to participate. Additional information is available at the site.

 

EXPLORING ALTERNATIVE ENERGY


Alternative EnergyAlternative energy is one of the hot issues encompassed by environment and sustainability. In this project, students on different continents use different Web 2.0 tools (e.g. Knowledge Forum, VoiceThread, wiki, Skype, etc.) for exploring and discussing local alternative energy, and sharing their own alternative energy models and proposals to promote the use of alternative energy based on the local context. Students also discuss local environmental issues and their cultures during video conferencing. At the end of the Project, students can widen their horizons in understanding the relationship between the use of alternative energy and local contexts.

 

GLOBAL WARMING: THE PLANET IS HEATING UP!


How can we help to save our planet from global warming? In this project, students learn about the effects of global warming and ways to reduce its effects on our planet. Through email exchanges, students collaborate on ways kids around the globe can make a difference.

 

GLOBE: GLOBAL LEARNING AND OBSERVATION TO BENEFIT THE ENVIRONMENT


The Globe ProgramGLOBE is a worldwide network of students, teachers, and scientists working together to study and understand the global environment. Students and teachers from over 15000 schools in more than 100 countries have worked with research scientists to learn more about our planet. GLOBE students make environmental observations at or near their schools and report their data through the Internet. Scientists use GLOBE data in their research and provide feedback to the students to enrich their science education. Global images based on GLOBE student data are displayed on the World Wide Web, enabling students and other visitors to visualize the student environmental observations. Students share environmental science data worldwide with one another through the GLOBE website and in this way develop awareness, respect, and appreciation for one another's cultures and environmental habitats.  Interactive science data sharing builds understanding and awareness of one's own cultural context as well as the cultural contexts of others. Instructions on how to join are here. Also, look for a workshop in your area.

 

JOURNEY NORTH - A GLOBAL STUDY OF WILDLIFE MIGRATION


Journey NorthTrack wildlife migration and spring's journey north. The journeys of a dozen migratory species are tracked each spring. Students share their own field observations with classrooms across the hemisphere. In addition, students are linked with scientists who provide their expertise directly to the classroom. Several migrations are tracked by satellite telemetry, providing live coverage of individual animals as they migrate. As the spring season sweeps across the hemisphere, students note changes in daylight, temperatures, and all living things as the food chain comes back to life.

 

OUR FOOTPRINTS, OUR FUTURE


Our Footprints Our FutureOur Footprints, Our Future! (OF)2 is an international initiative that encourages youth (ages 19 and younger) from around the world to use online tools and resources to measure their carbon footprint and develop ways to reduce their carbon usage. Through the (OF)2 project, students can input data on their lifestyles into a unique online youth calculator developed by Zerofootprint.net that has been adapted to recognize different cultural and socioeconomic settings, housing, modes of transportation, and food consumption. Students discuss how their lifestyle affects climate changes around the world.

 

SOLAR COOKING PROJECT


Participants are invited to experiment with alternative energy uses by making, testing and using solar cookers. Recipes, construction tips, experiments, and research findings will be shared on line and compiled on a web site.

Possible project and classroom activities include designing original solar ovens, comparing insulation materials, comparing heat trap materials, comparing the effects of climate changes on solar cooking, writing letters to local newspapers about the benefits of using solar energy, creating a web page about solar cooking, and many others.

 

WEATHER: FORECASTING THE FUTURE


How is a good weather forecast made? In this project, students become meteorologists as they explore conditions that make up weather. Through an ongoing email exchange, students will share weather related information about their own location while learning about the weather in their ePal's location.

 

YOUTHCAN (YOUTH COMMUNICATING AND NETWORKING)


YouthCaN ConferenceStudents facilitate an online network using telecommunications technologies to undertake and/or share environmental work locally and around the world. Students write about and interact on environmental issues facing their communities during the year. Since 1995, a youth planning committee has coordinated an annual event in April, which brings together youth of the world to share how they are exploring environmental topics and becoming part of the solution to environmental problems. The primary YouthCaN event involves over 1,000 students at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Other events take place around the US and in other countries-linked through the Internet and video-conferencing with the students in New York City. A second major event, known as YouthCAN Med, is held in the Middle East.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES


Schools Around the World (SAW) Programs

This network is a participatory professional development program of the Council for Basic Education and is an international collaboration of teachers dedicated to learning and assessment in Science and Mathematics. Teachers reflect on their own teaching practice by looking at real student work from the nine participating nations.

Social Studies Projects

WHAT'S HERE:

  Debunking Stereotypes
  Digiteen™
  Eracism Project
  Flat Classroom™ Project
  Food for Thought
  Global Dreamers: Peace Project
  Learning Circles
  Listen To The Walls Talking
  National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Challenge 20/20
  One Day in the Life
  Postcard Geography
  Video Introductions to Communities (NextVista)
  The Way We Are
  Additional Resources

 

DEBUNKING STEREOTYPES


Stereotypes are often not true because they are based on inaccurate generalizations. In this project, students collect information about the cultural stereotypes of their countries. They can interview students from other countries, surf the Internet, and discuss with their friends. After that, they try to determine the accuracy of those stereotypes and begin to debunk them. They may do small-scale research to verify the information they have collected. At the end, they set up a blog where they include all the evidence in the form of essays, images, and short clips that support their conclusion.

 

DIGITEEN™


DigiteenThe Digiteen™ Project is a global hands-on project for middle and early high school students focusing on digital citizenship. Students research current topics, write a collaborative report on a wiki, and perform and document offline action educational projects to promote effective digital citizenship at their local schools. Topics of study include digital access, communications, literacy, security and safety, etiquette, rights and responsibilities, law, health and wellness, and commerce. It is an offspring of the Flat Classroom Project.

 

ERACISM PROJECT


Eracism was created by and for  high school students to bring about global understanding and awareness of racism and an attempt to work together to solve problems that racism causes. The project combines asynchronous debate with a final, more formal debate. Teams with judges meet synchronously as avatars in a 3D virtual world called ReactionGrid. Other areas covered involve diplomacy, research, oral speaking, civic discourse, reasoning, logic and reflection. It is an offspring of the Flat Classroom Project.

 

FLAT CLASSROOM™ PROJECT


The Flat Classroom Project is a global collaborative project that joins together middle and senior high school students. This project is part of the emerging tend in internationally-aware schools to embrace a holistic and constructivist educational approach to work collaboratively with others around the world in order to create students who are competitive and globally-minded. One of the main goals of the project is to 'flatten' or lower the classroom walls so that instead of each class working isolated and alone, two or more classes are joined virtually to become one large classroom. This is done through the Internet using Web 2.0 tools such as Wikispaces, Skype, and Ning. The topics studied and discussed are real-world scenarios based on The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman.

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT


Students research the recipes of typical food dishes in their countries as well as the origin of the ingredients and recipes, and the legends and stories behind them. Possible project/classroom activities include research, discussion, illustration, and production of a book.

 

GLOBAL DREAMERS: PEACE PROJECT


The Dream a Dream project was developed in Israel in 2000 and first available on the Internet in 2001. The idea started as a vehicle to encourage children and educators to share in a learning environment that would lead to global communication and tolerance.  It inspires children to take a deeper look at the world by exploring, exchanging ideas, and using research tools, which supports a positive learning environment and a shared learning experience. Because of the war between Israel and the Palestinians which began in December 2008, schools were invited to join the peace project. The children felt the need to express their feelings on the subject together with many partners around the world.

 

LEARNING CIRCLES


Learning CirclesLearning Circles are highly interactive, project-based partnerships among a small number of schools located throughout the world. Each session is 14 weeks. To join a Learning Circle, you must be a member of iEARN and complete a Learning Circle placement form two weeks before the beginning of the session. There are three general Learning Circle themes by which classrooms are grouped. The social studies theme Places and Perspectives is listed below. Additional language arts circles can be found in the Language Arts section of the guide.
Places and Perspectives - Places and Perspectives encourages students to explore regional history, culture, government, and geography by sharing their knowledge with people from different locations. The goal is to help students understand how historical events and geographic conditions interact to help shape their lives and to give them a deeper understanding of themselves, their families and their communities. Each classroom sponsors a project for a section in the Places and Perspectives Review. For instance, a classroom might sponsor a section on local legends, interview native inhabitants or the elderly, describe the historical attractions of the area, examine local constitutions, or compare weather patterns, map studies.

 

LISTEN TO THE WALLS TALKING


This project is an open, image-based project and an experiment in online collaboration. The idea behind it is to 'listen' to the graffiti talk around us and to record and share interesting finds utilizing the project main site at http://wallstalking.org/Home.mvc/About , Flickr group at http://www.flickr.com/groups/wallstalking/ , and wiki at http://listentothewalls.pbworks.com/ . Sketches, squiggles, doodles and other more sophisticated street art are the parts of public spaces which are often walked by unnoticed. Collecting and sharing meaningful graffiti and other messages from our walls, desks, chairs, T-shirts, etc., can provide us with a picturesque collection of expressions of wisdom, boredom, enthusiasm, dissatisfaction, etc., from different places. This can be revealing in quite unexpected ways and can provide us with many interesting possibilities for further collaborations, interpretations, explorations and manipulations. There are walls talking all around our schools, streets, towns, countries, world – by sharing them we can learn more about ourselves and about the world around us.

 

NATIONAL ASSCOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS (NAIS) CHALLENGE 20/20


The NAIS Challenge 20/20 program is an Internet-based international education program that partners schools from the United States with schools from other countries to work together on one of the 20 global problems described by J.F. Rischard in his book, High Noon:  20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them.  Together, schools identify solutions to these global problems that can be implemented in their own schools and communities and at the local and national level.  Challenge 20/20 offers schools an opportunity to assist their students in acquiring the skills necessary for becoming more globally-oriented and better global citizens.  Challenge 20/20 participating students and teachers form long-lasting bonds and many times the relationships continue beyond the Challenge 20/20 program to partnerships and even student and faculty exchanges and community and service-learning opportunities.

 

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE


Students post messages and images describing ordinary and special days in their lives, and then make cross-cultural comparisons.  Autobiographical documentary photography and video and other media are welcomed.  In addition to ongoing forum activities there are scheduled “One Day” events when students around the world will document parts of one specific day using photography, writing, and other media.

 

POSTCARD GEOGRAPHY


Class-to-class exchange of picture postcards (purchased, computer or handmade). This project creates the opportunity to foster global friendships and can be a gateway to class-to-class exchanges of all kinds. This is a simple project, offered to classes all over the world via the Internet. Your class commits to exchanging picture postcards (purchased, computer, or handmade) with all other participants. This "Class to Class" exchange is appropriate for all ages, for public and private schools, for youth groups, and for homeschools.

 

VIDEO INTRODUCTIONS TO COMMUNITIES (NextVista)


How can students better learn about the world around them? We are looking for students to try their hand at telling about their towns, their schools, what they learn, what they do on the weekends, and what they hope for the future. Students seeking to learn about other places often have little to use beyond what is in their textbook. This project is designed to help students develop an interest in other places by seeing how their peers in other countries are similar to and different from themselves.

 

THE WAY WE ARE


What makes us who we are? In this introductory project, students will engage in a collaborative learning experience. Through email exchanges, students will build friendships and learn about the daily lives and characteristics of the local environment of students who live in another region of the world. This unit may be taught to both lower elementary students (grades 2-4) and to upper elementary and secondary students (grades 5-7). There are notes in each lesson for how the unit can be modified to meet the needs of your classroom.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES


Choices is a program that offers educators several resources with internationally-focused content, including curriculum guides, multimedia, and student forums.

My Wonderful World is a resource network campaign led by National Geographic to expand geographic learning in schools and communities. The emphasis is beyond simple geography lessons and aims to create global connections. The site includes different sections for kids and teens, parents, and educators.

Primary Source is a professional development organization that promotes history and humanities education by connecting educators with people and cultures around the world. This organization strongly supports global education and has plenty of resources to help teachers reach their global awareness goals with their students.

UNICEF Voices of Youth is a project created by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for young people who want to know more, do more and say more about the world. Through readings on the website and participating in forums, children and adolescents in different countries explore, speak out and take action on global issues that are important to them and lead to creating a world fit for children. On a regular basis, Voices of Youth also hosts special chats on child rights issues in which adults and decision makers are occasionally invited to participate. Voices of Youth is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child that ensures young people’s rights to participate in decision making processes, to express opinions freely, and to be equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to bring about change in their own lives and in their communities.

University Programs for Schools

The following are examples of post-secondary programs working with P-12 schools in creative uses of the Internet to connect classrooms globally.

  INTERACTIVE COMMUNICATION AND SIMULATIONS (ICS)


Based at the University of Michigan School of Education, the Interactive Communications and Simulations (ICS) project is a compilation of educational telecommunications exercises. Using accessible telecommunications, students can spend part of every school day in a "global classroom." ICS projects have been designed to help teachers teach, mostly by encouraging active learning, learning through design, and providing flexibility so that teachers can integrate the on-line and classroom experiences. All of its projects link participating students with teams of university student mentors, whose role is to support and challenge the students in their endeavors.

A small group of educators at the University of Michigan forms the core of ICS. Working closely with classroom teachers, it provides a range of student-centered activities that have challenged young people around the world. While the projects are carefully designed to foster unique student learning opportunities, they also allow teachers the flexibility to meet existing curricular objectives.

 

  INTERNATIONAL COMMUNICATION AND NEGOTIATION SIMULATIONS (ICONS)


ICONS Project“The ICONS Project's mission is to advance learning by designing and delivering dynamic role-play simulations for students and professionals worldwide.  The interactive online simulations immerse participants in the roles of decision-makers tasked with resolving contentious issues. ICONS simulation exercises feature engaging content, peer collaboration tools, and active learning through its online simulation interface, ICONSnet.  No software is necessary to participate in this initiative of the University of Maryland. Register for one of the distributed simulations which happen every fall to be involved in a collaborative simulation with another school internationally. The research library is rich with resources for students to prepare for the internationally-focused simulations.

Tutorials and Guides

There are many resources that serve as guides and tutorials for creating effective online learning and collaborative projects. Several examples in different categories follow.

WHAT'S HERE:

  General Guides for Getting Started with International Collaboration

  Web 2.0 Tools for International Collaboration

  Blogging
  Document Sharing
  Presentation Tools
  Video-Conferencing and Instant-Messaging
  Virtual Classroom Platforms
  Website and Social Network Building
  Wikis
  Other Social Media Tools

  A Note About Copyright

  Professional Development Opportunities

Map orientation

GENERAL GUIDES FOR GETTING STARTED WITH INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION


Experienced teachers have learned that getting involved in an existing online project is more beneficial than trying to start a project of your own. Participating in other projects is one way to meet potential partners and learn about different collaborations initiated by teachers and students throughout the world.  It can also help you in developing ideas for how to integrate such projects into your classroom, and how to structure a project as a facilitator for other participants..

Once you are experienced and feel confident enough to start a new project, many different models exist. Below are a few resources for getting started, both in existing projects and in creating your own:

  • Step-By-Step Guide to Global Collaborations outlines the basic steps and tools needed before, during, and after a global collaboration project.
  • Multimedia guide to iEARNInternational Education and Resource Network (iEARN) has been facilitating international student collaboration since 1988. iEARN has hundreds of ongoing projects, as well as a comprehensive Getting Started Guide. For further details, visit  its website or Multimedia Guide.  A detailed overview of a comprehensive model called a Learning Circle can be found here.
  • ePalsePals is another established leading provider of “safe collaborative technology for schools to connect and learn in a protected, project-based learning network.” Their support pages address several ways to get started, find partner classrooms, and join projects. A downloadable PDF includes several helpful tips
  • Online Exchanges and Global Collaborations for Every Classroom is a 26-page resource packet is designed to make it easier for teachers to get started with global connections for any K-12 class. Programs are listed in a table that includes cost, age or grade level, forms of communication involved, and more. Also included are relevant articles and websites, tips for online international collaboration, and a sampling of project ideas. This is published by the Seattle Foreign Affairs Council with support from the Longview Foundation and the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington.  Other teacher resources from the Seattle Foriegn Affairs Council can be found at http://www.world-affairs.org/programs/global-classroom/teacher-resources/

 

 

WEB 2.0 TOOLS FOR INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION


Please note: The following tools have varying levels of privacy. Schools and teachers are advised to take care when using any tools or software, whether web-based or computer-installed. Use of email addresses may be given to third-party services depending on the Privacy Policy of the organization which offers the tool. Read each website’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service carefully to ensure that your and your students’ privacy is appropriately protected. Also, please note that many web-based tools have privacy restrictions enabled because of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which limits the collection of information children under age 13 and what they may share online. Please consider carefully how you and your students will share personal information.

ProGrowing

This wiki is a growing compilation of resources for teachers and students to connect.  It offers tips not only on how to build your own Personal Learning Network (PLN) or Professional Learning Community (PLC), but also tutorials and lists of tools useful for doing so.

Which tool to use?

Wiki or blog? Twitter or Skype?  Web forum or instant message?  Finding and using the right tool for the learning task is fundamental to any collaborative project.  Learn about Choosing The Right Tool for the Task.

Below are categories of common Web 2.0 tools and resources for collaboration. Each tool is described briefly to aid your decision in which to use.  Please note that several tools accomplish many goals at once, or do not fit neatly into any category. Find out detailed information to inform your choice by visiting individual links.

BLOGGING

 

BloggerBlogger

Blogger is a Google application that allows you to create your own weblog (blog), which is one way for you and your students to build and share content with each other. You can customize your template, and then create content in the form of text, video, images, audio, or some combination. All that is required is a Google Account, making this an option for you and your students who are over age 13. Take the tour to learn more, or view the video tutorial.

Edublogs

Edublogs offers several options to get you and your students of all ages blogging. Create and manage blogs, customize your blog’s look, and include various kinds of media in your posts. Sign up for a free account for you or your students, or pay a minimal fee for a Pro account which includes extended features and the ability to add up to 50 student accounts, too. Edublogs Campus is for school or district solutions. Compare all three options and decide.

KidBlog

Kidblog is specifically for elementary and middle school teachers and students who want to blog in a safe and secure environment. Users under age 13 are permitted to have blogs set up for them by a parent or guardian. Simple interface designs allow for teacher monitoring of a group of class blogs. Signup is simple and free.

Posterous

Posterous is another very simple and free blogging platform, requiring as little as just an email account. Advanced customization is available too, but at its most basic, Posterous is a place to post a blog simply.  Sign up is not needed –  begin by emailing your first post. Attach photos, links, video, and more, and Posterous will format it for you.  Available for users age 13 and up.

WordPress

WordPress has two options to create your own blog. If you simply want a free place to start blogging online, Wordpress.com will host your blog for you and gives you several options for themes and add-ons (called plugins). Wordpress.com is the easiest way to get started for beginners over age 13; it also has a thorough guide to getting started. The second option, Wordpress.org, offers free and open-source software to download if interested in hosting your own blog on a domain (at a fee). Options are also available for schools or districts to install Wordpress software and create a network of sites.

 

DOCUMENT SHARING

Google Documents

Google Documents allow users to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online, and share with others as viewers or editors.  Create from scratch, use given templates, or upload your own word-processed file in most formats. Most word-processing functionality is supported and documents can be organized and labeled. Sharing and collaborating on documents in real-time is a major feature of Google Docs. Take the tour or view this simple video (Google Docs in Plain English) to learn more. Note: use of Google Documents requires a Google Account, available free to users over age 13 or users in schools which have Google Apps Education Edition (free for K-12 institutions).

 

PRESENTATION TOOLS

Glogster

Glogster allows students and teachers to create and express knowledge and skills with online multimedia posters. These “glogs” can include text, photos, videos, graphics, audio, and more. The interface is simple to use and involves a visual drag-and-drop platform for creating and sharing. Glogster EDU is an online learning tool specifically for classrooms. EDU premium includes all features while EDU basic is free and has limited features. At the time of writing, individual “glogs” can not be collaboratively created, but these visual representations can be shared after creation. Check out their lists of features and benefits.

Prezi

Prezi is a presentation tool that allows your content to be developed and communicated on a “canvas” rather than slides. This format allows for multimedia embedding, zooming, tilting, and many other functions. A short introduction video for educators, created by Technology for Learners and Teachers (T4LT), demonstrates its main features. A free Prezi account allows for most functionality, but if you have an *.edu email address, you can qualify for an EDU license, which allows for more features. A recent addition, Prezi Meeting, allows for up to 10 people to work together in real-time to create or present Prezis. Additional resources for using Prezi in for collaborative or project-based learning can be found on the Prezi blog.

VoiceThread

VoiceThread is a web-based tool allowing an easy way to have a group conversation around various embedded media. A single VoiceThread holds documents, images, and video in different slides, allowing for contributors to navigate through the media and leave comments on them. Comments can be added in different ways, via voice recording, text, audio file, video, or telephone. Users can draw or doodle on the slides, decide which comments are shown, and use different identities. VoiceThreads can also be shared with others, be embedded on websites,  or exported to MP3 files or DVDs. Several different VoiceThread product options are available for K-12 educators. A single VoiceThread educator account is free, but with limited options. Subscriptions are also available for classes, schools, and districts; even Higher Ed accounts are available. The following resources will help get you started using this tool for international collaboration:

  • Start with VoiceThread’s own guide to Getting Started in the Classroom, a PDF available for download at the bottom of this page. VoiceThread also has a substantial support section for educators including manuals and a forum. Once you register for a regular VoiceThread account, you may sign up for an Educator account.
  • The VoiceThread for Education wiki has developed into a comprehensive collection of VoiceThread examples from teachers using the tool in their classrooms.
  •  

VIDEO-CONFERENCING AND INSTANT-MESSAGING

ooVooooVoo

ooVoo’s platform allows for video chats and calls with any number of people, depending on the subscription plan. Two-way video chat is free. Other options are available via subscriptions or pay-per-use. Paid options have more features, including desktop sharing and the ability to record calls. The free version is ad-supported. Compare options here.

SkypeSkype

Skype can be a powerful communication tool for international collaboration. Unlike most other Web 2.0 platforms mentioned here, Skype is free downloadable software which goes onto your computer’s hard drive. After choosing a username (Skype name) and setting up your profile, add contacts via their Skype names.  Instant message (chat) with other Skype users, or call them and talk with either voice alone or with voice and webcam, and share desktop views, turning Skype into a video-conferencing tool. Skype addresses its use in education on their blog, but also worth exploring are the following specific resources:

TokBox

Tokbox is a free online communication tool that consists of both instant-messaging and video conferencing features. Unlike Skype, it is a web-based platform, meaning there is no need to download any software. You must first register a TokBox account, but then you may import contacts from GMail/GTalk, AIM, Yahoo, or MSN. Once connected, you can do live video chats (similar to Skype), send video messages, or simple instant-messages. Video Chats can have up to 20 participants and offer the possibility of sharing media such as YouTube videos, Flickr and Picasa photos. For more features, Video Meeting or Video Conferences are available for a subscription fee. Compare features for different products here.  A comprehensive overview of its features can be found in this post and accompanying video.

 

VIRTUAL CLASSROOM PLATFORMS

Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate)

Blackboard Collaborate offers a suite of products and services (most requiring fees) to make collaborative online teaching and learning accessible and simple. The Elluminate Learning Suite includes several separate products for online session content – organizing, delivering, and interacting. Elluminate vSpaces includes the flagship ElluminateLive, an interactive virtual classroom, plus additional meeting rooms. Elluminate VCS is a desktop application specifically for videoconferencing. An option to add teleconferencing to almost any ElluminateLive session is also available. Another part of Elluminate is their social network community for teachers and learners, LearnCentral.

WizIQWiZiQ

WiZiQ is a web-based platform for teaching and learning. Teachers and students use WiZiQ for its virtual classroom, to create and share online educational content and tests, and to connect with persons having similar subject interests. WiZiQ is free, making it an  option for individual teachers and their classrooms. All classes used on WiZiQ are automatically recorded for later revisiting or reference.

 

WEBSITE AND SOCIAL NETWORK BUILDING

BuddyPress

BuddyPress, built on a platform similar to WordPress (blogging software), is free open-source software which allows users to create a custom-built social network similar to a blog platform. It could be used campus-wide, or just for you and your students in a classroom. It has a range of features you choose to implement and therefore is customizable. Find out more about requirements here.

Collaborize classroomCollaborize Classroom

Collaborize Classroom is an education-specific online platform and part of the bigger Collaborize (by Democrasoft). Collaborize Classroom allows communication via an online platform with voting, polling, and other decision-making tools. Communication via this platform is given more structure than email or forum posts, and is aimed to encourage student participation and engagement. At the time of writing, Collaborize Classroom was free, but is likely to be available to classrooms and schools on a fee basis. Free teacher resources are also available, offering advice and lesson plans on how to communicate in online spaces, etiquette, and more.

Edmodo

Edmodo is a free and secure social network platform for teachers, students, schools, and districts. Students and teachers can share files, documents, and assignments. Other applications include calendars, instant messaging, and polls. Mobile access is also available. Take the tour on the homepage or view the guide.

Elgg

Elgg provides educators with three options for creating a social network for learning. Those who are familiar with programming can download the free and open-source code and create their own networks. A managed option allows teachers to create their own social network but lets Elgg staff take care of technical work; this option has various pricing packages. Lastly, Elgg Campus is for schools or districts looking for a more tailored social network.

Google sitesGoogle Sites

Google Sites make it very easy for users to create and share a simple webpage. Start from scratch and build your own, or use one of many templates available. See an overview here and discover new tips and tricks by following the Google Docs and Sites blog. Again, use of Google Sites requires a free Google Account (for those age 13 and over) or access in a school that uses Google Apps Education Edition.

Ning.com

Ning is an online platform tool which allows you to build your own social network site. Use Ning’s tools to design and build a space for you and your students to get organized, learn, and inspire. Ning offers several different pricing plans, but Ning for education is sponsored by Pearson and applies only to Ning Mini plans. Sign up here after creating your educational network.

Weebly

Weebly is another simple website-creation platform which does not require any technical background. Weebly is free and features drop-and-drag editing. Customize your visual theme or create your own. Weebly is also ad-free and offers a special account for educators, a potential solution to creating class website with student accounts. Options are also available to bring Weebly to your school or district.

Wiggio

Wiggio is an online communication platform with a variety of tools for group collaboration. Included are tools for group email, text messages, voice, calendars, and meeting rooms. File-sharing is also included as are some project management options such as task lists and polls. Wiggio is free. See more about features on its website.

 

WIKIS

PBworks

PBworks for Education is a basic content management system in the form of a wiki, which PBWorks describes as a collaborative learning environment. Create a class website, online workspace, or student sharing portfolios using templates, plugins, and more. Sites can be as private or as public as you wish. PBworks for classrooms offers a free basic edition, a Classroom Edition (for $99/year), and a Campus Edition for school-wide implementation. Check out the full list of features here.

Wikispaces

Wikispaces allows you and your students to collaboratively create your own wiki-based site using a visual page editor. Add text, images, widgets, files, and hyperlinks to other pages. It is easy to create links between pages of your own site or those that link to other sites. Each page has a discussion forum as well. Page histories make revisions to the wiki very simple – go back in time to view a different version as needed.  Keep track using RSS or email updates.  Customize the theme and make the wiki as private or as public as necessary. Educators get a free premium account, which are ad-free and allow for additional customization. Their “Private Label” paid service allows schools or districts to have their own customized collaborative learning space, which is a Wikispaces platform separate from the Wikispaces community. To learn more about Wikispaces features, a tour is available.

 

OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS

HootCourse

HootCourse uses current social media (Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, and more) to create a real-time interactive space for a virtual classroom. It can be integrated into current classroom activities, or added as something separate. Classroom mode allows real-time tweets to be projected on a screen. HootCourse can also be easily embedded into other social media platforms. HootCourse is free for educators. Learn more on the About page.

TwitterTwitter

Twitter is a free micro-blogging and communication tool that can be used in various ways. Some use Twitter to disseminate information, many use it as a way of having conversations and tracking those conversations, and others use it for back-channel discussions in larger groups. There are many ways to use Twitter for various purposes. In a classroom context, here are some of the Twitter resources you might find most helpful to support you and your students in collaborative, project-based learning:

 

A NOTE ABOUT COPYRIGHT


The ethical use of materials for teaching and learning is important. When working and sharing together collaboratively online, it is important to know how and when to use and cite sources. The Media Education Lab offers a code of best practices and several resources for Fair Use in digital learning. The book Copyright Clarity: How Fair Use Supports Digital Learning by Renee Hobbs is also a valuable resource in determining how to use digital media as you do more with creative and collaborative work with your students. iEARN-USA also has several resources and guidelines for copyright and Fair Use.

 

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES


iEARN USAiEARN-USA

iEARN-USA offers many professional development opportunities for educators looking to expand their knowledge of and experience with global collaboration. Learn how to be involved in and facilitate global online collaborative projects with your students, align projects with curriculum standards, and more. Face-to-face as well as online workshops are offered for individuals, schools, and districts. Monthly webinars on various topics are another way to get started with iEARN. Further, iEARN-USA has partnerships with several local, state, and national education offices.

Organization of American StatesOrganization of American States (OAS)

The OAS has created the “Inter-American Teacher Education Network (ITEN) as a way of encouraging collaboration between teacher educators in North and South America and the Caribbean.  ITEN offers online professional development for faculty on how to integrate collaborative Web 2.0 tools in their pre-service courses.

OxfamOxfam Education

This UK nonprofit offers several resources for continued professional development in the area of global citizenship. Browse by issue, or look at a whole-school approach. Visit the site for more resources.

PIERP.I.E.R. – Professional International Education Resources

Professional International Education Resources - PIER - provides people working in international education with an extensive collection of resources relating to international education, including references and research reports.  PIER offers practitioners in international education an opportunity to improve their professional competence through an accredited suite of qualifications, including the Diploma of International Education Services and the Education Agent Training Course (EATC). The Diploma has been offered since July 2006 through RPL assessment and flexible delivery.  Practitioners at all levels of an organization and across all educational sectors will find PIER courses and materials valuable in their daily work.  The organization is based in Australia.

Primary SourcePrimary Source

Primary Source works to promote history and humanities education by connecting educators to people and cultures worldwide. Its mission is to do so via curriculum resources, learning opportunities, and other global content. It offers several professional development programs for teachers aiming to broaden their global education context. These programs are offered by seminar, summer institutes, or study tours.

Schools Around the WorldSchools Around the World (SAW) Programs

This network is a participatory professional development program of the Council for Basic Education and is an international collaboration of teachers dedicated to learning and assessment in Science and Mathematics. Teachers reflect on their own teaching practice by looking at real student work from the nine participating nations. In the United States, Schools Around the World works through a combination of both in school workshops and online seminars.

 

Tips & Suggestions

teachers talkingThis page includes several practical suggestions and tips from many different educators to help you and your students as they connect with their peers in projects across the globe.

WHAT'S HERE:

  Top 10 Tips for International Online Collaboration

  FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  Suggestions and Testimonials from Educators

 

TOP 10 TIPS FOR INTERNATIONAL ONLINE COLLABORATION


  1. Do not assume that other students will know if you are male or female by your first name. If you want them to know that you are male or female, tell them.
  2. Almost all other countries use the metric system for measurement. A temperature of 30 degrees may seem cold to you but warm to your partners. (30 degrees Celsius is 86 degrees Fahrenheit.) Convert your measurements to metric in your communication. Most often the other student will have to translate the rest of your communication into their first language. Science Made Simple has a metric converter that is easy to use.
  3. If you use slang or colloquial expressions be sure to explain what they mean.
  4. Remember how tedious it is to look up words in a dictionary. Use simple English words. Consider how phrases are translated literally. Can you imagine what someone would think if you wrote you had dirty blond hair?
  5. Explain abbreviations when you use them.
  6. Remember that most of the world uses a 24 hour clock. Three in the afternoon would be written 15:00. (You add 12 to the number for the P.M. hours)
  7. Most other countries will write dates with the day, month, year (e.g. 21/09/2010) or even year, day, month (e.g. 2010/21/09) rather than our system of writing month, day, year (e.g. 09/21/2010). Write out the name of the month to avoid confusion (e.g., September 21, 2010).
  8. In written communication, remember the reader cannot see your face. Humor may often be interpreted literally and misunderstood. Use emoticons (smiley faces and other symbols) and punctuation such as asterisks to make emphasis. Be certain to state your emotions, do not assume they are known.
  9. Much of the world learns British English language rather than US English. Words such as centre or colour may look misspelled but are correct for them.
  10. Avoid using season names (spring, summer, etc.) as they are often not at the same time of the year in other hemispheres. Instead use month names (June, August, etc.)

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)


Here are some commonly asked questions, concerns, and possible answers about international collaborative project-based learning. Use these to troubleshoot issues you may encounter as you begin implementing and participating in these kinds of projects.

Q: What if my school does not allow individual email accounts?

A: If students do not have individual email accounts in your school, there are several potential alternative approaches:

Q: My district uses Internet protection software that prohibits some free email sites because they also include chat rooms. Also, our students do not have email addresses for school as do the teachers. Besides Yahoo, Hotmail, and GMail, how else can students get free email accounts to use for school?

A: Secure email outside of commercial sites is possible.

Q: How are learning partners assigned?

A: Exchanges can take different forms. Students can write informally via blogs, web forums, or emails to exchange information on a range of topics, or perhaps your project will have them participate in a structured exchange in which they share specific information. This will vary from project to project and is largely dependent on the type of project and the end goal or product. In the initial stages of the exchange it is helpful to do a mini-unit about the location and culture of the other country.  You are encouraged to instruct students on how to introduce themselves. Students should be coached about "Netiquette" and security issues, and asked not to release last names, addresses, or phone numbers. You might wish to use a Buddy Contract (pdf) with your students to ensure they understand the importance of respectful communication. Additionally, a peer review system ensures each piece of communication is reviewed before being published.

Q: What are the pitfalls of international collaborative projects?

A: Projects can have drawbacks, but if you are aware of them and plan appropriately, they often can be remedied.

Q: I have heard some discouraging stories about the completion rate of projects. What kind of maintenance is advised to make international collaborations successful?

A: The right approach can go a long way in an international collaboration. The main factors have to do with timelines, communication, and enthusiasm.

In this regard, the most difficult projects are those between just two schools. Remember, if one school cannot participate for any reason in a one-on-one partnership, neither school can continue. Joining a group project minimizes such difficulties.

Q: When is a collaboration project not a good idea?

A: A few circumstances may indicate that a collaboration is not appropriate for you and your students.

Q. What if I feel uncomfortable using email on a regular basis with no monitoring of messages?

A: It's appropriate for you as the teacher to review and monitor the writing since this is a school assignment. Some collaborative platforms (e.g., iEARN forums, blogging software, Nings) enable a teacher to click on a student’s name and review all posts written by that student.

Q: How should collaborative projects be graded?

A: There are several ways to assess collaborative projects, and this is largely dependent on the kind of project it is, the age group, and/or the subject area.

Regardless of how you choose to assess students’ work, it helps to provide a rubric to inform students in advance of the expectations as part of the evaluation process.

Q: I teach over 700 students a year and I do not want to set up 700 e-mail accounts. I could choose one grade level which would be approximately 230 students, but this still seems unmanageable. How can I approach this?

A: Options to consider are Classroom to Classroom projects and Classroom to Expert projects. These are especially good activities when the objective is to provide a larger information base to draw from a broader set of ideas and opinions. Students from all over the world are frequently involved in short term process-oriented data collection and data sharing projects. These work especially well in science, social studies, language arts, and math curriculum areas.

Q: My school district has a very strict policy concerning the posting of pictures and information about our students on the internet. Is there a way to ensure that the conference connection is secure and free from potential hackers, predators, or people who shouldn't be there?

A: Your school district's policy is a prudent one. Schools and teachers are encouraged to investigate their own jurisdictional permission policies necessary for students to submit photos, student work, or intellectual property in a public forum such as a website. Many school jurisdictions require expressed consent from parents or guardians before this can happen. By publishing such materials, teachers are certifying that they are adhering to these relevant policies before encouraging students to become involved in a project. Many school districts will not allow a child's face and name to be displayed on a school Web page. The issue is that since the school's address is available on the site it is remotely possible for a predator to contact the child outside of school. In some countries, government regulations forbid all children’s pictures and names on web pages. It is possible to use a photo "smudge" tool that blurs a face in a close-up (free online tools for this are Picnik and Aviary’s image tool). Another idea is to use group photos and make the picture so small that one cannot see the children’s faces. A further suggestion is to use a service such as one of those identified in Chapter Two under International Collaboration and Exchange, which have private discussion forums accessible only by students and teachers. Check with your school’s appropriate use and permission policy before publishing any student information on the internet.

Q: What happens when a project has too many participants? How can we make certain that we do not wind up with far more participants than we can handle? How do I decide who to accept and who to eliminate?

A: The ideal number of project participants depends on the structure of the project.  In some projects, it is  ideal to have as many participants as possible.  In others, particularly those that involve matching or grouping of classes, a set number is needed.  When you send out a proposal for a project, it helps to explain how registration in the project will work, and to indicate if there is a limit to the number of classes that can be accommodated.  If you get more classes than you can accommodate, thank them for their interest, and explain that all slots are filled. Offer to keep their email addresses for any future projects you or your colleagues might create.

Q: To what extent should a teacher who is conducting a project put his/her students in charge of operations? Which elements can be student-managed, and which are the ones that MUST be managed by the teacher?

A: If the class is a responsible one, and the children are mature, it is great to assign tasks. A rubric which designates tasks at the beginning of the project would be helpful in this situation. A few examples of tasks might include: download and print out e-mail messages, file and record messages, respond to messages, etc. If there is a need for digital photos or video, students can be trained to do this task: edit the photos or video, size them for email, upload to forum, etc. If there is data collection outside of school (e.g. water temperature, recycling information, etc.) the students can handle the task and enter recordings on a spreadsheet. These tasks need teacher supervision, but can be done by students.

teachers showing side by sides

SUGGESTIONS


The following suggestions were offered by educators experienced with international collaborative projects. They have offered this advice to teachers beginning a global project for the first time:

students working

 

TESTIMONIALS


The following are quotes from teachers who have seen international collaborative projects work well with their students. They share these benefits of doing these kinds of projects with your students:

Advice & Testimonials From Educators

  ADVICE

The following suggestions were offered by educators experienced with international collaborative projects. They have offered this advice to teachers beginning a global project for the first time:

 

  TESTIMONIALS

Video conferenceThe following are quotes from teachers who have seen international collaborative projects work well with their students. They share these benefits of doing these kinds of projects with your students:

 

Credits and Acknowledgements

In addition to the sources cited on the pages in this Teachers Guide, we would like to thank the following individuals for helping create this Guide:

In addition, many educators submitted their advice and projects for possible inclusion in this Guide and others provided valuable feedback on it prior to publication. It has not been possible to include all the project suggestions and we request the understanding of these educators.

Resource Credits: