Staff members won a grant to help Clyde Erwin students and their counterparts in Puebla collaborate on a book-authoring and -publishing project. The book was published in both English and Spanish. This type of collaborative learning works to foster cultural understandings as well as global content. Using digital connections to communicate with native speakers, especially other students, is revolutionizing language learning. Students today can easily connect with their peers in another country, practice language skills with native speakers, see classrooms in other nations, and make a human connection with someone across the world.
Use Technology to Develop Global Competence. Investigate the World Digital technologies can help students investigate their world in many classes and curricular areas.
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Implementing Project-Based Learning
As a native Mandarin speaker and a diligent student of English and German, I can't help asking whether machine translation signals the obsolescence of learning a foreign language. A new interactive map, featuring one million data points, shows American schools are preparing students for the past, not the future.
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Skype and Similar Tools Skype www. When used in a group conferencing format, the term skypecast is used.
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Both the sotware and the use of the communication tool is free. Students are expected to be in regular contact with their wiki partner. Skype was used for the Flat Classroom Project but because it is oten blocked by school security a similar tool is now used, Elluminate www. Only when the teacher is fully satisied that no abuse can take place will he or she allow videoconferencing to be used for its twin functions—to host expert speakers and to help maintain regular interactions with fellow students thousands of miles away. In the later stages of the Flat Classroom Project, the Ning functioned similarly to the way the blog worked.
Ning provides educational social networking without ads— avoiding the potential exposure to suggestive ads that typically run in other social networking sites. Flat Classroom teachers are excited about positive student reactions to the Ning. It gets the communication out of private student e-mail accounts, where it cannot be properly supervised, and onto the Ning, which is connected to their e-mail anyway.
So, for example, if we were to substitute having students look at how energy policy will change over the next ten years, and we wanted to connect this to a science project, we might review the standards for a high school science project. It includes announcements and press releases about new projects, international workshops, and other opportunities. It also includes links to all archived or past projects, workshops, and conference material. Here, like-minded teachers, administrators, and supporters can ind each other, propose new projects, and discuss global collaborations. Both educators and students are members of this Ning.
Students in the project use this envi- ronment to blog, interact with their project partners, and post multimedia as part of the project requirements. Educators, supporters, and students can be members. Digiteen runs 3 times per year and also attracts a global set of participants. Students in the project use this Ning to interact with other students and teachers, blog, and post multimedia as needed. We can be no more connected than the willing- ness of those who are connecting.
She prepares her students irst by giving them practice in using a number of the communication tools within the comfort and safety of their own classroom with their own classmates. She recommends irst setting up a classroom Ning and a wiki, so students can practice creating appropriate messages. At this stage, you can also introduce tools such as Skype that can be used to create audiovisual conversations as well as instant messaging. Running classrooms in this way helps the students to be socialized in the new mode of communication, and helps you to learn about potentially troublesome conduct and how to take appropriate action.
Following this, other aspects can be added, such as inviting a guest speaker to your classroom via Skype or another method of videoconferencing. Building a sense of a global audience is accomplished through students being granted permission from their parents to launch a public blog or a large common blog such as Youth Voices ; there students may inter- act with others around a topic they are interested in. Reviews of the Flat Classroom Project and others like it reveal how challenging a collaborative assignment can be.
Creating a Global Classroom
A transition from the Flat Classroom Project with two classrooms connected to the Horizon Project with ten classrooms interconnected was accomplished through an innovative idea: student management of the groups, with project and assistant managers and editors elected for each wiki, and the two teachers acting as facilitators to the other teachers to help make the entire project low appropriately.
The Flat Classroom Project Inspires Others Inspired in part by the example of the Flat Classroom Project, a number of teachers have begun to use wikis to enhance global collaboration. Two of the more notable projects are Mathlincs and Flat World Tales. Mathlincs Mathlincs is a collaborative project for ith- and sixth-grade math students from around the world.
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Students revise their own tales using six criteria ideas, organization, and four others —one each week—and use podcast technology to read their tales to each other. Corporations and educational organizations have built three-dimensional-looking buildings in to assure a secure and sustainable future. Second Life is exciting, but minors are not allowed—there are some X-rated features on the site. In , Global Kids became the irst organization to conduct public programs within the virtual world of Teen Second Life.
One of their projects asks students to role-play a poor family in Haiti www. One teacher, ater playing the game, made the following comment: he game, which is made in cooperation with UNICEF, drives home some pertinent, if sad, facts. Beautiful principles, indeed, but … how realistic? Reports on this initiative are found on the Global Kids blog www. Another activity on Teen Second Life, Race to the Bottom, evoked the following response from one of the students in the virtual classroom: Basically, we were assigned a team of three and a third-world country to represent.
And then we had to decide how much inancial, legal, ethical, and other kinds of incentives we were going to give to a large corporation that was considering moving its labor to a foreign country to increase proits. It features a more expansive international and professional development mission than any other network. It focuses more than any other network on the pedagogies involved in creating collaborative, project-based work and owes more than a debt of gratitude to the work of Freinet, but also to that of Dewey and Kilpatrick.
A typical international project will involve a website set up by facilitators who are trained to help teachers collaborate and share lesson plans. Ater serving in the First World War and sufering a lung injury that prevented him from raising his voice and lacking a college or high school degree, he managed to ind a job teaching in a local rural primary school.
Minimizing the use of his voice led to the creation of a student-centered classroom.
From these beginnings grew a network that extended to 10, schools around the world. Ater one or several revisions, the children print out their texts. Sometimes they assemble these texts to create a Class Journal or School Newspaper. Finally, the students gather their various writings together and send it of to other classes in other cities and towns, across the nation and around the world.
In turn, they are just as excited to read … and re-read … the texts they have received in exchange from their partner classes.