As an educator or homeschooler, you’ve probably heard of how using technology in education will benefit your students. How can it be used to connect your students with other children around the world? Classrooms that are thousands of miles away from each other are working on “global collaboration” projects together: sharing their diverse perspectives, teaching each other about their countries and their cultures, and learning how to navigate technology in education settings- all while virtually “meeting” each other. Here are some of my favorite examples of elementary classrooms connecting globally. By no means is this an all-inclusive list; instead, read it and be inspired at the connections these innovative and forward-thinking teachers have made. For many more examples and projects of using technology in education to connect students globally, see chapter 4 of the Global Education Toolkit.
According to a recent article in the Chronicle, titled “U.S. Will Make Broader Global Skills for College Students a New Priority” student should
have certain “21st-century skills” that will enable them to compete in a worldwide marketplace, such as understanding international perspectives and being able to work collaboratively with peers from different cultures and backgrounds.
How can teachers and parents use technology in education to understand these varying perspectives? How can we participate in collaboration projects with our youngest students, where they can begin to absorb cultural nuances, and appreciate the different perspectives from around the world?
Using Technology in Education
These age-appropriate projects are designed to allow kids to work together virtually:
Classroom Blogging Projects
PreK through elementary students can participate in the “Outside my Classroom Window” project. Share what you see when you look outside your classroom window!
Check out this blog with a weekly creative writing challenge. They post the prompt, students post their 100 word, creative piece.
Weather Around the World grades 5-8 connect with students from around the world and share their weather.
Twitter Chats with Children
Kindergarten Around the World is a twitter-based virtual exchange project, allowing young students to experience and explore a way of life different from their own, by building a relationship with a class of similarly-aged children.
The Global Read Aloud Project: read a book that classrooms around the world are also reading! Then discuss on the blog, the wiki, edmodo, twitter, etc.
ChildFund Connect is a global education program that uses multimedia technology to help Australian children connect and learn with their peers in developing countries.
Facilitating Organizations with Project Sign-Ups
iEARN The iEARN Collaboration Centre enables youth to learn with, rather than simply about, the world. Browse student produced media or join interactive curriculum-based groups in which students are creating, researching, sharing opinions, and becoming global citizens. Here are two examples of elementary schools participating in global collaboration projects:
Our #globalclassroom community includes more than 220 K-12 teachers from 32 countries around the world; and is hosting a wide range of primary (elementary), middle, and secondary global projects (organised and run by our participants) – through to June 2012.
Elanguages has a list of projects that teachers can register for, organized by age (starting at the under 5s!).
Classroom pen-pals are a great way to learn firsthand about children’s lives in other countries.
Finally, I recently read an article by Jose Popoff, titled “On International Projects.” Mr Popoff, an experience teacher who has incorporated several global collaboration projects with his high schoolers in Honduras, gives teachers 12 tips to consider when planning an international project. He touches on everything from building a relationship with the partner teacher, to being culturally aware of nuances between the 2 countries.
Am I missing your favorite example of technology in education? Share a link or idea in the comments! This is only a sampling of the 100s of global education ideas highlighted in our book The Global Education Toolkit.
This smart, all-in-one resource provides hundreds of easy, stand-alone activities, resources, and projects to help busy educators:
- Seamlessly integrate global awareness themes into existing K-5 Common Core curriculum
- Recruit parent and community volunteers and organizations
- Use social media for student global collaboration projects
- Plan international events, after-school clubs, and cross-curricular activities
Includes a 12-month timeline, backmapping tips, 50+ ready-to-start projects, and online links.