Global Collaborations 102March 29, 2009 at 12:29 pm | Posted in 21st Century, Collaboration, Digital Citizenship, Global Collaboration, Literacy, Professional Development, Resources | 3 Comments
Tags: 1001 Tales, Around the world with 80 Schools, Collaboration, Digiteen, Global e-Learners Connect, Net Gen Ed project, Sounding Board
This is about my latest ideas and reflections as a student in my virtual PD course, Global Collaboration102. I am not taking this course alone, but with my PLN and my “professors” are those I wrote about recently as my inspiration. On our campus, we’ve launched and successfully completed/continued two global collaborations so far, Digiteen, which was led by our pioneer tech teacher Melissa in the Middle School (I had nothing to do with it aside from making the introduction), and a continuing collaboration by ELL teacher Kris with Global e-Learners Connect!.
Stating that there are just 2 “successful” collaborations is not intended as a negative critical comment towards anyone, including myself. I consider these two successful because they are established, ongoing learning activities or completely implemented projects, they motivate students and reflect classroom concepts, skills and student learning. We also have other whole class continuing collaborations we established since the fall. These collaborations are successful to a degree but I feel the need to reflect on how I can help these become a regular, authentic part of the classroom and more meaningful for the students. Perhaps my job title next year should be Global Collaborations Conductor as these projects all can fit easily into the current curriculum and learning 21st Century skills. I would choose “Conductor” over “Coordinator” as I would create long-term plans to make the collaboration more meaningful and also be present each time a related activity was implemented with the class. This would be a better planned and organized co-teaching, co-planning, modeling and support project and I imagine I would eventually see myself happily demoted to the Coordinator.
I plan a continuation of support for the other ongoing collaborations for the remainder of this school year, however this week I will implement 3 new collaborations differently from the others. The idea began when I read invitations on Twitter and blog posts for the Sounding Board which is part of Net Generation Education Project. Students in grades 5-8 were needed and I have a willing team of grade 5 teachers so I ran the idea by them to introduce the project to their students and ask for volunteers to give it a try. After all, it’s a 2-4 hour time commitment and I pointed out to students that when they are in Middle School next year, they can seek out Melissa to participate in one of her collaborations. I ended up with one whole class and a bit more than a handful each in the other 2 classes. I then arranged the times with the teachers and we’ll start and complete the project next week!
So then I thought, why not apply this experience to other elementary collaborations? Here is what I started last week that can continue through the remainder of this school year:
1001Tales with 4th grade volunteers from 3 classes. I have the plans made for the length of the project and Monday morning will introduce it to the students and get volunteers to meet at recess (the weather forecast is not good this week and should work in my favor 🙂 ) for an overview and to start.
Around the World With 80 Schools: For this I plan to introduce the collaboration at a staff meeting and outline what is involved in participating in each video-conference “school visit.” I will seek out teachers each week by visiting personally and posting in the Monday staff newsletter. With the focus on the collaboration as a Lower School project planned and implemented by me, I hope to get more teachers on board to try out the waters. These visits will be celebrated through posting on a bulletin board display with a world map and shown on a slideshow containing audio and video of visits via the LCD monitor in the LS foyer.
Progress is a cycle of reflection, planning and implementation and relies heavily on building trust and positive relationships. How are collaborations (local and global) working in your school?