Minecraft, Reddit, YouTube, Fortnite, Twitter…social connectivity is everywhere. Our students are using sites such as these to share, communicate, collaborate and engage in cooperative play. If they are spending their time outside of the classroom connecting with others in the online world, we should also tap into these interests and help students learn to connect more purposefully and productively.
No one can be entirely sure of the jobs that will be created 10 or 20 years from now. However, the skills needed to be successful are certainly changing. Students need to know how to communicate and collaborate effectively, both in person and virtually. Global collaboration doesn’t necessarily mean that students need to be in contact with others from around the globe. For younger students, this may mean collaborating with a neighboring school or even locally. However, many classrooms choose to reach out to others who are not in the same state, region and/or country. This broadens a student’s view of culture, economics, and social awareness, just to name a few. Collaborating toward a common goal helps students realize how different yet similar we all truly are in this world. They not only learn from the experiences of others, but students also learn to respect different opinions and even seek them out.
How can you get started?
There are many websites and activities that make it easy for teachers to get started with global collaboration. Here are some examples:
Global School Play Day. Today’s kids do not grow up playing and this has negatively impacted them in many ways. With this special play day, students must bring toys that do NOT require batteries or electricity.
Teapot Project. This math-related project challenges students to create a box to fit an oddly shaped teapot that will protect the pot as it travels to another country.
Holiday Card Project. This project teaches writing, geography and math skills through the sharing of holiday cards worldwide.
Global Read Aloud. This one kicks off soon (Sept. 30th). The project was created in 2010 with a simple goal in mind; one book to connect the world.
Taking It Global. This online community connects youth to find inspiration, access information, get involved, and take action in their local and global communities. It’s the world’s most popular online community for young people interested in making a difference.
Epals. It is a safe, free collaborative site in which classrooms can participate in projects, email, as a classroom or collaborate with classrooms around the world.
GoOpenMI-MITECS. This page offers resources to address the MITECS in your classroom, including Global Collaboration.
In addition to these specific projects, educators can engage students in online applications such as FlipGrid, Seesaw, Weebly for Education blogs, Blogger, Google Sites, etc. These can be shared with other classrooms to communicate the progress of a common goal or project.
Will there be mistakes and barriers to mitigate? Of course! But (you) and your students will definitely learn from the process. It is important for them to understand how to mitigate any potential barriers since it is a skill they will need moving into the future.
Get ready to make a huge impact on your students’ education through global collaboration! You will be creating an authentic and engaging experience for them that will go beyond any typical group work activity that they have previously encountered.
Author: Carrie Moeggenberg. Carrie is an Instructional Technology Coach at the Ludington Area School District and a Delegate with the MACUL Technology in Education Learning Area. You can follow her on Twitter at @cmoegge1