Monday, November 14, 2016

Reflecting on Global Collaboration Part 1

For the past couple of weeks in my Using Digital and Social Media class, we have been learning about global collaboration (specifically as it relates to potential uses in the classroom). Global collaboration means exactly as it sounds: students from around the world (global) work together to complete a goal (collaboration). In the classroom, this goal usually relates to some learning standard that the teachers want their students to accomplish through the experience; the students may demonstrate their learning through the collaboration itself or the creation of some sort of project.

Because I had not ever personally participated in such an experience myself, I had to learn more about global collaboration in order to properly understand this unit in my class. Per my instructor's suggestion, I started with "Why the World is Flat," an article that discusses the convergence of ideas into one "global, Web-enabled playing field that allows for multiple forms of collaboration without regard to geography or distance." After learning more about what global collaboration looks like in general, I refined my research to investigate how this can actually be implemented in the classroom. EdTech Magazine's Global Collaboration and Learning, ISTE's 7 Steps for Starting a Global Collaboration Project, and MindShift's 5 Ways to Inspire Students through Global Collaboration were all great reads that taught me more about how teachers can actually take the idea of global collaboration and modify it to fit the learning needs of kids of all ages.

Image used with permission from Vicki Nunn on WikiMedia Commons

I would highly recommend glancing through these resources if you're not sure what global collaboration is or what it would look like to use global collaboration in your own classroom! However, there were some important points in these resources that I think are worthy of mention here. First is the idea of a rapidly-changing world. As we all know, technology has greatly expanded our ability to do a variety of things, one of which is connecting with people we never would have otherwise met. Through global collaboration we promote cultural (and other areas of diversity) understanding, awareness of issues affecting the world, patience and tolerance, relationship building, and even problem solving skills. Global collaboration is a very unique learning experience with unique benefits. I also learned that global collaboration requires a ton of work; teachers need to be truly invested (in time and energy) in order to incorporate global collaboration well!

Next, I was excited to explore how teachers had used global collaboration in their classrooms, as well as begin collecting ideas for a project I could incorporate with my own future students. Many global collaboration efforts take advantage of sites that expose the project to more teachers and recruit others to join. For example, TIGed collects projects related to global issues such as education, media, human rights, and world peace. iEARN and Global School Net connect such global issues with discipline areas such as health, math, or economics. There are also sites focused on one larger global collaboration project. For example, Global Read Aloud uses one book each year to connect classrooms across the world that are reading the same book. The 100 Word Challenge is a weekly creative writing prompt (that, you guessed it, has a one hundred word limit) that encourages students to review and critique each other's works. There are many collections of global collaboration projects out there if you'd like to explore more: I'd recommend checking out Pernille Ripp's padletPatti Weeg's list of existing projects, and the resources provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Once I got a sense of the projects that were out there, I started brainstorming about a global collaboration project I'd like to use in my future classroom. Check out my thoughts in my next blog post!

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