Global education is all the rage and it's no wonder why. If you haven't had a chance to view the video, Shift Happens, in a while it might be time. Our students need to know how to connect and collaborate with people of various cultures, languages, and life experiences because that is what they will be doing in their future. It is our job to help them. This is not easy though, we have to consider the language barrier, trust teachers we don't even know to hold up their end, and the time zone management issue is enough to stress any teacher out! This post has five simple, effective ways to help flatten the world and open up communications with students around the world.
1. Try Quadblogging. The premise is quite simple. Basically this website will connect you with three other schools around the world. One class posts an original comment each week while the other three comment. The classes each take turns posting an original post. This can last for as short as one month or teachers can choose to extend this. Just click on the link and sign up.
2. Check out the Flat Classroom Project. It is basically ready-made projects for classes of any level to collaborate with other classrooms. Kids can even "outsource" part of their project for a real life experience. This project does cost money (around $50-60 per class) and requires about one hour each week for the project's duration.
3. Mystery Skype is an awesome version of 20 questions where students Skype with other students to try to figure out where they are from. Teachers can take time before the lessons to review Skype Etiquette with students. Then they take turns asking each other questions, giving clues about climate and weather, discussing current events, researching and so much more until students have discovered the mystery location. It would be so awesome to set this up as a once a month classroom event to learn social studies and researching standards.
4. Become a member of Global Collaborations or join Skype for Educators and post your own project idea that aligns to your standards. Ask other teachers from around the world to join your project and show your students how to make a real difference.
5. Use epals to connect your students with an electronic pen pal. Students can do projects together, blog about books, and even work on a community service idea. The challenge with this tip is that you will want back up classrooms or a buddy system in case some of your students don't hear back from their pen pal.
How do you promote global connections in your classroom?