Global collaboration in a Web2.0 world

This post is in response to a request by Sue Waters “Can you help me demonstrate global collaboration in a web2.0 world.?” The questions are stated and my responses shown below each question.

What are some of the global collaboration projects you have been involved with? Can you include the approximate grade/year level of your students? 

 My classes have been involved in many, many global projects so I will name a few:-

 Why did you become involved in these projects and what were some of the benefits to your students?

Being a firm believer in project based learning, I love using global projects with my students and they also love to work on them. The learning outcomes can be amazing. My school is a small rural school from prep to year 12. They are white Caucasian and have limited social networks. Class sizes are small and often limited to one group at each year level. Now, they have class mates around the world. They work beyond their classroom walls. Risk taking, pushing beyond boundaries, an authentic audience encourages best practise, students want their work to look good, be spelt correctly etc. They learn digital citizenship, cyber safety and many important 21st century skills. It leads to many valuable teachable moments and allows student directed learning. Tolerance, respect for and information about different cultures.

Then Vendee Globe project took our whole school to Antarctica, via discoverE software, to speak with Jean Pennycook and learn of her work with Adele penguins. The flatclassroom project enabled three students and myself to attend the flatclassroomconference in Doha, Qatar in Jan 2009. Read the report.

The benefits to me as a teacher are as for the students, plus it gives me a chance to work with and learn from some of the most amazing educators, who lead in the web2.0 field, in the world.

What were the main web tools used to manage the projects?

The web tools have varied with the projects but include some or all of the following:-

  • Email
  • Google groups for communications and sharing of files
  • Google docs including forms and sheet
  • Wikis
  • Nings for social networking
  • Skype and skype groups
  •  Elluminate for virtual classrooms, staff meetings and staff and student summits
  • DiscoverE for virtual classroom
  • Timebridge for ease in organizing global meetings across the time zones
  • Liveblogging with coveritlive for moderated, safe chat, sharing of photos, music etc 

 What tips/advice would you give others to ensure that these projects run smoothly? 

  • Start with small, short projects
  • Communication is of prime importance
  • Commitment and dedication are essential
  • Get to know the other staff prior to and throughout the project, to gain confidence in each other
  • Do not be frightened to ask for help or ask questions of any nature.
  • Be prepared to work hard (as hard as you may have ever worked in your life) and take risks
  • Work your blogs to the fullest giving step by step instructions to classes where possible for each lesson to clarify the tasks that need to be done in your own mind and also for student reference.
  • Give out check list sheets to ensure that students remain on track
  • Enjoy the journey into the best that 21st century learning can give.

  Also can you recommend projects that you haven’t been involved with but are good examples of collaboration done well?  I would really love some examples from higher education.

 No, I have no knowledge of any tertiary or higher education, even with my involvement in groups on LinkedIn.

4 responses to “Global collaboration in a Web2.0 world

  1. Thanks Anne. I really appreciate your input and as always you have provided such excellent advice. That is an amazing number of projects. I will let you know how I go pulling together the information.

    Can you tell me the approx. year you did each project?

  2. Great information Anne. I work for a 2 year community college in the US, and I, also, have not been able to find good examples of global collaboration in higher education. I have a hard time convincing faculty that it is worth their time to invest in such a project, and I think it would be easier if I had some examples to show them other than K-12 examples. I’ll continue to try though.

  3. This a great primer for any teacher who wants to start collaborating across the globe. I can see that you have even included a web application to help pick times that would be appropriate for others who live in other time zones across Earth. This is fantastic.

  4. Hi Anne,

    Given your interest and success with collaborative projects, I am wondering if you or other teachers at your school would be interested in collaborating with my school on a 7th grade project studying Africa. More details are posted at http://tablettails.blogspot.com/2009/03/interested-in-interschool-middle-school.html

    We are an independent Pk-12 school located in Englewood, New Jersey, USA, right outside of New York City.

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