A recent question, for discussion, was put up on our ISTE Global PLN Connects Site, by April DeGenarro and it read like this
“As a preventative tool, I am trying to create a list of things that every global collaborating teacher should do to work towards a problem-free global collaboration experience. This mostly applies to the teacher-initiated projects where one teacher arranges to work with another teacher(s). What are some of the things you ALWAYS check before and during your projects?
My responses to this were:-
- What is the time frame for the project? (Can it be completed during my school term and school year as we start our Australian school year at the end of Jan and finish in Dec.) Shorter projects are much better to start with.
- What tools will be used – synchronous (will it be in real time) or asynchronous (non real time)? eg We are asleep when most of the USA is at school and our school day starts when US schools are finished, so synchronous connections are tricky.
- How confident are the teachers with the tools? Are they user friendly and free?
- Does my school have access to the tools to be used? ie are they blocked.
- What devices can be used by students – can the tools be used cross platform and devices.
- Age group for the project? I teach secondary but find that my students have more confidence when they work with younger ones eg using flipgrid pals. Therefore, cross age projects can work.
- How frequently will teachers communicate as good communication ensures a successful and completed project?
- Time zone differences (always need to be measured in UTC or GMT). This is one of my greatest challenges
- Test the connections if videoconferencing is to be used prior to a direct linkup.
- What language will be used? Will the tools used allow translation options?
After the project:
Reflect on the project:
- Write a a journal entry, preferably as a blog post (students should do this too)
- Share class reflections on a flipgrid and share with the connecting class. Both classes could contribute to the flipgrid.
- Promote the activity via twitter and facebook and/or other social media channels.
Maintain the teacher to teacher connections.
Seek further ongoing connections to continue the learning.
Although global connections may not be completely trouble free there are things we can do to make them as engaging and powerful as possible.