Technology can transform classrooms, helping students and teachers think and interact beyond their school walls. Thanks to the internet, students are no longer limited to the physical books and supplies found in their schools, and thanks to web-based communication tools, they can collaborate with students and teachers from across the country, and indeed across the globe. First, I'll write about about why global collaboration can be an exciting way to open up unique learning opportunities for your students, and then I'll write about how you can use Edorble to set up some global, collaborative learning environments. Although the emphasis here is on "global", this post may also be relevant to teachers interested in any kind of remote collaboration with another class.
"Global education" and "global collaboration" are indeed buzzy terms right now in the education world, and we think for good reason. Here's why:
Globally Aware Citizens: Having students interact with students from other states, countries, countries, and cultures can expose them to new perspectives, ideas, and personalities. This can broaden horizons and make people more aware of the vast diversity across the world. Global collaboration can cultivate worldliness, curiosity, and cross-cultural empathy.
A Shrinking World: Our world is increasingly a global one, and being able to collaborate with people from other countries and backgrounds is a valuable skill no matter what careers students pursue. We know this firsthand at Edorble - we are a team with members in the United States, Belgium, and Russia.
Fun: Interacting with other students from around the globe can be fun and motivating. I've had experience doing global collaboration in the social studies classroom, and I never saw my students more eager to participate than when they were writing letters for a pen-pal program with a class from Germany. Hundreds of teachers can attest to how powerful these interactions can be.
A few popular scenarios:
- Social studies teachers from different countries have their students from different countries communicate in order to learn more about their respective cultures.
-Foreign language teachers have their students meet online to practice languages. So, an English teacher in France might link up with a French teacher in California and have their students do role-playing scenarios, give lessons to each other, or simply have friendly conversations in French and English. For some lesson ideas, see edorble.com/lessons.
-Literature students meet to read and discuss literature from their respective countries.
The way you structure the activity or experience will require a collaborative effort on the part of the teachers!... have fun with it! Planning these rich interactions requires logistical and pedagogical effort. Take your time, try to model the sort of behavior you'd like to see in your students, and expect the unexpected.
We think Edorble is a neat option to those looking for a unique and easy global collaboration platform. In Edorble, students from across the world can meet, use voice chat to hold conversations, break into small groups, share and discuss content on the web, do role-playing activities, and more. You'll want to claim a world at edorble.com and make sure all participants use the correct world code. We keep lesson ideas here if you're looking for some starting points, and if you have ideas that you'd like to post for other teachers, we'd love to share them in this lesson library.
If the idea of global collaboration appeals to you, but you haven't formed a collaborative relationship with another teacher, you can try sites like epals.com that have directories of teachers interested in global collaboration. You may also be interested in checking out the Global Education Conference. There is also a large community of globally-oriented teachers on tes.com that may be interested in collaborating. We've already had some Edorble users tell us that they're interested in using Edorble for global collaboration, and we'll be building a section of our website that makes it easy for you to discover teachers and students interested in online collaboration through Edorble. If you are in this group, please shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or write us a tweet @edorble with your contact info and a brief description of the kind of interactions you'd like to have. One such Edorbler is Regine, a teacher from France who is setting up an incredibly creative, expansive, and exiting collaborative activity (ask her for details).
Global collaboration rocks. Expand your pedagogical horizons, and the horizons of your students, by fostering educational interactions with people from across the globe. Try out Edorble as a global collaboration platform. Got some ideas for how we can make Edorble better for this purpose? Let us know.