"True global collaboration in the classroom needs a shift in teaching that allows teachers and students to 'flatten' the learning experience to bring the outside world in and put themselves out there; to build bridges for global empathy and create workable structures where all participants can learn with and not just from each other." Lindsay, 2014
Global collaboration for learning is a valued and established element of the connected classroom. It has undergone many different changes as technology and mindsets have changed. From the work of Lindsay and Davis (2012) the contemporary global collaborative learning experience features:
Professional Learning: Global collaboration across the curriculum toolkit
Awareness of how to design and participate in a successful and meaningful global collaborative project has evolved. Asia Education Australia has compiled a comprehensive toolkit for teachers to understand the benefits and outcomes of global collaboration alongside a range of resources and advice on the design of quality global learning activities.
Video: How can schools get involved in DeforestACTION?
DeforestACTION is a collaborative effort that initially involved 12 schools but has expanded to a global movement to tackle the issue of deforestation. Dallas Brooks Community School and Silverton Primary are two Victorian school highly involved in this work.
Join: Global Projects
There are many global projects that connect teachers and students across the world. Below are some of the more established ones that teachers may like to investigate further.
- Australia and Asia BRIDGE School Partnerships Project connects Australian teachers and students with peers in Indonesia, South Korea, China, Thailand and Malaysia.
- The Global Classroom Project 2014-2015 is a teacher-driven collection of educators who connect and create global project opportunities.
- Global Education Conference is a global community based around the annual online and free conference of the same name. Also offers ongoing interaction and connection with educators for project partners and more. Review the Getting Started with the GEC Network.
- TakingITGlobal provides many opportunities for collaboration through a very large global membership.
- World Museum Project is a network of people interested in collaborating across cultural and generational boundaries, to create something meaningful for everyone involved.
- iEARN is the International Education and Resource Network for global 'Learning circles' and partners.
- ePals offers possible partners a structure to help implement global curriculum.
- Education Skype is a useful resource to support classroom Skypes.
- Flat Connections - Global Projects provides solutions to schools, educators, and many others anywhere to provide global learning opportunities through collaborative projects, live events and professional development.
- ISTE Global Collaboration PLN is an online network with many public resources, including the ISTE Global Collaboration Resource Spreadsheet openly available for contributions.
Join Travelbugs to engage with Web 2.0 technologies to investigate other countries and cultures and participate in collaborative activities with peers. Travelbugs is a social learning network and as such all activities facilitate and encourage students to connect, communicate, and collaborate.
Explore the resources on the website.
Consider the following:
- What existing relationships does your school have with schools overseas?
- How is collaboration being facilitated between the two schools?
- What tools are being used?
- Could Travelbugs assist in collaboration with other schools?
- If your school doesn't hold a relationship with another school, is this something that could be considered?
Read: Digital tools to connect local schools
Access the article at Edutopia: Digital tools to connect local schools
As part of an increased emphasis on technology integration, as well as our mixed device program, Hartford School District has started using some tools to facilitate connections and collaboration between classrooms.
Explore the tools presented in this article.
Consider the following:
- Which of these tools are you already using?
- Which tools could be utilised in your classroom?
- How could you use these tools in your classroom to enhance collaboration?
- What challenges might this present?
- How could you overcome these challenges?
Tools: Social Media
Social Media: Twitter
Here are some of the specific ways educators are using Twitter to collaborate
- edcamps are "unconferences" for educators that are mostly promoted through Twitter and organized by people who've met on Twitter. Interested in checking out an edcamp? Use this wiki to view an edcamp near you.
- Twitter chats: There are currently over 150 Twitter chats on education-related topics. From New Teacher Chat (#ntchat) to Connected Principals Chat (#cpchat), there's really a chat for everything in education. Check out this post on Twitter chats in education.
- Hashtags: A great way to connect with ideas and other people with similar interests in education. Some popular education hashtags in Victoria include:
#vicpln: for teachers in Victoria, Australia
#edtech: anyone interested in educational technology
#elearning: anyone interested in elearning
#NPDL: New Pedagogies for Deep Learning
Social Media: Pinterest
Educators are using Pinterest to curate and collaborate.
- TeachThought has identified 25 great Pinterest boards for educators to get started.
Tools: Collaborative Documents and Spaces
Collaborative documents are documents that you can create and store online, using web-based software. You can access and edit these documents from anywhere with internet connectivity, and invite others to access them and make their own contributions. Collaborative can be shared in real-time so groups can collaborate simultaneously.
Collaborative spaces are virtual spaces where people meet, discuss and collaborate on projects, tasks or ideas. The collaborative nature of online tools such as email, shared calendaring, blogs and wikis make it easier than ever to connect with others and work towards a common goal. As web 2.0 tools increase in complexity, new collaborative possibilities open up.
Find further information and classroom ideas can be found in the Digital Deck.
Do you use collaborate documents or spaces in your teaching?
Consider the following:
- How could these applications and tools be used to facilitate collaborative learning experiences?
- What considerations would need to be made in managing the classroom for groups, independent work, and spaces?