I am honored to be a part of this large list of Global Voices listed at GettingSmart.com.
Why do I think Global Projects are so important? I believe that the only authentic way to teach our students how to be a responsible global and digital citizenship is to partake in Global Projects. Global Projects allow our students to communicate and collaborate with students from around the world. They need to learn how to communicate with other cultures. They need to know how to make a positive impact on the world. Many teachers do this by discussing these topics, but with technology all students that have access to the Internet can work with others from around the world. If a classroom does not have a lot of technology, the teacher’s computer can be used to connect with classrooms through Skype, Google Hangout or even email. Many classrooms are still using Snail Mail to communicate with others. If teachers are looking for ideas, check out Skype in the Classroom or #edchat and other educational hashtags on Twitter. Teachers should use any available tool they have. Ask for connections via the parent newsletter at your school. Ask family and friends to be guests in the classroom. The world is wide open. Take advantage of technology and connect with the outside world.
As the new Library Technology Educator, I wanted to bring the game of Mystery Location to Fountain Valley School. Mystery Location is a video-conferencing game where two schools connect but the students do not know where the other school is from. With younger students, typically teachers assign jobs such as Google Mapper, Logical Reasoner, Photographer, Clue Keeper, Inquirer, Answer, and runner. With older students, we decided to create teams where one team would do all the jobs and decide on the next question. The students develop Yes/No Questions to ask to determine where the students are. As with researching, students should start with a large idea and ask questions to make the idea smaller. Both teachers attempt to guide the students to narrow their search and not just guess where they are.
During the call, students can use Google Map and Wikipedia to find out what country or state the other school is located. The two classrooms take turns asking and answering questions. Students use their communication and problem-solving skills to find the school. Many of our International students did not know all the geography facts about the US, but as a team, they all were very successful. Mystery Skype is a great way for our students to practice their 21st Century Skills of communication, creativity, critical thinking and collaboration.
Jen Lebo stated: “I loved watching my students come together to solve problems. I saw some students working with Google Maps, while others were discussing possible solutions, or their next questions. Kids were laughing together, working together and having fun! But what I most loved was that they connected with another class in another part of our country, a group of kids significantly younger than they were. And they enjoyed it. They all went over to the computer afterwards and started sharing facts together. It was a great ending. And my students kept asking if we could do it again. Success!”
As of July of this year, I have been employed at Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The school is a boarding and day school for high school students. I was hired as a Library Technology Educator. The Hawley Library is three stories with archives, past periodicals, classroom and storage in the basement. The first floor houses the Reference and Fiction section, the Broadmoor Garden Club library and the magazines and newspapers. There is the Taylor Reading Room on the first floor which includes all the Art books. The second floor has the Non-Fiction section along with the Burling Room which is used for classrooms and tutoring.
At Fountain Valley School it is recommended that all students bring a laptop or other device. Some teachers are using devices in their classes, other teachers are not. We are looking into what it means to be a BYOD (bring your own device) school. Currently the Director of Technology and myself hold “Lunch and Learns” once a week on Wednesdays. We are trying to offer different topics and add in some advertisements for what are new tools that are available for teachers. It is an exciting place to be working and learning.