Two years ago my husband and I were looking forward to our 2 year contract in Shanghai, China. We were ready for an adventure. We wanted to see the world. I have since realized, that my passion is not “Global Traveling” as much as it is “Global Connections.”
I began connecting global 3 years ago with a project called Flat Classroom. The project asked high school students to explore the 11 flatteners from Thomas Friedman’s Book “The World is Flat”. The students were put into groups with other students from around the world to research what the flatteners meant to them. The students used a wiki page to communicate their research. After the research phase the students collaborate with at least one other student to obtain an outsourced video for their video summary of their topic. At the end of the project, students come together virtual to celebrate and reflect on what they learn.
After participating in this project and witnessing the students really understand how the world is changing, I participated again with a new group and also joined the Digiteen project by Flat Classroom. This was for students to understand how they can become good digital citizens. Same teams of students researching information to be entered on a wiki. At the end the students were to take action to help others understand digital citizenship. These projects connected me with many incredible educators. The motto was to share best practices, teach to all students, and help one another. Talk about great 21st Century skills. Learning through doing is the best professional development ever.
After moving to Shanghai, China for a year to teach, it was easy to find schools who wanted to connect with China. Pre-K connected with a class in America to talk about Transportation. The students learned a song and Skyped with the other class to share their learning. 1st Graders exchanged photos of what their neighborhoods looked like from Canada and Australia. 2nd and 5th Graders joined The Writer’s Club to quad blog with other 2nd graders in China and America. 3rd graders participated in A Week in the Life. 4th Graders joined Edmodo to communicate with many different classrooms.
Back to the USA, I am now at an IB/PYP school who is interested in more connections, I have started but I hope to have at least one in each grade level. So far 5th graders have joined The Writer’s Club for blogging, 4th graders have participated in A Week in the Life and 2nd graders have pen pals in Italy. Stay tuned for more connections.