Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tech Tool Tuesday: Global Projects

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  Let me start by addressing teachers in North Carolina.  My friend Darcy Grimes is NC's Teacher of the Year for 2012-2013.  She is an incredible third grade teacher from Watauga County.  During the upcoming school year she will be blogging about her experiences in this role.  Be sure to follow her here.  She is a voice for all of us!

My Tech Tool Tuesday spotlight is on global projects resources.  Earlier today I had to do a presentation on this topic for my district's annual Summer Institute (two days devoted to staff development with technology).  I was asked to share some resources for helping teachers make connections with classrooms around the country and around the world.  Here were some of the project sites that we shared:

1.  Flat Classroom Projects:  This group of projects, created by Vicki Davis  and Julie Lindsay, is based on the premise of Thomas Friedman's book The World is Flat.  Many forces have contributed to the "flattening" of our modern world, the biggest one being all of the developments in technology.  Vicki and Julie have created several large-scale projects for many different age groups.  Last year I had the privilege of participating in "A Week in the Life," where my students collaborated with classrooms from the US, Canada, Poland, and China.  We collaborated to create VoiceThreads and other presentations to examine some of the similarities and differences between our lives.  Topics covered included clothing, food and celebrations, school time, environment, housing and transportation, and leisure time.  It was a very big project, but it really opened our eyes to what life is like in different parts of the world.

2.  Skype in the Classroom:  Teachers who have project ideas or are looking for classrooms to connect through Skype should check this out!  There are many fun project ideas such as Mystery Skype (you Skype with a group and figure out their location based on clues), Weather at Your Location, and Skype Book Clubs.  This is a great place to find ideas for projects or connect with others.

3.  Similar to Skype in the classroom, this site has the option of choosing a project to join or to suggest your own.  The nice part of this collection is that it uses a variety of technology besides Skype.  Their goal is to connect students around the world!

4.  E-Pals:  Years ago, e-pals was started as a way to connect classrooms by having digital pen pals.  Today's E-Pals is a database of projects in addition to schools looking to make connections.  If you haven't been to E-Pals in a few years, be sure to go and check it out!

5.  Flat Stanley:  Do you remember Flat Stanley?  Students would create  flat versions of themselves, mail them out, and hope to hear something back from the receiver.  Today's Flat Stanley is a collection of project ideas to connect students around the globe.  Now you can blog about Stanley's travels to be more involved in his adventures. 

6.  Projects by Jen:  I learned about this collection of PreK-6 projects from a colleague.  There are a lot of fun project ideas including a Christmas card exchange, an Oreo data collection project, and a new one that has students collaborating as they study Louis and Clark and learn about the Louisiana Purchase.  These are a fun set of projects for young students!

I would love to hear about other projects that you have done in order to help your students gain global awareness and connect with others!


Alison Hislop said...

If anyone is wanting, my class would love to participate in Flat Stanley adventures!

We live in Victoria, Australia!


Sarah McMurrough said...

I have been looking for something like e-pals! Do you know if kids have to have their own email addresses, or would all the communication take place through the site?


Write On, Fourth Grade!

The Hip Teacher said...

It has been a few years since I have used e-pals, but I'm pretty sure everything went through the site. My district does not assign e-mail addresses to students. There was no "direct" communication from student to student-they had an assigned pal, but all communication went through the teachers for approval before going to the students. It's better to be safe!

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