I love exploring the world of global education and seeing how I can connect my students to people and places beyond the classroom. When I saw that the focus of this week’s assignment was global education projects I of course wanted to introduce one that my buddy Joe Sergi (@pep073) and I started together, Traveling Teddy.
What this project involves is seven early childhood classes in Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, America, India, Singapore, Indonesia, and Australia all taking turns having Teddy visit their classrooms. The objective: teach teddy and share what you’re teaching him with the rest of us!
The first thing I wanted out of this project was to have it become an extension of what was already happening in the classroom, not an ‘add-on’. So, we emphasized that the kids should teach Teddy about what they are currently learning. The other thing I wanted was a way for young learners to have a real hands-on connection (Teddy) to relate with as they learned about places and children around the world. Often, global education limits us because we’re communicating on a screen. As wonderful as it is that we are able to do that now, I am sure that most early childhood educators will agree with me when I say that at this young age, hands-on learning experiences are extremely valuable. In Traveling Teddy, all the children involved get to touch Teddy, play with him, show him around their school and really make a connection. So, with this project I hoped to use a real experience that all the classes share, to help us all make valuable connections with each other.
Classes are blogging to Teddy’s blog using Easy Blog Jr., thanks to @Phillip_Cowell, @dtaylor2008 and @gueben, the guys behind Easy Blog Jr. (by Easy App Co.) who agreed to help us with this project. Easy Blog Jr. makes it really simple for kids to independently post to a WordPress blog. They also have a Blogger version and other very kid friendly apps such as Easy Class Cam, which organizes any photos your students take into their respective folders (I am looking into getting this one for our K’s soon!)
Using Twitter and Skype in this project became optional because some classes tweet while others don’t. As for Skype, it’s use is dependent upon timezones, so both these options were made available by sharing Twitter handles and Skype names with each other but leaving it up to individual teachers as to whether or not they would incoproate the use of these tools or not. So far I have been able to Skype with our class in Saudi Arabia and our hashtag #globaledted continues to have updates on Teddy’s adventures! Currently he’s in transit from New York State to New Delhi!
Kim Cofino’s Step by Step Guide to Global Collaborations helped me to reflect a bit more on this project, what elements we had in place and what we could do to improve it for future years. The main things that I think we should do moving forward is look at the assessment pieces and make them more explicit to the teachers and students involved. We currently are all collaborating on a book together using Book Creator where each class is responsible for 4 pages. I think that if all the teachers involved in the project this year came together afterwards and discussed the specific goals for this task so that it could be shared with the students it would make the creation of this book more meaningful too. I am quite lucky that the teachers involved in the project currently are all so awesome and I look forward to discussing with them how this project can be tweaked and molded into something bigger and better for next school year and years after that!
Global Education Inspiration
Where else do I look for inspiration when it comes to global education? Well I couldn’t write this post without mentioning the amazing projects that happen on #globalclassroom, originally founded by @mgraffin and @Deb_Frazier. You can find information and projects on The Global Classroom Project site. They also run chats on the #globalclassroom tag once a month in three different timezones. I owe @mgraffin and The Global Classroom Project for all the support they have given me when I was starting up #KchatAP (Kindergarten Chat Asia Pacific) . They continue to help support us and promote our chat! A great goup of people here folks with some awesome educational projects happening right now! Check out their site to see what you could get involved in.
Skype in the Classroom is another great place to look for ways to collaborate on anything from #MysterySkype (a guessing game between two classes where they guess the other’s location by asking questions) to a variety of Skype lessons posted by teachers from around the world.
I personally haven’t registered through Skype in the classroom for any projects, however, I have played Mystery Skype before with my kids and other classes around the world (it’s fun!) and we also use Skype for a variety of other projects to share our learning and find out information that could help us further our learning.
Finally, I am always finding ways to connect with other classes and teachers around the world through my Twitter PLN! Very often teachers will Tweet about wanting to connect with another class regarding something they are currently doing/learning. I also have used Twitter to find other people out there who would like to connect with my class for various things, one of which was the Trees Around the World project that I mentioned in one of my previous posts.
So, there it is, the ways I try to get involved in global education. What ways have you tried? Would love to connect with some COETAILers for possible projects too! Anyone interested? 🙂