As a relatively new (less than 2 years) International Educator, I can tell you that regardless of where you are and what you teach, getting our students and ourselves to collaborate with others on a global level is an absolute must in this day and age. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, and you can look forward to this blog post linking global collaboration opportunities to the ISTE Global Collaborator (7a) Standard.
ISTE GLOBAL COLLABORATOR STANDARD
The new ISTE Student Standards put it best in their Global Collaborator Standard saying that students should “use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally“. That’s a tall order, so it’s important that we take a moment to examine the ways in which one of the sub-skills of this Standard can be broken down.
7.a. Use digital tools to connect with learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, engaging with them in ways that broaden mutual understanding and learning.
There are a variety of ways to accomplish this. Skype and Google Hangouts serve as great tools enabling students to connect with others synchronously and visually. Another great way is via Periscope. Use Periscope to show students another person’s real-time perspective, allowing them to type questions in and get immediate responses back.
Some non-video opportunities include: Seesaw, Twitter, Voxer, Facebook and Edmodo.
Seesaw offers a great, free tool for allowing students to compose blog posts, share them with parents and assign specific posts to a class blog which can then be globally shared. Students’ personal information is protected, and the app. works with a Google SSO.
Twitter is like a fire hydrant, so you want to know what you’re looking for. Hashtags and Twitter Chats are the key. Interact with the right groups and, in no time you’ll find a perfect match for you and your class.
Voxer is my personal favorite as it is a walkie-talkie app. that allows you to communicate asynchronously, speeding up messages as needed. As an international educator who geographically moved to the opposite side of the world, it can be challenging to keep track of the fire hydrant that is Twitter. I stick to a few Voxergroups, and several one-off conversations. One of my favorites for making connections and finding experts is the EduMatch Voxer group. Last March, one of my students was conducting research on whales. She needed to get in touch with a cetologist in order to get clarity around some of her questions. Asking the EduMatch Voxer group if they knew any cetologists yielded two connections for my student to pursue.
One of my favorite avenues for peeking into others’ practice and gleaning some useful insight on tools and practices that I can add to my own practice are EdCamps. Living outside of the U.S. makes access to these events a bit more strained. I love how technology allows us to stay connected in this world, and that’s why I’m a big fan of un-conferences like EdChange Global.