Global Collaborative Projects

One of the richest ways you can use technology in the classroom is to collaborate globally. I am becoming a big fan of global collaborations and the projects my Grade Two students work on are proving to be powerful learning experiences.

Global collaboration provides authentic learning opportunities that help students learn about another culture while developing their skills with 21st century technologies. Increasingly, to be a successful member of society our students will need to know how to collaborate effectively with others both locally and globally.

My first experience with global projects was in 2008 when I signed up with iEARN and involved my class in a Holiday Card Exchange with seven schools around the world and then a Teddy Bear Exchange project with a class in Canada. These were both fantastic experiences.

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Over the past few years, my grade has made connections with classes around the world through our blog. We have many blogging buddies from every corner of the world. These connections have allowed less formal collaboration to occur.

Over the past twelve months, my class has strengthened their friendship with Mrs Yollis’ class in California. Informal interactions have developed into more structured collaborative projects through a joint blog called Collaboration Corner. Read more about Collaboration Corner here. We have completed our “Lunchbox Project” on the Collaboration Corner blog and after having a student vote, we’re now embarking on a project called “Our School.” The amount of learning that is taking place through these projects is priceless.

Time zones no longer allow our class to skype with Mrs Yollis’ class inside school hours. To overcome this, next Tuesday my class will come to school an hour early and Mrs Yollis’ class will stay back late so we can have a special “show-and-tell” Skype session before the school year ends for our American friends. This will be made into a fun event by Mrs Yollis’ class ordering pizzas and our class having a pancake breakfast.

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This week, my grade also participated in the Flat Stanley project that Mrs Lynch’s class in Quebec, Canada organised. Click here to read about Flat Stanley’s visit to the 2KM classroom. I am looking at doing the Flat Stanley project later in the year and was interested in John Pearce’s post about using Twitter to send Flat Stanley virtually.

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On a more local level, my students also Skyped this week with students at Kunawarritji Aboriginal Community School in W.A. Due to some technical difficulties, we weren’t able to develop our conversation as far as we would have liked but since Skype is so easy to set up, we will try again next week. This sort of experience will inject some life and authenticity into our Aboriginal Australia unit of work.

Our next unit of work will be on dinosaurs so I will have to think hard about what sort of collaboration we could embark on! Let me know if you have any ideas!

collaboration skype


The sorts of global collaborative projects you can embark on are only limited by your imagination and ability to strike up connections. Students can measure, collect and evaluate data, write, read, publish, simulate, compare, debate, organise, investigate, share or report.

Here are some links to get started with collaborating in the classroom:

http://www.globalschoolnet.org/

http://www.iearn.org.au/

http://www.theteacherscorner.net/penpals/

http://www.epals.com

http://www.ozprojects.edu.au

http://theedublogger.com/want-to-connect-with-other-classrooms/

What sort of collaborative projects have you been involved in?

Do you know any other sites that you can use to get started with collaborating?

8 Comment

  1. Michelle Honeysett says: Reply

    This year I got involved in the Progressive Story project with my Gr. 1/2 class… it is coordinated by Karen Ditzler @kditzler … Fun collaborative blog storywriting experience augmented by VoiceThread. My kids loved finding out what the other classes would do with the story next! We have used a lot of Skype this year also.

    Next year I hope to start an open classroom blog. With some concerns from admin, I only managed a closed blog last year… and actually used it for my Flat Stanley project–we sent our Stanleys to different communities across Canada to learn more about our country’s diversity. If you want some Flat Stanley ideas, I’m happy to share. One of last year’s Flat Stanley’s actually travelled with an older brother to Japan this year and he’s been blogging with Stan… http://bit.ly/9d5jUW

    1. Hi Michelle,
      The Progressive story sounds like a really fun idea! I will have to try that sometime. Thanks for the Flat Stanley info, it’s a very fun project! I hope you get to do your open blog. It sounds like some admins around the world are a little too strict!
      Thanks for the comment,
      Kathleen

  2. I started blogging with my class at the end of January. Through our blog we have met students from around the world and have enjoyed blogging back and forth with several of our “buddy classes.” I believe that one of the classes we follow is at your school, 2KJ.
    We have also Skyped with several different schools. The students have really enjoyed these sessions.
    With our school year coming to an end I find myself already thinking about ideas for next year. I would love to get involved in some collaborative projects.
    I am also hoping to do a Flat Stanley project and would love to have the students produce some sort of regular news video podcast for our blog.
    I am very excited about what the new year may bring!

    1. Hi Mrs Watson,
      I’ve heard all about your class because I actually team teach with Kelly Jordan and 2KJ! They love their interactions with your class and it sounds like you’re doing some terrific things. I agree that collaborations are quite exciting and make school so much fun for not only the students, but the teachers too!
      The Flat Stanley news video podcast is a terrific idea!
      Keep up your great work,
      Kathleen

  3. How about contacting one of the museums and asking if someone from their dinosaur section will Skype into class? A lot of the museums are trying to get more involved with social media so you never know – you may find one willing.

    1. @ Sue, great idea! I might try emailing a few now…we’re visiting the Melbourne museum as part of the topic so I might aim big with a museum overseas first! Thanks!

  4. Kathleen,
    Your classroom sounds like it is rich with learning experiences. Your students are SO lucky! I had my students collaborate on a Olympic project this year from schools around the world. It was a great project and my students got a kick out of working with other students and viewing other impressions of the Olympics.

    I wonder if your students could do a “virtual” dinosaur dig with another class who is studying dinosaurs and create a paleontologist journal wiki where students from both schools can collect what they are learning. This is how I led my students on a virtual dig: http://ilearntechnology.com/?s=virtual+dinosaur+dig&x=0&y=0

    1. @ Kelly, thanks for that terrific info about the virtual dinosaur dig. I know my students would love it! There is something about dinosaurs and seven/eight year olds that go hand in hand!
      The Olympic project sounds like fun too. I’m hearing about more and more good ideas all the time!

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