Our World, Our Numbers Global Project

My class is currently involved in a wonderful global project called Our World, Our Numbers.

We launched Our World, Our Numbers alongside our blogging buddies on Monday 25th February.  

In late 2011, many of us worked on a global project called Our World, Our StoriesThis latest project is based on a similar format with a mathematical focus.

In late 2011 I reflected on the fabulous outcomes from the Our World, Our Stories project.

Classes involved

The students are all from primary (elementary) classes and are from three different continents and five countries.

Mr Avery’s sixth grade class from Massachusetts, USA

Mrs Monaghan’s 3/4 class, Room with a View, from England

Mrs Morris and Miss Jordan’s grade four class, 4KM and 4KJ, from Victoria, Australia

Mrs McKenzie’s 2/3 class, B4, from New Zealand

Mrs Yollis’ 2/3 class from California, USA

Mr Salsich’s third grade class from Connecticut, USA

Mrs Watson’s K/1/2/3 class from Canada


View Our World, Our Numbers in a larger map

How does the project work?

Students from all classes are connecting and collaborating by sharing their mathematical lives. This is happening through the blog and involves a variety of media.

A different class “leads” a mathematical topic every week or so, publishing posts and replying to comments. The other classes read the posts, possibly publish their own posts, and leave blog comments.

Topics

The topics so far have been:

Our future topics will involve mathematical elements of animals, area/populations and seasons/temperatures.

The learning

Through blog posts, the students teach each other about different aspects of mathematics based on aspects of their own culture.

The learning continues in the commenting section where students, teachers and parents engage in conversations to explore mathematical and cultural topics further.

Students are gaining an understanding of mathematics through the eyes of children in different countries and cultures. They are making comparisons and contrasts between their lives and other students’ lives.

Concluding the project

This project will conclude in mid-May. Stayed tuned for a culminating celebration then!

Our World, Our Numbers is a project we came up with ourselves. If you want some advice on how to start your own global project, read my post “Start Your Own Global Project”.

Our World, Our Stories

Next week, my class will be joining in with many of their “blogging buddies” from around the world in a new global project.

This project is called Our World, Our Stories and the blog  http://ourworldourstories.edublogs.org/ will be our central meeting place.

After months of planning, we look forward to launching this seven week project on Monday 24th October.

Our World Our Stories Blog

Classes involved

The students are all from junior primary classes and are from three different continents and six different countries.

2KM and 2KJ from Victoria, Australia

B4 from New Zealand

Mrs Yollis’ third grade class from California, USA

Mr Salsich’s third grade class from Connecticut, USA

Melody Watson’s 2/3 class from Canada

Andy Sefa Boachie and his students from Ghana

Miss Usher’s standard 3 class from Punta Gorda, Belize


View Our World, Our Stories in a larger map

How will it work?

Students from all classes will connect and collaborate by sharing their stories, experiences, thoughts and opinions about a variety of themes. This will happen through the blog and involve a variety of media.

A different class will “lead” a topic each week, publishing posts and moderating comments. Topics will be based on students’ interests such as school games, hobbies, food, local environment etc. The other classes will read the posts, possibly publish their own posts, and students will leave blog comments.

The learning

Through the blog comments, students from the different classes will have conversations. Students will gain an understanding of different countries and cultures. They will make comparisons and contrasts between their lives and other students’ lives.

The students will reflect on their own experiences and hopefully develop a curiosity about other students’ stories. They will develop a voice to share their own stories.

Concluding the project

Stayed tuned for a culminating celebration in December!

If you want to keep up to date with how the fun and learning unfolds, there is a “subscribe via email” box on the right hand side of the Our World, Our Stories blog.

I have received a number of questions about how to organise your own global project so I will be posting a guide on this blog soon. Stay tuned!

My Journey with Global Collaboration

Bright Ideas is a blog by the School Library Association of Victoria and the State Library of Victoria. Rachel from Bright Ideas recently asked if I’d share with readers how I got involved in global collaboration and I was only too happy to help. Hopefully, together we can inspire more teachers to make connections globally and open up whole new worlds for their students.

As I mentioned on the recent Virtual Staffroom podcast, one of things I love most about blogging and using technologies in my classroom is the opportunities for global collaboration.

2008 was the year that I began blogging and also collaborating globally with my students. In the three years that have passed, our experiences of collaboration have become more integrated, frequent and richer.

I created the following diagram to demonstrate how my involvement in global collaboration has progressed (tip: click on image if you want to see it more clearly).

diagram progress global projects

A summary of how I progressed with global collaboration

2008

Christmas Card Exchange Project organised through iEARN: our class was matched with seven schools around the world and we exchanged Christmas/holiday cards.
PROS – Learning about all the different countries involved and their holiday traditions.
CONS – Lack of “real” connection to the classes and lack of technology used (the contact was slow!).

2009

Teddy Bear Exchange Project organised through iEARN: our class was matched with a class in Canada. We exchanged teddies via snail mail and we “helped” the teddies write weekly emails to each other. We collated all the emails on a page on our class blog.

PROS – We learnt a lot about life in Canada; children learnt about email.
CONS – There wasn’t the chance for a “real” connection to develop between students – it was all through the teddy.

*****

Blogging Buddies: in our second year of blogging we began forming connections with many classes around the world. We would leave comments on our new friends’ blogs and keep track of what they were up to in an informal manner.

PROS – Blogging suddenly become more powerful, interesting and meaningful as we had a real international audience. Students began to learn there was a life outside of their neighbourhood.
CONS – All our interactions and learning was “ad-hoc”.

2010 – first half

Our relationships with our blogging buddies continued and expanded while we looked to more structured, self-organised and personalised projects.

Collaboration Corner http://collaboration-corner.blogspot.com
I created a blog with Linda Yollis in California. Our classes had got to know each other since early 2009 via our class blogs.
We called the blog “Collaboration Corner”. This was a place for the students to work on projects together and have rich discussions through commenting.

We had two main projects in the first half of the year:
•    Lunch Box Project – this complimented our “Food” theme. A child from each class took turns making a post about their lunch. They used a tool like Fotobabble to narrate a picture of their lunch. Some great conversations got going in the comments on healthy eating, food preferences, cultural difference with food, food groups etc.
•    Our School – the students used tools like VoiceThread and video to show their American friends around their school. The students made posts about the play areas, library, office etc. The students were really interested to compare how school is the same and different in Australia and the US.

PROS – The students got to really connect with their blogging buddies and the blog provided a window into their lives. Skype was used to enhance this connection such as our Skype breakfast party. A lot of content was learnt about food, time zones, schools, geography. A lot of reflection and new ideas also arose.
CONS – We were working together and learning a lot but what for?

2010 – second half

Ugandan Global Project http://ugandanglobalproject.blogspot.com
This is an idea I came up with because I loved how my students were learning and connecting with their buddies overseas but I thought something was missing. I knew we could take it further. I wanted my students to be able to use these global connections for a greater good; to raise their social conscience, help others and learn more about the world in which they live.

In this project, we set up another blog and invited some of our blogging buddies to join in. We had two Australian classes, three American classes and one Chinese class involved all working together to help out a school in Uganda.

The students were sponsored by their family and friends and at 10am on Friday 22nd October, all the classes around the world ran/walked for one hour to earn their sponsorship money.

Throughout the project all the classes involved worked on various tasks to learn more about Uganda and put up posts on the blog on topics such as
•    A day in the life of a student in Australia/USA/China/Uganda
•    A traditional song in each country
•    The run/walk event in each location
•    Time zones
•    Currencies

Behind these posts, the commenting was fantastic! The students (all aged 7-9) were involved in some rich conversations.

This project raised $20,000 which is making an enormous difference in the lives of our Ugandan friends.

There are also incredible flow-on effects still happening. A group of Americans who followed our project blog decided to volunteer at the Ugandan school. There are around 20 of them in Uganda at the time of writing and they’re making an invaluable contribution. Additionally, a teacher who read about our project contacted the school founder asking how she can help. The possibilities of these after effects are endless.

I feel that one of the ultimate goals of being a global citizen is to be able to work together for a common good, be understanding of others and have a social conscience. Through blogging, my students are developing as effective global citizens and I’m so proud of what they are achieving! I can’t wait to see where we’ll go next…

What next?

Needless to say, I want my students to be involved in more global collaboration in the future. I think a mix of informal collaboration and more structured projects works well. We’re now at a point where we don’t need to look at projects organised by outside agencies as we are part of a large international blogging community.

When it comes to projects, I like the idea of working on some projects that are simply designed to increase student learning and global awareness, while also aiming for perhaps an annual big project (like the Ugandan Project) where the aims go beyond individual student learning.

How to get started

If you want your class to connect and collaborate globally, I recommend you read this post by Edna Sackson “10 Ways to Create Global Connections

If you want to start in a more structured way like I did, there are many free and paid organisations co-ordinating global collaborative projects.

You might like to try…

http://www.globalschoolnet.org/

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

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

http://www.epals.com

http://www.ozprojects.edu.au

Good luck!

Leave a comment if you want to share your experiences of global collaboration.

After Effects of the Ugandan Global Project

As I have previously blogged about, the Ugandan Global Project involved six grade two and three classes working together to raise money for a Ugandan School.

We raised $20,000 and all students students involved in the project developed enormously both on an academic and personal level.

Click here to read part one explaining the project.

Click here to read part two explaining the project.

Click here to read about the results of the project.

The project is now finished but the effects continue to spread.

Last week, the founder of the Ugandan School, Renee Waun, emailed me with great excitement. A Californian lady had been in touch with her a while back about volunteering at the Ugandan school in January. They had been making plans for the trip and, when our Ugandan Global Project was launched, Renee shared the link to our blog with the lady.

From Renee…

She looked at everything and decided to forward the links to several of her friends.  The result is that so many people in her circle of friends were inspired by the energy and activity of the teachers and children participating your project and the African school, that her friends started asking if they could go along.


There are now 22 people going to Africa in January! Among those in the group who are going are teachers, photographers, a dance instructor, and dental hygenist who will bring dental supplies and treat teeth, etc.

Even more unbelievably, there were even MORE people than that who wanted to go to Uganda but they had to cap the number in the group this time.

Who would have thought that a group of seven to nine year olds and their teachers could have such an enormous impact on others?

This shows the amazing power that collaboration, communication, creativity and effective use of technology can have!

What do you think?

How else can we set up projects with long lasting effects?

Global Education Conference Presentation

This week (Thursday/Friday), Linda Yollis will be presenting about our Ugandan Global Project at the Global Education Conference.

This is a free online conference for anyone around the world. The session is held in Elluminate.

The goal of the conference is to help everyone make connections with other educators and students in order to increase opportunities for globally-connected education activities and initiatives.

global educ conference

SESSION INFORMATION

TITLE: Ugandan Global Project
PRESENTER: Linda Yollis
TIME: GMT+11 Fri 19 Nov 2010 11:00AM (click here for international time conversions)
SESSION ROOM: CLICK HERE to enter the Elluminate session room, open one hour before session.
DESCRIPTION: The Ugandan Global Project (UGP) is a collaborative blog that brings six elementary school classes together from four continents in order to raise money for the African Rural School Foundation in Uganda, Africa. The UGP members walked on October 22, to raise money to purchase a play area for Ugandan students. The walk signified the miles some Ugandan students walk each day to get an education. The UGP blog incorporates cultural and geographic information from all of the students involved in the project. The teachers and students involved in the project are elementary school blogging buddies. The classes regularly follow the learning of each other via blog posts and frequently ask questions or share information in the comment sections of the classroom blogs. The teachers were looking for a way to use their international blogging connections to help raise the global and social awareness of their students.
WEBSITE: http://ugandanglobalproject.blogspot.com

Here is a video I made to conclude the Ugandan project

Thank  you Linda for sharing at this conference!

Please try to attend and spread the word!

Leave a comment if you have any thoughts or questions about the conference.

Ugandan Global Project Update

As I have previously blogged about here and here, my grade two class has been working with five other classes around the world on a Ugandan Global Project.

We worked on a blog together to learn about Uganda and the nationalities involved, and completed a run/walk fundraiser to raise money for the ABC Divine Foundation School in Uganda.

Our goal was to raise enough money to purchase some land adjacent to the school for a play area.

We exceeded this goal enormously. Team Toa in China got their whole school involved and raised a massive $15,000! This brought the total for all the classes to about $20,000. Obviously, this amount of money will make a huge difference to the lives of the Ugandan students and we are currently working with the foundation to plan how the money can best be spent.

Our students got so much out of being involved in this project. The learning that went on through the blog posts and comments was fantastic.

I have used the text tool on this website to highlight just some of the learning that has taken place.

In my opinion, blogging and global projects are all encompassing ways to authentically improve student outcomes academically, socially and as digital citizens. I look forward to being involved in many more with my students in the future!

Leave a comment and share your thoughts about global projects.

Ugandan Global Project: Part Two

Last week, I blogged about the Ugandan Global Project which we launched today. Read the Part One post here.

Mrs Yollis and her students made this fantastic video to launch the project.

Mission

To raise the social conscience and global awareness of our students through fundraising for The ABC Divine Foundation Primary School in Mutundwe, Uganda, Africa

The Goal

Primary school “blogging buddies” from around the world will collaborate together to raise money to help purchase land adjacent to The ABC Divine Foundation Primary School in Mutundwe, Uganda, Africa. The land will be used as a play area for the school. Read more about the goal here.

The Run/Walk

Each class will complete a one hour run/walk around their school or community at 10am on Friday 22nd October 2010.

The one hour walk signifies the effort the Ugandan students make to get an education. Many students travel long distances to get to school and some live so far away they have to stay at the school.

From the school director: “Many families in rural areas live in abject poverty, with no school within a 6-mile walk. In areas where schools are available these poor families cannot afford the fees, and so their children grow up without any education at all.” Read more from the school director here.

Students will collect donations from their friends and families for completing the run/walk which will be passed on to the Ugandan school.

The Blog

http://ugandanglobalproject.blogspot.com/

The Ugandan Global Project Blog will be a place for students to share and learn about each other. Posts will include: cultural and geographic information, training updates, the run/walk events, and fundraising efforts. Hopefully the Ugandan students will be able to be a part of the blog through posting and/or commenting. We may also be able to use Skype to communicate with some Ugandan contacts or people who have been there.

Ugandanblog

The Benefits

We’re hoping that through participating in this project, our students will

•    Help people less fortunate than themselves
•    Develop their social conscience
•    Improve their fitness
•    Learn more about the world in which they live
•    Develop their friendships with their blogging buddies
•    Improve their understanding of different cultures and ways of life
•    Improve their ICT skills
•    Feel good and have fun!

Photo courtesy of Renee Waun

Photo courtesy of Renee Waun

Leave a comment and tell us what you think about our global project.

Have you been involved in any global projects? What did you students get out of it?

Ugandan Global Project: Part One

The school holidays are almost over here in Victoria and on Monday I’m launching an exciting new global project.

As I have previously blogged about, I have found global projects to be one of the richest ways to use technology in the classroom.

My class has collaborated globally with others both informally and in a more structured way such as through our Collaboration Corner blog project with Mrs Yollis’ class and skyping with experts, however I felt like there was something missing.

I wanted my students to be able to use these global connections for a greater good; to raise their social conscience, help others and learn more about the world in which they live.

The idea…

One day in August this year, I was reading my Runner’s World magazine, when I came across an article about a woman who ran to raise money for the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This article planted a seed and I got to thinking that I could have my students do a run/walk “alongside” their global buddies to raise money for children less fortunate than themselves.

The cause….

It didn’t take long to find a worthy cause to support. The African Rural Schools Foundation strives to provide affordable education to disadvantaged students in Uganda while also supporting children who are affected or orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

The foundation is doing amazing work, running the ABC Divine Foundation Primary School in Mutundwe, Uganda, Africa. There are over 400 students who attend the school, about half live there and many of those are orphans.

Rev. Renee Waun, the founding sponsor of the Foundation from the USA, has been more than helpful in getting our idea off the ground. She has been an excellent link to the Ugandan students and has provided invaluable information and support.

The partners…

When I shared the idea with some of the teachers of classes we collaborate with across the world, they were very keen to jump on board with the project. We are spanning our Ugandan Global Project across four continents- Africa, Australia, North America and Asia.

The partners of our project include

* The African Rural Schools Project and students at The ABC Divine Foundation Primary School in Mutundwe, Uganda, Africa.
* 2KM in Leopold, Victoria, Australia
* 2KJ in Leopold, Victoria, Australia
* Mrs Yollis’ class in Los Angeles, California, USA
* Mrs Ranney’s class in Los Angeles, California, USA
* Mr Salsich’s class in Connecticut, USA
* Team Toa, Shanghai International School, China

Photo courtesy of Renee Waun

Photo courtesy of Renee Waun

In part two of this post I will explain how we’re using blogging and other technologies for our collaboration and how we’re fundraising for our new African friends. Look out for it next week!

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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?

Blogging: Collaboration Corner

As I have previously blogged about, the global connections that my class has made through our 2KM Blog have been extremely rewarding.

This is the second year of the 2KM Blog and in that time we have had many global visitors, some of who have become “blogging buddies.”

One relationship my class formed throughout last year was with Mrs Yollis and her third grade class in California, USA. 2KM and Mrs Yollis’ class regularly visited and commented on each other’s blog and have even skyped together.

This year, Linda Yollis and I decided to create a more formal structure for our classes to collaborate and learn together. We created a blog called Collaboration Corner where we will work on projects together.

Our first project is the “Lunch Project“. Both classes will blog about what they are having for lunch each day and what they’re learning about healthy eating etc (we got this idea from The Smarties in Western Australia).

The Collaboration Corner blog has got off to a flying start! The students from each grade have been so excited to learn about what their blogging buddies eat, where they eat, where they get their food etc.

We have been posting and commenting regularly and there have been many rich discussions about similarities and difference of the two classes.

This project is proving to be fantastic in so many ways! The students are…

  • opening their eyes to a world outside of their own neighbourhoods,
  • learning terms such as hemispheres, time zones, continents etc in a very authentic way,
  • developing a tolerance of others through understanding how different people live,
  • learning about our Term One “Food” theme in such a rich and genuine way,
  • improving their writing skills every day with so much authentic practice,
  • using technology in a purposeful way,
  • so excited to make new friends!

collaboration corner

Click here to check out what is happening at Collaboration Corner and leave us a comment!

If you want to make your own connections, Sue Waters has compiled an excellent list of various class blogs that you can get in touch with. Give it a go!

Leave a comment if you have any thoughts about working globally.