Global Connections

9/6/2012 12:00:00 AM

Philadelphia/Trenton & Dubai

 
Springside Academy students prepare for their collaborative projects with their global peers.
The Global Ed program at the Springside/ Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia is composed of 5th- and 6th-grade girls who meet at lunch and recess to work on various iEARN projects. iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) is a non-profit global network that enables teachers and youth to use technology to collaborate on projects designed to make a difference in the world. Sample projects at SCH include:

Finding Solutions to Hunger. By working with partner schools from Pakistan, Taiwan, Australia, and Belarus via Skype, students have learned about how food is grown and distributed and how poverty affects the foods we eat. As a result, SCH students developed close relationships with two schools. One is the Al Ameen School in Dubai, led by teacher/principal, Fatima Martin, and the other is the Village Charter School in Trenton, NJ, led by Deanne McBeath. In Skyping with our partner schools, our students have had the opportunity to share their work, ask questions, and share thoughts with students their own age who are working toward the same goals.

YouthCan. Students constructed a walled garden made out of “bricks” from recycled plastic bags and water bottles. Our students partnered with students around the world who are building similar structures.

Kindred Oral History. The students shared an oral history project about American culture with students conducting similar research in Pakistan and Australia.

These projects have given the girls the opportunity to reach across distance and time.

Mary Legato Brownell is a teacher at the SCH Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Bakersfield, CA & Iceland

 
Students in Mr. Tenhet’s classroom at Bill L. Williams School collaborate with Aslandsskoli School in Hafnarfjordur, Iceland.
The idea of going global is now nothing short of a necessity. My class uses ePals and Skype (both free) to connect with classrooms around the world.

We invite parents and students for a breakfast to encourage the community to be involved with these global projects. One of our collaborative projects is with the Áslandsskóli School in Iceland. To begin the project, Jenny, the teacher from Iceland, and I Skyped and emailed as we planned the partnership activities. We started with email introductions. Then we traded postcards and pictures from our respective schools. Next, we sent letters via snail mail and pictures of our student families.

After that, we launched a community culture project with a video-photo presentations via Skype. We collaborated on Haikus about landmarks in our communities. Toward the end of our collaboration, in May of 2011, the Eyjafjöll volcano erupted, causing worldwide disruptions and devastation in Iceland. We got personal stories of how the glacier was melting because of the volcano and how the fisheries were being adversely affected. Many of the Icelandic students were worried about the safety of their loved ones. It was a meaningful day that none of us will forget.

Troy Tenhet is a 6th grade teacher in Bakersfield, California and an instructor for Fresno Pacific University.

Louisiana & Japan

 
Students from the Louisiana State University Laboratory School High School prepare for their Peace Project.
The Peace Project focuses on global collaboration between the multimedia class at Louisiana State University Laboratory School High School and Odori High School in Japan. Interactions using Microsoft SkyDrive, Skype, PowerPoint, Word, Bing translator, Bing Maps, and video/audio editing software are used to engage students regarding cross-cultural understanding, while developing technology skills.

Students work collaboratively to create digital media projects to communicate with Odori High School about specific historical events, literature written from different perspectives, traditional art, sustainable living, and everyday culture that is of interest to students. After learning about the other culture, students collaborate to identify common issues among the cultures and decide how to best communicate their message regarding the issue. The Louisiana school utilizes Skype, Outlook email, and SkyDrive to share ideas and files with students at Odori High School.

Through the exchange of ideas, students analyze the similarities, recognize the differences, and begin to develop a global point of view.

Students exhibited their desire to practice their communication, culture, and technology skills by organizing a trip to Japan for an immersion in the real world. To inspire students to travel abroad is a sign of a successful educational experience.

The Peace Project is from Jennifer Bevill, LSU Laboratory School (Baton Rouge, LA), winner of the 2012 Microsoft Partners in Learning US Forum.

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