If we want our children to be able to succeed we have to look beyond our own cities and towns and help our children to live and work in a global community. This means that as teachers we should be choosing texts, lessons and projects that reflect what is happening globally as much as what happens locally.
Our children need to be exposed to other cultures and other languages early. One safe and easy way to do this is do become involved with one of the myriad of global projects available. How do you find these projects? There are many registries that list educational projects, such as:
Education Place Project Center
European schoolnet -- Collaboration
achieveonline.com.au: Society and Environment
These are just a few of the many registries that list educational projects. Most projects are free, but some require a small fee to participate. Each project is different. There are math and science projects, as well as history, art and even music projects. Many projects have online quizzes, as well as ways to interact with other groups who are also participating.
One of the best ways to interact is with Email. Of all of the school Email accounts out there, the one that I have enjoyed the most is ePals. ePals has a moderated, safe environment for students to use on collaborative projects, or just for a simple cultural exchange of hellos. If you get the paid version of ePals, there is even file sharing component available for the students.
I have worked on many international collaborative projects with my students and I found the three below, each very different from the others, to be the easiest:
The goal of "Listening to the Walls talk" is to teach students basic geographic and research skills. A secondary, but possibly more important goal of this project is to record the history of houses and neighborhoods around the world. According to the National Historic Trust, historic sites have fascinating, engaging, and compelling stories to tell. Preserving these places, listening to their stories and learning from them are essential to our understanding of who we are. Each participating class submits a group project as a Web page about the story of their neighborhood, complete with pictures, maps and diagrams focusing on the architecture, landscape and geographic and demographic references. Then, for each class, the teacher will also submit the best individual stories about the students' homes.
An award-winning global celebration that is dedicated to the extraordinary achievements, benefits and opportunities in the exploration of space. The goal of Space Day is to advance science, math and technology education and to inspire children to realize the vision of our space pioneers. This project has "design challenges" created for elementary and middle school students. All participating groups are encouraged to work with other groups for a finished product. My students have worked with others from such places as Norway, Canada and throughout the US.
ENO-Environment Online is a global virtual school for environmental awareness. Four different environmental themes are studied within a schoolyear ( Social, Natural, Cultural Environment and Sustainable Development ) on a weekly basis. ENO schools learn from each other, submit data from their local environments and analyze it. ENO Prorgram has been running since 2000 and it is organised and co-ordinated by Eno School District in Eno, Finland. It has received support from National Board Of Education and European Commission.
Note: If you want to start small and slow, that's ok, too. I began by going to ePals Search for Classrooms and searching through their database of registered classrooms. From this small beginning, I worked with other teachers one on one on such projects as Intolerance, astronomy and basics cultural exchanges.
So, what's keeping you? Go Global!
Email: Rosemary Shaw