The world is smaller than it ever has been before.
Just ask my Spanish 3 classes.
We have participated in some really cool activities to share our learning with English students from Valencia, Spain, over the last two months.
We’ve swapped video messages. We’ve written in Spanish and received corrections from native Spanish speakers. We’ve given tours of our school. We’ve asked and answered questions based on sheer curiosity.
Aside from the devices we’ve used, it hasn’t cost our school district a cent.
Sharing learning is powerful because it makes students’ learning relevant beyond their own classrooms.
It’s about personally helping to make the world smarter one activity at a time.
My students are amazed at how easy it is to connect with these Valencian students and how much alike they are, regardless of the miles apart they are.
This is the learning they’ll take with them for life.
There’s so much that can be done across the globe with the great Web 2.0 tools that are out there. Here are some activities:
1. Participate in live Skype conversations. This is the modern-day video phone they talked about in “Back to the Future 2.” There’s no better way to share what you’re learning than face-to-face, voice-to-voice. Skype with full classes, individually or in pairs.
Here’s a video I recently created about the my Spanish 3 Skype video project. My students talk about the impact it’s had on them:
2. Record video messages using Skype or YouTube. If a time zone difference prohibits a live Skype call, this is the next best thing. Leave up to three-minute video messages through Skype or send links to longer videos via YouTube.
3. Record and listen to instant audio messages using Voxer. Voxer is like the “push to talk” walkie-talkie capabilities that Nextel boasted years ago. It runs through mobile apps via Internet, so those walkie-talkie messages come through quickly and make voice communication easy and cheap.
4. Write, create and edit simultaneously using Google Apps. With Google Apps (Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Drawings and more), students can work on the same file with others at the same time. They can write comments, chat in the file itself and share the file with others.
5. Exchange messages with another class using ePals. ePals sets classes up with pen pals all over the world. It’s great for learning world languages or learning about the viewpoints and opinions of people all over the world.
6. Create an online hub together with Weebly or Google Sites. The free websites you can create with Weebly and Google Sites can be a great place to post what your class is learning for others to see. Share the site with others and let the comments and conversations begin.
7. Share photos and messages socially with Edmodo. Edmodo is a learning management system that closely resembles Facebook but for education. It’s widely known as a great online place for classes to meet and work. Its strengths don’t end at country borders, though. Edmodo can facilitate the getting-to-know-you process in a way that students are very familiar with.
8. Comment on news of the day together with Diigo. Diigo is a great place to view news articles and post comments on them that others can view and respond to. Seeing how people from other countries see world events can shed light on their world views.
9. Create and voice comment on an Animoto/Voicethread presentation. These presentations are highly interactive and provide great opportunities for global interaction. Students can leave voice comments for each other and hear their global partners’ voices online.
10. Do it the old-fashioned way – with e-mail! Yes, e-mail is the old-fashioned way these days. Sending basic messages back and forth is quick and efficient. The transfer of information never gets old, and e-mail handles it very easily.
What other ways could you use the Web to connect with students all over the world? Share your best ideas in a comment below!
Matt is scheduled to present at the following upcoming events:
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