Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Global Collaboration Websites for Students

The world is a child's playground and always a new learning experience. For those teachers who work hard to give their classroom the world experience they will never forget, now is the time and the chance to do so. There are many global websites out there available through the Internet that enable a teacher to blast the boundaries of the classroom walls right open into a group effort with friends they may make for life. Out of many of the websites offered, two from my class list appealed to me more than the others. Primarily, I picked these two sites specifically because they offered collaboration projects with children of younger ages such as K-3rd grades, which is the range I hope to teach in once I have my degree.

Before I discuss the websites I chose, the synchronous tool I would use to communicate over these websites would be Tokbox. Tokbox is a free service that allows communication over live video. Live video discussion /collaboration would be a must to me for the children to get the full experience of working on a project with friends of different background and culture.

The http://www.globalschoolnet.org/ site offers a plethora of opportunities and projects with which to become involved, in a incomprehensible amount of places in which to collaborate on these projects. Bluezone was one of the sites I was particularly fond of due to the fact they had vocabulary words highlighted in blue in the write-ups on projects which makes a nice integration into curriculum in a classroom. Globalschoolnet has a great amount of science and health based projects that are rooted in recent media and global concerns in the news today. In many of these projects, students in the classrooms can become the problem-solvers of the concerns and I believe children are fully capable of possibly creating solutions that just may work! This website has many connections to offer around the globe, and I like that they offer a teacher account and a general account. The privacy on this site was impressive, as well. It would not allow any outside access into some of the existing projects unless you become a member. The security makes me feel as though it is a responsible site that can be trusted to collaborate and put a classroom's work upon.

The http://iearn.org website is another I would use for a collaboration project in my classroom. What I liked most about this site is it enables you to get in touch with classrooms as far, or near as you are looking to embark on a collaborative project. For example, I may want to work with a classroom within the same state, Pennsylvania; the site is set -up to locate other classrooms looking for projects in your area. They also have project locators by type of project or topic that you may seek, so the site is very user-friendly. The more global topics relate to some of the bigger news media stories on the national news- so they are topics the students would be used to hearing about on their own. Topics such as caring and sharing, good deeds, one day in the life, natural disasters, and environmental and social issues. The site also has student collaborative work that is constructed based upon the state educational standards.