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Collaborative Projects Across the World with YouTube

25 Mar

This is article two on using technology to collaborate with classes all over the world at no cost and with little time and training. This week I will share with you some of the ways I have used YouTube to work with classrooms in different time zone and continents.

One of the projects that proved successful was when my students learned a song and the movements that went along with it. Using YouTube to video them, we then sent the link to a school in North America where the first grade class took time to learn the song and the movements that went along with it and then sent us a video of them performing it.  This was a great success at so many levels in that the kids felt a pride in being able to teach a song to other kids that involved not only memorizing words but also doing some tricky movements along with it. In addition, the kids were once again reminded of how similar we are and how we are all capable of teaching one another, no matter where we live and what languages we speak.

Another project was with the fourth grade English learners who prepared a presentation on the ecosystem of where we live and shared it with 6 classes from 6 different parts of the world who also prepared their own ecosystem presentation. The kids were thus exposed to the major world ecosystems and learned about the characteristics of each from students their own age living similar experiences and learning about the same topics. Once the presentations were viewed, the students then posted their comments and asked questions of one another. This project was truly collaborative in that the students were relying on each other to learn all that they needed to learn about the ecosystems of the world and by teaching the facts about their own ecosystem, they reinforced the learned concepts and applied them for an authentic purpose and to a captive audience.

YouTube makes editing, uploading and sharing videos a breeze.  It is a powerful tool that gives teachers total control. Your settings can be set to private so that only those in your project can view the content. It is very user friendly and with a click of a button, you can open up your classroom to the world thus turning it into a global community.

So next time you are thinking of a collaborative project for your students, don’t’ hesitate, expand your simple classroom project and reach across continents. You will be amazed with the learning opportunities that your students will encounter.

If you are hesitant about using YouTube to share your educational experience, you can check out SchoolTube.com. I personally have not used this site but I am told it is a moderated video sharing site for K-12 students, teachers and parents.

Collaborative Projects Across the World using Skype

15 Mar

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATeachers have little or no time to plan collaborative projects outside of their own classroom. In addition, they sometimes fear the training needed to use certain technological tools and are always reminded that due to budget cutbacks, there is no money to plan for collaboration – especially for projects across continents.

In the next few posts, I will share with you how I have been collaborating with teachers on different projects with very little time, at no cost, and with minimal training for the tool used.

It is 10 a.m. on Saturday. I’ve just come back from the market. I get on Skype and I’m greeted by a first grade classroom in North Carolina, 19 little eager faces, in their pajamas, ready for a good night story from their reader across the world, Miss Abinader. I read the book to them and we play a guessing game with clues on the mystery of where their reader is exactly. We learn to say hello and goodbye in Vietnamese then it is time to sign off. These first graders have had a few other teachers read to them from across America and now they had a teacher read to them all the way from Asia.

This project was organized around the Read Across America program. The National Education Association created this program to celebrate reading. It takes place March 2nd, on Dr. Seuss’s Birthday. On or around that date, schools, libraries and community centers across the United States celebrate reading by bringing together kids and books. One teacher wanted to add the multicultural and different time zone experience to the reading celebration and thus began our collaborative and interactive project.

The planning involved was minimal. It consisted of a few emails and the exchanging of Skype names. The gains however were plentiful in that the students participated in a diverse multicultural experience where reading was confirmed as a practice that is used and enjoyed by children all over the world.

In today’s technology driven lifestyle, it is so simple to make Read Across America be Read Across the World. In so doing, we will be one step closer to creating and building a global community of active learners and educators.

Vietnam Tech Conference 2013

8 Mar

Last week I attended the Vietnam Technology Conference in Saigon where teachers and technology savvy eagerly shared the latest buzz in technology and education.  Using Storify, a service which enables one to collect comments and information from different social media to create a story about an event, I have gathered information about the conference to give you, the reader, a picture of all that transpired throughout the conference. All in all it was a good conference, which offered food for thought for all teachers, no matter where they are on their journey of integrating technology in their teaching.

You can view the complete story here on my Storify Page.

Teaching Prepositions Through Songs

5 Mar

I have found that one of the best ways for my students to learn is with songs. Following is an example of how my first year English learners have mastered one of the most difficult English grammatical concepts: prepositions

In this video, Shina is able to use and recite all 48 prepositions after merely three days of listening and signing the song while actively seeking out prepositions in all of her academic subjects.

Sing Along with Shina

About, about, above, across.
Against, along, around.
Amid, among, after, at.
Except, for, during, down.
Behind, below, beneath, beside.
Between, before, beyond.
By, in, from, off, on, over, of.
Until, unto, upon.
Under, underneath, since, up.
Like, near, past, throughout, through.
With, within, without, instead.
Toward, inside, into, to.

Try it in your classroom and let me know how it goes!