Tag Archives: global connected learning

Schools Without Borders: Collaborating in the Digital Age

9 Feb

I was inspired to share my presentation with my blog readers after witnessing participants’ enthusiasm about global collaboration following a talk I recently gave at the Just Learning Conference in Jeju, South Korea, on teaching in the digital age.

In addition to sharing some of the global collaborative projects I’ve guided and piloted throughout my teaching career, time was spent:

  • Discussing the steps involved in carrying out projects for global collaboration;
  • Describing and recommending projects that are easy to implement, and
  • Sharing a comprehensive list of resources that includes digital devices and online global organizations.

To gauge participants’ views on the role of global collaboration in teaching, I conducted a survey using Poll Everywhere. Results were compiled in a Word Cloud format with the larger words being the most frequently mentioned ones.


GlobalCollaboratorThese responses confirm that educators know and agree that connection, unity, peace, and diversity are some of the compelling reasons to conduct global collaborative projects in their classrooms. Their responses align with the International Society for Technology in Education’s  (ISTE) Standards, which include global collaboration as one of the essential standards for learners today.

global-collaboratorGlobal collaboration has been part of my teaching practice since the late 90s when I began teaching.  I was an English as a Second Language instructor at a middle school in a small rural suburb of Quebec, Canada.  Technology, at that time, meant a dust-collecting PC in a corner of the classroom, with DOS as its operating system.  There was no internet at the school but there was this abandoned PC and I decided to use it as the motivating tool for my learners, who were reluctant and not excited about learning English.

Using PowerPoint, I had each student prepare a slide about himself/herself.  I then placed these slides on a floppy disk and sent them via snail mail to a colleague who taught English as a Second Language in another region of Quebec.  In return, she sent me her students’ introductions.  Hence my first collaboration. We then had the students write letters to one another and at the end of that academic year, the students met in person. It was so amazing to witness the transformation in my students’ level of motivation and desire to learn English. Providing authentic opportunities to interact with fellow English learners fostered a culture of learning and increased their enthusiasm for studying English.

Global collaboration has been and will always be part of my teaching.  Working across the boundaries of time and location, connecting with teachers and learners from around the globe, and providing opportunities for my learners to interact with peers in other cultures and countries, not only enlivens and fuels learners but also develops their digital citizenship and global competence, much-needed skills for this beautiful interconnected world we call Earth. Needless to say, collaborating globally also enriches my experience as a teacher and as a world citizen.

I invite you to develop your own global collaboration whether you are a novice or an expert collaborator. Happy Collaboration!



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.