I also believe that connecting our students with others can be encouraging, engaging and enriching! Do you remember penpals? I remember we waited for months to get our letters back from Iceland (I think the connection was a student, Ingmar, who was living here for a few years.) and how excited we were as we read them and how we couldn't wait to write back! I don't think I asked my teacher how many paragraphs my letter needed to be! We wrote, and wrote...
Today, with technologies, not only can we write to them, we can write with them! And, we don't need to wait months to receive their feedback, but only minutes or hours! We can even peer into each other's classrooms and see the similarities and differences. We can challenge each other's thinking, create together and grow in our learning!
As Annie Mitchell shared in a Google+ post yesterday, she questions whether technology has really made us more antisocial as she shared a similar image.
Some great ideas I left with last night to help get us going:
- Use Twitter to find and make connections.
- Use our natural connections with parents and community to gather information and contribute to the class! Create a parent "commenter"club to provide feedback on student posts! Have travelling parents use Google+ Hangouts or Skype to conduct "field" experiments with your class!
- Have your class decide together if they want to participate in a global project to get their buy-in.
- Use a Google Form for students to submit blog posts if you're no ready to add them as authors. Use their submission as a talking point on appropriateness, grammar, punctuation (depending on your objective)
- Get into Quad-Blogging to support each blogger with feedback on their writing.
- Try the TeachersFirst XW1W (Across the World Once a Week) Project
So who will step out of their comfort zone and come on this journey with me? I'm willing to commit some time working with you 1:1! Let's get together, open your door and explore the world! It really is out there waiting! :-)