This weeks goal is about making a global connection. Over the last year and a half I have been working on building global connections for both my class and myself professionally. I think making connections is a very important part of learning today. Students who make connections with others locally or on the other side of the world are gaining so much from the experience.
I believe there are many benefits for both students and teachers who make global connections.
- learn about cultures from all around the world
- have an audience for their work, which gives it a purpose
- gain feedback on their work
- feel the satisfaction of knowing their work is important enough to be viewed by so many people
- begin to see that we are all connected no matter where we might be in the world
- learn so much from the conversations that are started
- develop communication skills
- develop a personal learning network and learn from other teachers
- share their ideas with others
- receive feedback
- see the students connect with people in such a positive way
- use the connections to make lessons deeper
- promote a learning community by supporting each other through commenting on class blogs
I know there are many more reasons and I would love you to add your ideas. Please leave a comment if you have any other reasons why making global connections are so beneficial.
I have already made quite a few global connections.
I use Twitter daily to connect with my personal learning network. A group of amazing educators or people involved in education who provide discussion and support in all areas of my teaching. My teaching has changed so much over the last year and half thanks to Twitter. I have tried so many new ideas, always with the knowledge that if I get stuck I can talk to my PLN. I also try to be part of some of the chats that happen on Twitter. One of the chats I try not to miss is the #D5chat that happens Saturdays 11am (Melbourne time). It is a chat based around the Daily 5 and CAFE literacy strategies.
I also use this blog to connect with anyone interested in reading my thoughts. It is a great place to reflect on my teaching, with the goal to always improve.
My students have also made lots of global connections. We have our own class blog which you can find at: Kids Speak . We use the blog to record the learning that we are doing in class. The comments that we receive from interested people make the blog worthwhile. The students receive feedback on their work and often the comments will lead to a dialogue where more learning occurs. If a comment is received from a person who is overseas my students are particularly excited.
To enhance the connections made through the blog I have signed my class up for Quad Blogging. It is a fantastic project where four schools take it in turns to be the focus blog for the week, while the other schools visit it and leave comments. I am hoping that my Quad this year will be as enthusiastic about the project as I am. You can find out more about Quad Blogging here: Quad Blogging .
My students also connect with the world through Skype. We have had a few Skype sessions now, including one to a person living in India and one to a school in the Northern Territory in Australia. Through Skype we have been able to learn a lot about other cultures and prove that the boundaries between us and the world really are getting smaller!
Another simple connection that we have made is a link to a school in Canada. Over the summer holidays I noticed a teacher in Canada was doing a unit on Australia and wanted to make a connection with someone in Australia. I volunteered to answer her classes questions and since then our classes have been emailing each other. It would be great to one day be able to Skype with that school too.
I hope to keep developing the connections that my class and I have made and hopefully sustain them. I think the connections that can be sustained and developed are the ones that are the most powerful.