Around the world: 10 tools that help classrooms connect
As students become more connected in their personal life, it becomes more important to get them connected in their school life. Global collaboration shows students how others live in the world, opens up places in the world where they may never go, and gives them a new perspective about school and life. During the session Global Education Day at ISTE 2014, many resources were shared that help teachers connect their classrooms. Many of them taking minimal time commitment so a teacher can get started right away.
Skip the downloading, logging in or entering a pin code to hold a group video chat. Students can simply create a room, copy the link to the room (students can name the room or use the fun names auto-generated) and send the link in an email, text or even on a shared Google Doc! People click on the link and they can enter in the room.
A great way for teachers and students to create quizzes, discussions or surveys. Students can play online with each other or play someone else’s quiz game. It is browser based so teachers can arrange to challenge other classrooms. The students have fun, get connected and learn all at the same time.
With only visible clues in the random Google Street Views, students have to guess the location. Without a lot of information students have to use their critical thinking skills and each other to guess the locations on the map. An added benefit to this map game is that students learn the basics of geography while trying to find answers. Students place a map marker on where they think the location is and are awarded points based on how close their guess was to the original location.
Like the similarily named Geoguessr, Geosettr is a map game. However, take it one step farther and create your own with this webtool. Teachers can choose five locations on Google Street View and Geosettr provides a link to the game. Once students understand how the game is played, have them create their own- maybe a Geosettr for a book the class just got finished reading.
Mystery Skype is a great way to visually connect with another classroom. VIsit Skype in the Classroom to schedule a Mystery Skype with another classroom. Then students have to use their geography skills to guess where the other classroom is located based on a series of yes/no questions asked. Each class takes a turn to asking a question and it becomes a friendly competition to see who can guess first.
Working with other classrooms globally can provide some challenges with communication with differences in time zones or internet connection speed. Mural.ly is a collaborative whiteboard that lets the students visually organize their ideas by posting sticky notes and other images. Students can integrate other visual media as well like Slideshare, Evernote and Google Drive. This mind mapping tool makes it easy to connect even if the groups are working at different times.
Edmodo is an online learning community for teachers and students. Teachers can use Edmodo to help students organize a book club discussion, opening up a safe and secure place for students to connect online with other classrooms. There are many places online where students can connect but Edmodo gives teachers the security and control they need to keep students safe while allowing them to use social learning in the classroom.
Give students a chance to express themselves and practice digital literacy skills with creating a video to share. Flick-it-on! is a student collaborative project that allows students to create a video with other classrooms around the world. Sometimes there are themes to the challenge and usually require certain elements to be included in the video.
Read more about global collaboration and a Flick-it-on student collaborative project here- Beyond the classroom walls: Going global with your students. The student video at the end will make you “happy”!
Websites to get connected:
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