The only online collaborative project I have had previous experience with is www.iearn.com. I have not used it in my own classroom, but at my last school, one of our teachers was a huge fan of the site and always encouraged people to get involved. I have been on there several times to check out projects and never find one that fits in perfectly with what I’m doing in my classroom. You want a project that matches your language, content, and goals. My goal is to initiate a project that will work for me. One thing we are trying this year in second grade is vertical gardens using Wooly Pockets. Using these is going to expand our plants unit as our planting space has grow considerably. I’d like to start a project that will allow schools around the globe to compare measurements and growth for different kinds of gardens in different kinds of light, location, etc. I think the kids will will get really into it, as they already get very excited about the plants unit, and it is towards the end of the year, so students will have more of the technology skills necessary to participate in this kind of collaboration.
Technology is definitely changing the look of global education. I came from a school whose mission was Global Ed, and students in each grade did in depth studies of other cultures around the world. The ability to connect directly with those cultures through projects on sites like iearn or directly through email, skype, etc. make the learning more relevant, the connections to other people more real, and make the world a lot smaller. Students are able to connect to people they only would have read about before. Students recognize similarities across boundaries while learning to celebrate differences.