This week, I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to write about. It’s been one of those weeks where I was glad when Friday rolled around. The first week after a good break is always a struggle.
I read a post Come on Cate! by a fellow COETAILer and her blog post led me to Kim Cofinio’s post called ‘A Step-by-Step Guide to Global Collaborations’ posted in 2007. Even though it was written 8 years ago, it is still relevant and I found myself wishing I had read it about two months ago.
A quick background – I believe student blogging is a fantastic tool. George Couros @gcouros, an educator that you should follow on Twitter, wrote a blog post that essentially sums up my thinking on the benefits of students blogging – ‘5 Reasons Your Students Should Blog’.
About two months ago, I was able to coordinate a student blog exchange with a school in Hong Kong. As the Technology Integrator at my school, I want to take my school to the next level with meaningful, global collaborations (among other goals). This particular collaboration is between two grade four classes. As far as this collaboration goes, I believe there were many areas that we got right, and for now, the exchange has been focused on positively commenting on each other’s reading reflections. We set up expectations in commenting and I shared my sentence starters with the Hong Kong school to make sure we will all on the same page and we adapted the guidelines below that we received from Hong Kong:
However, the communication has been between the Hong Kong tech coach and me. We include the two teachers in the emails exchanges, but I don’t feel that right now, the classroom teachers have any ownership in the process, which I am concerned about. When I look at Kim’s list below, I feel that this is something we failed to implement.
Task breakdown for teachers:
Who is responsible for what?
When do your tasks need to be completed?
Who will be relying on you to finish your work?
There is also another area that I believe I need to improve upon:
Having an “about this project” page describing what your goals are with the project and who is participating. Having an “assignments” page to place all assignment requirements It feel a bit messy right now.
For instance, the fourth grade teacher at my school believes that each student post needs to be ‘perfect’ before it is published. I would never want a student to publish something that would make him or her look foolish, but I do believe mistakes are part of the learning and reflecting process. I would have clarified this on the ‘about this project’ page that Cofino writes about including in a project of this sort.
Based upon Kim’s post and since this was the first time for me to coordinate and participate in a global collaboration, overall I would give myself a C+/B-. But like any project, it is good to reflect and when the year is almost complete I plan on creating a form that will allow the four of us to look at what we did well and what we would do better next time.