During one of my interviews early in my teaching career I was asked to identify five words to describe myself. I don’t remember all five words, but I do distincly remember three: leader, learner, collaborative. I value collaborating with others and think it’s an important for my students to do too. Despite indicating this early in my career, one simple Google search tonight made me realize that I’ve been sitting under the proverbial rock especially when it relates to online student collaboration.
Let’s take a step back before the Google search even happened. I was mulling over the readings for this week, and had clicked around on the Flat Classroom information. This year, for a couple reasons, I’ve been introduced to the Flat Classroom approach. A colleague of mine is taking the Flat Classroom teacher course so it’s been a topic of discussion and we also looked at running Digiteen at UNIS but it didn’t fly with the kids.
So, following this week’s instructions I googled “online collaborative projects for students“.
I didn’t realize that Flat Classroom represents the tip of the iceberg when it comes to online collaborative projects. I only sifted through page one of search results and realized there is a treasure trove of resources and projects that I had no idea existed.
However, as I happily clicked away my elation started to wane. I just couldn’t seem to find projects that would work for my students in regards to content and age groups. Or, and this is a big one, the timing is not right. I wonder if teachers in other subjects (I’m a humanities teacher) feel the same?
In trying to stay optimistic, I do see a couple possible solutions to this:
- instead of focusing on content match ups, focus on skills match ups. For instance, the Flat Classroom’s eracism project develops research and debate skills, holding asynchronous debates via voicethread and synchronous ones later in the process. Very cool.
- propose a new project and see who joins in. Near the top of my search results, I found Global SchoolNet’s Projects Registry which “is the Internet’s oldest (1995) and largest clearinghouse for teacher-conducted global learning projects.”
Do you have any more solutions to add to this list?