As instructed in this week’s course document, I attempted to embrace online collaborative projects and began a search for ones beyond those shared in the required reading. Having no idea where to start, I went with the comfortable google search, typing in a variety of phrases with the hope I would hit upon something useful. Sadly, as many of my searches go, I found myself hitting one dead end after another. I suspect this is why my patience usually runs out with searching for anything online. It’s the broken links and the expired pages that provide the endless shouting and final determination that whatever I was searching for couldn’t have been that important after all. Yet I persevered in the name of education and fear of a failing grade, and eventually hit upon GlobalSchoolNet.Org and The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education. Although neither of these sites appears to be useful for my own classroom, I started to get a sense of what this whole online collaborative project thing is all about. There were endless documents and groups for me to join.
Later while reading the Horizon Report 2011, I was reminded why we need to introduce our students whenever possible to different technologies and how to connect globally. The beauty of online project is the higher level thinking; it’s not about the tools, but the thought process. I have used Wikis in the past to help students share with their classmates while at home, and last year I began an Edmodo experiment to encourage communication between students. I have attempted online collaborative, but never on a global scale. I was feeling ready, excited about this new challenge to help my students become better global citizens.
And then the power went out in my house. After turning on the generator, my internet was out and the connection struggled to come back, despite the battery power for the router. Google docs still won’t load and I can’t seem to maintain a connection for more than ten minutes before having to switch back to gmail html. This is the reality of millions world wide. I am not alone. I have mentioned my concerns before, yet they come up again and again. My students simply do not have the online access that their peers across the globe have. How will they ever catch up? How can they explore online collaborative groups when they can barely check email?
Reflecting upon my selection for my post title, which is a paraphrased quote from To Kill A Mockingbird, I don’t believe my students and I shouldn’t try. We will continue to exercise patience and gather all the learning we can from the pieces of technology we can get our hands on.