So, it all happened when we were tossing around ideas on #whatisschool chat! It is one of the coolest chats, because you meet people/educators from all over the world!
We were talking about 21st Century skills and a “global classroom” – see my thoughts about a low-tech 21st
century classroom here. A few of us started to get excited about setting up various technological arrangements (Blogs, Voxer, FaceTime, Google+, etc) to facilitate an international collaborative project. This could look like several different things…
Basic Level: Cultural Show and Tell
When students are learning about cultures/civilization/society, they could gather information about their own culture and organize/categorize the information to share with others. I can picture categories like food, religion, customs, holidays, school, “day in the life”, local government, local industry, adult life, student life, transportation, sports, hobbies, entertainment, common problems, subgroups, haves/have nots, politics, etc…. Students could poll each other about the most popular things/trends and present information in a wide variety of ways. They could do in depth audio diaries on Voxer, blogs, sm accounts (twitter), skype, etc… With enough mini-topics it could be an ongoing/episode/chapter driven share schedule. This creates a great audience for our students and provides a framework for them to discover about themselves and another culture. Students could create their own categories, and even a rubric by which to evaluate their work (the international “others” could evaluate their presentations). This would be an exchange situation of course – kids from different classrooms sharing the same info but special for their culture/country. Maybe they could collaborate on the rubric and goals of the project. This is a low level collaborative activity – it’s really about awareness and sharing different cultural information – not actual teamwork.
Higher Level: United Nations Current Event study
Students from two or more international perspectives study a current event through a PBL framework. As they learn about this real life situation or problem – they could work in collaboration online (via Voxer, blog, social media, FaceTime, or Skype) and follow the PBL process to research the issues and/or the international problem. It would be interesting to analyze how different people have different processes to investigate a problem and different perspectives on a similar event. Students could pair up and work together to share information and make decisions about furthering the research and making this “entry event” into a driving question to try out in their two different locations.
Students could also look through a political and geographic lens as they survey others in their community about questions related to the situation. This would require quite a not of research design collaboration. How do make sure all those surveyed understand the current event. What do certain answers mean?
On a more complex level, students could extend the pbl process to predict outcomes of current events and engage in a parallel UN deliberating, predicting, and interacting to make decisions/resolutions about international events.
Students would have to conduct a survey of their country and the different viewpoints within it then predict what policy or decisions would be made in the wake of the crisis. This could also lead into more reflection and interaction to understand why predictions didn’t come true. Students could interact in a formal way – modeled after the UN.
These are just ideas to get the ball rolling.