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  1. 1. By Mali Bickley and Jim Carleton Students Without Borders 38 Global Collaborative Learning Connects School to the Real WorldT  eachers from middle school on world so they can work together on that allow for a grassroots style of up are familiar with the com- projects that make a difference lo- learning and questioning enrich stu- plaints of students questioning cally and globally. It is about building dents’ critical thinking skills. Whatthe need for instruction they think relationships and achieving authentic, better way to learn about such difficultthey’ll never use once they get out of meaningful learning. And it lends subjects as war, natural disasters, childschool. In contrast, lessons that have purpose to lessons and drives just-in- soldiers, and segregated educationan obvious practical purpose or, better time learning for teachers as well as than from other students who areyet, make a clear difference in the real students as they become co-learners. involved? They learn with the worldworld right now, seem to make sense Organizations such as the Interna- rather than just about the world.and to engage their interest. tional Education and Resource Net- Using information and commu- work (iEARN) and TakingITGlobal New Perspectivesnication technology (ICT), such as facilitate collaborative partnerships The Machinto Project is a K–12Web conferencing and wikis, to con- between classrooms, students, com- literature-based iEARN program thatnect students to their peers in other munities, and educational partners draws inspiration from the Japanesecountries and cultures is one way to around the globe. These projects use picture book Machinto, which is aboutengage our students. But it’s not just ICT to help students work together to a 3-year-old girl who is outside play-about technology. Global collaborative accomplish meaningful tasks, solve ing in Hiroshima, Japan, on the morn-learning is about connecting students problems, and learn new perspectives ing of August 6, 1945. She is tragi-in communities of learners around the from their peers. Creative processes cally killed by the atomic bomb but isCopyright © 2009, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), 1.800.336.5191 (U.S. & Canada) or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l),, All rights reserved.20  Learning & Leading with Technology  |  November 2009
  2. 2. Third and fourth grade Because real children and real-world issues are part of the project, students from Yasu- the tasks they perform become incredibly engaging and inspiring. tomi North Elementary School in Hyogo- ken, Japan, collabo- Machinto participants located at about the project in a profound way: rated with Canadian schools throughout the world had the “Before the Machinto project, I never students on a mural chance to meet each other during a gave the war much thought. Now depicting what each live Web conference. They participat- that I know someone living in those learned about an ed in a literature circle during a virtual situations, I feel compassionate toward environmental issue in its partner’s country. class-to-class meeting and shared them.” This kind of character develop- their stories, poems, and artwork in ment, though immeasurable, is an in- a “classroom without borders” with valuable learning experience. resurrected as a peace peers from Canada, Taiwan, Japan, dove that brings hope to Mali, and the United States. It was a Collaboration across the Curriculum other children in the world who life-changing experience for both the You can integrate global collabora-are affected by war. teachers and the students involved, tive projects into all curriculum areas, Students learn about how war af- as having that personal connection so they aren’t just time-consumingfects children their own age in the past to others reinforced the relationships add-ons, and they meet curriculumas well as in the present day. They they developed through the project. standards in all subject areas. For ex-also read other books with a similar The Machinto Project’s collabora- ample, one project that fits many K–12theme, such as Sadako and the Thou- tions open up dialogue about issues curriculum strands is the My Herosand Paper Cranes and Peace Crane, that are normally not discussed in Project.and learn to make both text-to-text elementary school classrooms, and in At the My Hero website, studentsand text-to-world connections. the process, students get to experience can publish essays about their heroes The culminating task for the discussions and friendships that reach for a global audience. Entire classesproject is the creation of a picture well beyond the walls of traditional can also participate in the projectbook with the theme of peace and learning. Because real children and within a formal global “Learningfriendship. Every participant makes real-world issues are part of the proj- Circle” of six to eight classes fromhis or her own book to publish on ect, the tasks they perform become countries all over the world.the Machinto website. The program incredibly engaging and inspiring. A project facilitator coordinatesalso sends the collection of books to Our students were able to ask oth- activities for all of the classes in thechildren in war-affected areas of the ers who lived in war-affected countries circle. Each class is responsible forworld as a gift of friendship from the what it was like to live in such challeng- completing and posting class interestproject participants. ing situations. Last year’s partners in- surveys on group forums, sending wel- This year, our students created pic- cluded participants from Palestine and come packages to the other classes inture books about how they imagined Israel, where students were able to com- their circle, and participating in onlinepeace and sent them to a school in municate with others in the Gaza strip circle discussions about their heroes.Kandahar, Afghanistan. The amount while a conflict was occurring there. Students research and write about aof work, care, and thought the stu- The students get to view each other hero in their lives using a structureddents put into their writing and art- through a different lens than if they writing-process tool and create a web-work showed the depth of connection had been left to learn about each other page about the hero with publishingthey had to the project and to their through contemporary media alone. tools (found on the eCreate page ofpeers in Afghanistan. One student articulated her feelings the My Hero site). These tools enable Copyright © 2009, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), 1.800.336.5191 (U.S. & Canada) or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l),, All rights reserved. November 2009  |  Learning & Leading with Technology  21
  3. 3. Knowing that their stories are to be part of a worldwide project and having the ability to share their work are huge motivators for many reluctant writers.Learn More about students to include pictures, Web springboard to integrating technologyGlobal Collaborative Learning links, bibliographies, and quotations. into their classrooms while partici-For more ways to engage students At the end of the project, each class pating in collaborative learning, aswith the real world while teaching has a professional-looking webpage the project is so successful with stu-them about the curriculum and other that features My Hero stories from dents of every age group.cultures, tune in to the ISTE webinar each participant. “Learning WITH the World: Using Knowing that their stories are to be Artful ConnectionsTechnology to Connect Students part of a worldwide project and hav- The Art Miles project is a collab-Globally in Project-Based Learning.” ing the ability to share their work are orative global project that helps geo-In this presentation, available at www. huge motivators for many reluctant graphically distant K–12 classes, Mali Bickley and writers. In fact, we have seen students about a specific aspect of each other’sJim Carleton give educators more who had never before finalized a piece country. This year, several classes fromexamples of projects that teach of written work produce an inspiring Japan partnered with classes fromhigher-order and critical-thinking skills My Hero story. Canada, Indonesia, Russia, Vietnam,while helping students develop real Students can also produce short Italy, and Fiji. As the program ex-and meaningful relationships with films about their heroes. Several pands, other countries will be addedtheir peers around the world. fourth grade students from W. H. as partners, including Romania and Day Elementary School in Bradford, the United States. Ontario, Canada, wrote, filmed, pro- The students’ primary job is to duced, and edited a short film about teach their partners about a specific their hero, Mohamed Sidibay, a for- aspect of their own country or culture. mer child soldier from Sierra Leone Each class begins their participation they had supported and communi- by preparing and sending a welcome cated with for several years. They sub- package of gifts from their culture mitted the final product to a national to introduce their community to the Canadian multimedia competition other class. The students put a great and won first place in the elementary deal of thought and effort into this school category for their film. package. Our Ontario class sent Cana- These projects also allow for dif- dian flags; maps; hockey cards; maple ferentiation within the summative syrup; a small Canadian sweater; aISTE also recently released the book and assessment pieces while encour- variety of Canadian tales, such asGlobal Education: Using Technology aging all participants to reach their “The Paper Bag Princess;” and infor-to Bring the World to your Students. potential. We encourage teachers to mation about an environmental issueAuthor Laurence Peters explains participate in the My in our region. In return, our Japanesehow to integrate global collaborative Hero project as a partners sent origami paper,projects into your curriculum using Japanese cartoons, JapaneseWeb 2.0 tools and existing global games, and books thatnetworks such as iEarn, GlobalSchoolhouse, and ePals, supportedby case studies, lesson plans, and Canadian fourth graders sent theirhundreds of resources for bringing handmade books about peace,global education opportunities to inspired by the Japanese picturestudents of every subject area and book Machinto, to students ingrade level. You can find Global the war-affected town of Kandahar, Afghanistan (left). Student-createdEducation at the ISTE Bookstore paper cranes were dedicated in the( name of peace at the Hiroshima War—Megan Dolman, Books Sales Memorial in Japan (right).& Marketing Specialist, ISTECopyright © 2009, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), 1.800.336.5191 (U.S. & Canada) or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l),, All rights reserved.22  Learning & Leading with Technology  |  November 2009
  4. 4. Welcome to K12IMC.ORG Over 2,200 Fourth grade with 5,000 other Art Miles murals at carefully students at the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt, selected and W. H. Day to celebrate the end of the UNESCO Elemen- annotated tary School in Decade of Peace in 2010. resources Bradford, On- We encourage teachers who have provide you tario, Canada, been participating in global collabora- with the tools and Resources for wrote, filmed, tive learning projects to mentor and you need to the K-12 community produced, and support other teachers who are begin- create exciting, edited a short topical lesson plans and ning the journey of integrating such film about their role curriculum. Like an Instructional models to share with projects into their programs. It may Media Center in the real world, peers around the world take more energy to plan for these you will find... through the My Hero Project. learning experiences than traditional, • a solid foundation for hierarchical, top-down learning, but supporting standards and that model was better suited for the assessment practices,depict the Japanese culture and envi- Industrial Age. Once we saw how theseronment. Each class also prepared a projects engage students and effectively • classroom projects, lessons, teach 21st-century skills, we knew we units, field trips, extendedshort video that gave a tour of their studies, and internationalschool and community. had a responsibility to continue teach- databases in almost every The students communicated ing with them. We also knew that we subject and across subjects,through a wiki, where they posted had to showcase our students’ work—photos, told stories, and planned work that is powerful and moving and • references and projects to speaks to our common humanity—so challenge your students,their final collaborative task, paint-ing a 12-by-5-foot mural. For their that administrators and parents can • ideas & resources to integratepart of this task, the Japanese students see how ICT changes the way we teach the new media tools,painted half of the mural about what and learn as well as how we engage our • tips for school, family, industry,they learned about the Canadian en- students to be responsible and literate and community partnerships,vironmental issue. They then shipped citizens in a global information society. • tools for planning, using andthe mural to us, and we completed it Resources managing your ownbased on what we learned about the environment, Art Miles project: environmental issue. The end International Education and Resource Networkresult was a truly inspiring depiction • professional development and (iEARN): publishing opportunities.of an important part of each coun- Machinto project: www.machinto.orgtry’s environment, a symbol of the My Hero project: The K-12 Instructional Mediaclasses’ collaborative relationship, and TakingITGlobal: Center is chockfull of the best-of-a demonstration of how technology breed resources for designing, Mali Bickley has been a class-can seamlessly integrate science, art, implementing, and refreshing room teacher for 27 years. Sheand literacy while celebrating cultural lesson plans and curriculum. integrates technology into herdiversity through the universal lan- classroom program to connect Your One-Stop Resourceguage of art. her students to global partners as they work together on proj- For Curriculum And We will display the mural aroundour community before it goes back ects that make a difference. Professional Japan to be part of the Japanese Jim Carleton is an ICT con- Used as a professional development resource by the Stanford School ofstudents’ graduation ceremony. From sultant for the Simcoe County Education and the Exploratorium,there, it will become part of a traveling District School Board in Ontar- is a non-profit resource, io, Canada. He is a strong advo- maintained by Dr. Bonnie exhibit that will be displayed  cate for using new and emergingat major art galleries throughout the technologies in ways that Check it out today!world before ending up in an exhibit inspire students and teachers. Copyright © 2009, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), 1.800.336.5191 (U.S. & Canada) or 1.541.302.3777 (Int’l),, All rights reserved. November 2009  |  Learning & Leading with Technology  23