DIFFERENT KINDS OF COLLABORATIVEPROJECTS : Interpersonal Exchange Where students communicate through traditional mail, email, chats, forums, video conferencing or other means.Example: http://www.epals.comProject : Holidays and Festivals Around the World In this project, students will learn how holidays and festivals are celebrated all over the globe. This project is designed so that it can be done as a single classroom project with students collaborating in pairs or small groups and using various sources such as books, the Internet and the ePals student forums for research, or, if you have access to email in your classroom as a collaborative email project.
INFORMATION COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS Many projects involve the collection, analysis, and sharing of information. If you live in a rural area, connect with an urban school. If you live in the mountains, exchange ideas with people who live on the coast. At CIESE (Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education), we can find lots of great data collection science projects.For example: The Square of Life Project This Internet-based collaborative project will allow your students to share information about the plants, animals and non-living objects found in their schoolyard environment with other students from around the country and the world. Participants will: Identify living and non-living things in their school yards. Share their findings with other participating classes. Look for similarities and differences in the reported data.
PROBLEM SOLVING In many projects, students are faced with a problem to be solved. In solving the problem, students may need to organize information into charts or graphs, make notations on maps, or analyze data. National Math Trail involves problems with math and Classroom Anatomy involves human body science projects.
TYPES OF PROBLEM SOLVING ACTIVITIES Peer Feedback Activities - ask students to collaborate through sharing ideas and providing peer review or clues in solving a problem. Parallel Problem Solving -allows students to work on similar problems at the same time and share their results. Sequential Problem Solving -involves students in a series of problem solving activities over time. Each problem may build on others. Telepresent Problem Solving -involves students working through problems live. Simulations -let students explore real-world issues without the consequences of impacting the world. Social Action projects - let students have a real impact on the world.
LOCATING PROJECTSExplore Directories : Use online resources to help you find good projects. Collaborative Projects from Education World Internet Projects Directory from Lightspans Global SchoolNet Finding Collaborative Projects on the Web from Savvy Cyber Teacher, Stevens Institute of TechnologyInterpersonal exchange websites: ePALs Classroom Exchange Gaggle.Net - email for kidsOthers directories and lists of projects: NickNacks Telecollaborate! Class2Class from Math Forum Classroom Projects from CIESE Online KIDPROJ from Kidlink - all curricular areas
EXPLORE SEARCH ENGINES You can also use search engines to locate projects. Open your favorite search engine, and use the following words to help you find projects: topic (or content area) + keyword epals key pals collaboration online projects student project video conferencing online activities chat email project student forum Flat Stanley online discussion travel buddy data collection telecollaborate
SELECTING PROJECTSThere are many types of online collaborative projects across all grade levels and content areas. As you select a project, ask yourself. Why is this project important? What does this project do that cant be done in a traditional classroom? How does this project provide a unique experience for my students?
PROJECT SIZE You have to now size of your project and if the project will be done between teachers, classes, small groups, or individuals. The Teeth Project is a small project that involves student sharing information about their teeth and teacher using email to communicate this information. The Multicultural Project involves students individually submitting their ideas through email
PROJECT LENGTH Also you have to know if the project will be a one- shot, short term, long term, ongoing, or flexible environment. One Shots: Groundhog Day, Space Day, ReadIn, ArborDay Short Term: Iditarod, Journey North Ongoing: Math Project Flexible: Bullying
PARTICIPANT BACKGROUND There are many questions which you have to ask before starting with the project: Does the project include people from similar or different backgrounds? What about the location of the people? Are there other considerations such as socioeconomic, age, gender, and personal interests? Does the project fit your grade level? Are the materials and activities age appropriate? Will students find the project interesting and motivating? Do the participant backgrounds fit your needs?
CONTENT AREA FOCUS Social Studies projects can involve cultural understanding, community, country, world, past, present, future, time, movement, people, places, ideas, and multiple perspectives. Cultural Projects: Holidays, Multicultural Recipes People Projects: My Hero Math and Science projects can involve topics such as life, physical and earth science, scientific inquiry, math in everyday life etc. Reading and Writing projects involve students in sharing book reviews, discussing chapters of books, and writing alternative endings. Reading: Grandmother Writing: Through My Eyes, KidWriters Interdisciplinary projects combine subject of different fields. Cross Subjects: Trees, Globe GeoProjects: Postcard Geography, Electronic Post Cards Community: Grocery Bags
PROJECT RELEVANCE Is important what relevance will have your project, you can choose from four types of projects depending on your needs. Authentic Sharing- involves students in using real-world resources, activities, and experiences. Students may collect the data themselves or use existing data sets. For example you can find good realtime data and primary resources on the web. Information Processing- asks students to collect, organize, analyze, write, and share information. Projects which involve math and science skills: M&M project , Watts Up, Scienceathono Question and Answer- projects may involve interviews, ask- an-expert activities. Expert sites : Stevens Institute Index, Mad Scientist, Expert Central, Ask+ Locator, Ask-An-Expert, and Ask Thomas Jefferson.o Interactive projects- involve students in exchanging information or ideas . For example, the Monster Exchange involves students drawing pictures and writing stories.
APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY You can use different technology: Traditional Mail projects involve old fashioned surface mail or snail mail. Flat Stanley based on the story of a boy who is paper thin and can be sent through the mail. The Farms Around the World project is a Flat Stanley project were Stanley visits farms. Email is one of the most popular technologies used in projects. Students can send attachments including sound, graphics, and video files. Kidlink contains many email projects. Geoanimals involves sharing visuals. Online Discussions can be live or delayed. For example, chats and live video discussions. In NiceNet you can build your own discussion. Video Conferencing can bring both video and audio into your classroom through meetings and other events. You can include experts in your classroom activities from around the world. video conferencing directory classroom conferencing page
ADAPTING PROJECTS Adapt for Resources Sometimes a project concept is good, but the resources or information need to be modified. For example, you might use new data, websites, or books for an effective project. Also consider adding new channels of communication such as audio, video, or graphics. Adapt for Best There are sometimes multiple projects on the same topic. Youll want to examine each project and take the best elements in building your project. Adapt for Level Many times youll find a good project thats at the wrong grade, ability, or interest level. Think of ways that it could be adapted for your class. For example, you might use a different example to guide the project. Adapt for a Region Some projects are created for a particular time or place. For example, the project may be based on a field trip to a particular museum. The key is to brainstorm ideas and modify the project to fit your needs. Extend a Project There are many projects that appear as ideas rather than established projects. Think about finishing an incomplete project or adding something new to a project. The key is to update the resources to fit your needs. For example, theres a great project call TEAMS with many ideas to adapt.
CREATING PROJECTS When youre ready to create your own project, use the following steps to design your project. Identify a Project Concept Brainstorm possible topics with your students. Pick a topic that is appealing to students, meets standards, involves higher order thinking skills, and enhances learning for all participants. Choose a catchy theme and title. Match the project concept to curriculum outcomes and standards. Identify content, information, and technology standards. Match outcomes to specific assessments. Keep the project as simple as possible and practical. Focus on a few specific questions or problems. Develop a plan for sharing results. Set aside lots of personal time for planning. Be prepared ahead of the project start time.
CREATING PROJECTS Identify Technology Identify the technology that the host and participants will need. Select technology for gathering, organizing, and sharing information. Design a "Call for Participation" Create a plan and stick to it. Plan and try out all procedures, Create a list of requirement materials. Develop a set of project guidelines. Create a list of requirements for the program. Create a timeline, master schedule, and list of key dates.
CREATING PROJECTS Create a Timeline Identify registration open and close dates. Identify beginning and ending dates for the project. Develop a plan for participant contact and notification. Identify key dates and times within the project. Create a Participant List Create a participant mailing list such as email, eboard, egroup, listserv. Create a separate host email account. Send weekly email updates for communication and epostcards for fun. Send reminders and thank yous.
CREATING A CALL FOR PARTICIPATION Overview of Project for Potential Participants Topic/Title Content/Curriculum Areas Outcomes/Standards Overview/Summary Target Audience, Ages of Participants Timeline or Schedule (begin/end) Registration information & Dates Participant Requirements (location) Type/Level of Interaction Technology Needed Format Used (email, chat, video conferencing, forum) Procedure (project description and assessment) How to Participate Contact Person
QS TO EVALUATE CALL FOR PARTICIPATION Is the project title and theme interesting and reflective of the activities? Are the content and curriculum areas clearly stated? Are the content area goals and objective, outcomes, and/or standards clear? Do the outcomes match the activities and assessments? Is the project summary clear, descriptive, and concise? Are the activities including information to be exchanged detailed? Is the target audience, grade level and/or age of the participants stated? Is the timeline and schedule of the program clearly stated including a beginning and end? Are registration times included? Is the type and level of participant interaction clearly described? Is the technology required complete including hardware, computer/student ratio, software, and time needed on line? Is the format used for communication and information exchange stated such as email, chat, video conferencing, forum, web, and traditional mail? Are the procedures for the project clearly described and realistic? Are directions provided for registration and/or participation? Are the number of participants and size of the project described? Is contact information included? Is an email address and website addressed provided?
QS TO EVALUATE PROJECT MATERIALS Are the project guidelines comprehensive? Are the lesson plans complete? Do the activities describe what students will do (Observation, Discussion/Analysis, Creation/Synthesis, Exchange, Evaluation)? Are classroom management ideas included? Are student materials (such as worksheets, guidelines) age appropriate? Is a list of participants available? Are student assessments and project evaluations included?
IMPLEMENTING THE PROJECT Seven Safety Rules for Participants Use first names only Provide no personal information Never share a password Never agree to meet someone Tell a teacher about inappropriate messages Dont attach names to pictures Ask the receiver before sending attachments
Find and Recruit Partners Start small (someone across the hall or across town), then large. Post the project on websites. Find a teacher in town or online. Remember, if you send email, plan on only 10% of the people responding. When you recruit, use a call for participation. State specifics such as timeline, technology needed, and project goals. Keep the number of participants reasonable. If you get too many participants, chunk the project into pieces.
Field Test Try the project out with one school first. Practice sharing files and information. Try out your procedures. Preproject Preparation Know your hardware and software. Test the system ahead of time. Anticipate problems.
Implement Connect with participants through email. Find help. Meet deadlines and send reminders. Provide help and encouragement. Stay flexible within your plan. Have fun! Design a project headquarters.
Conclude Find the project and thank everyone. Share outcomes. Keep in touch with participant Evaluate Keep a journal of what worked and what didnt work. Ask participants and students for help in evaluation. Start with a small project. For example, you might team with a teacher in another school in your district or a teacher youve met at a conference. Keep the project simple and realistic.
Collaboration: Ask-An-Expert Selecting a Project (why and when?) Choosing an Expert (examine online resources, read background info) Preparing the Expert (introduce yourself and the project, ask about time frame) Preparing your Students (brainstorm about the topic or profession, visualize ideas in a graphic organizer or chart, consider questions to ask) Designing the questions (generate a list of Qs together, ask class to prioritize, focus on high-level Qs) Submitting the Questions (create a short email with an overview of your class and reason for submission, include a Q or a short series of related Qs, number them and leave space in between, create a class email account, put a student in charge of checking the mail every day) Waiting for Answering (to avoid a long wait, choose a timely expert) Beyond Web Experts (e.g. look for an expert among parents)
Book Review Projects How can I find a good book? Where can my students post a book review? What websites have ideas for reading and writing projects?See Face-to-face and Virtual Book Clubs
Contests, Fairs, and Publishing: Sharing On The Web Where can I find places where my students can publish projects on the web? Online What kinds of contests are available for children? Hundreds of online publishing opportunities, contests, fairs, promotions, and tournaments occur every year. Students enjoy sharing their work with a real audience. Whether sharing their writing or artistic skills, there are many places where students can publish their work online. Students love participating in special events and activities. Whats ThinkQuest and why is it so popular? Many collaborative projects contain a content element. For example both Cyberfair and ThinkQuest involve students in developing meaningful web-based projects. These websites are then shared this other participates and judged by a panel.
Online Annual Events A great way to help students reach outside their school and participate in an important activity. These events provide an easy way for teachers to get involved with using technology for a practical project. How do I participate ? What kinds of activities can my class do during these events? What hardware and software do I need to participate in events?
Face-to-Face and Virtual Author & Illustrator Visits A great way to get your students excited about reading, writing, and illustration How do I set up an author visit or interview? Where can I find authors that will chat online with my students? How do I plan a visit?
Face-to-Face and Virtual Book Clubs & Reading Groups A great way to get your students involved with reading and sharing, participating in book clubs and book review projects. The activities range from formal reading groups to informally sharing favorite books Reading Students begin by reading high-quality trade books that inspire them to think, ask questions, and make connections to their own lives. Writing As they read, students record their responses in reading logs. Over time, each student builds a repertoire of response types that includes a wide variety of personal, creative, and critical responses. Student-led Book Clubs Groups of four to five students share ideas from their reading logs. As students become more comfortable with the format, their conversations flow more naturally. Community Share Ideally, a book club is a heterogeneously mixed group, representing the diversity of gender, race, ethnicity, economic background, and academic abilities in the classroom. A students understanding of a text is enhanced by interacting with other readers.
Online Collaborative Projects: Doing a Travel Buddy Project Starting a ProjectSelect or create something to share through conventional mail (e.g. Flat Stanley, beanie baby).Put the senders name and return address and email address on the object or the box.Create a list of participants. Or, select an address from the list of participants.Send an email to be sure that the school still wants to participate.Mail the object along with a laminated sheet of directions, worksheet originals, a blank journal, adisposable camera, a book to read, or other interesting activity starters (possibly the weather, what we did today, what we learned...)You may want to include return postage depending on the project. Receiving a Travel BuddyIf the object is a Flat Stanley or stuffed animal, treat it like a visitor to your classroom.If possible, send an e-mail to the sender confirming that the mail has arrived and estimating a date ofreturn.Have student volunteers take it home and complete the journal or activity.Be sure to send the object to the next person on the list or the sender as soon as the project is over.Consider including a souvenirs with the project such as a T-shirt, maps, stickers, pin, or photographs ofthe experience. Include photos or videos of the experience. Tips for SuccessBe sure to label your object before sending it out. Include your name, address, and email address.Figure out the most durable, but cheapest way to send your project.To save money, send your Flat Stanley as an email attachment and forget traditional mail.Only use students first names in corresponding with other schools.