The Quest for Digital Literacy

Learning in a 1:1 Classroom

Global Connections for Learning

Friendship Map

Any teacher with a computer, and internet connection, and a bit of determination can offer students some powerful learning opportunities.  You don’t have to look far.  Fact is, plenty of teachers are already looking for you.

When I walked into my first classroom four years ago, I had planned to se a thematic unit on newspapers to help my kids learn about their community.  While Googling for information, I found, a site with many project-based learning activities.  One of those activities was called Newsday.  Newsday helped students from different parts of the world create and share newspapers about their communities.  Our efforts with Newsday netted seven partner schools from around the world.  We created a 40-page newspaper, sold advertising to our community, made a substantial profit, learned a lot about parts of our world, and made some great new friends.  We invested our money in some camera equipment.

In my second year, we continued our Newsday project, making friends with eight more classroom.  We created three smaller newspapers that year.  They averaged about 20 pages each and led my students into a deeper understanding of the workings of our community.  They studied history, culture, government, service organizations, public safety, business, and natural resources.

During that year, I ran across ePals, an organization that helps schools connect by posting their projects on their site.  We did another half-dozen projects with individual schools.  We traded school mascots and stories with a school in Iceland and did a Christmas project with a school in France.  We studied various aspects of world peace with a school in Spain and helped students at a school in Italy learn and practice English.  We traded experiences with learning with technology with a school in India and learned a lot of things about scarecrows from a school in Japan.

Then one day, about midway through the school year, I got an email from a school in Israel.  The teacher’s name was Marsha Goren.  She had seen me on ePals and invited me to do a project with her and her students.  Their school was Ein Ganim School in Petach Tikva.  They had already done projects with more than 200 schools and had their own website,  Their belief was that if they could help enough children around the world become friends, perhaps when they grew up, they would still be friendly. I could write volumes about the projects with did with them, and the days ahead, I probably will.

In my next post, I will write about the Global Virtual Classroom Challenge and the project that earned us, Marsha, and a new friend from Illinois world-wide recognition.


December 16, 2009 - Posted by | 1:1 Classroom |

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