- Find like-minded educators
- Design curriculum outcomes
- Select tools that all participants can access
- Manage the collaboration for success
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Successful online global collaborations require some structure and planning. Educators need to be aware that planning that includes design and implementation is paramount to engaging students and building in success for global learning.
In a design for action mode the essential strategies for successful collaboration include the following:
Newcomers to global collaboration may find it easier to join an existing project or implementation that already has experienced educators who are leading the collaboration. This often provides a shortcut to best practices and a ready-made PLN for support. For those wanting to design, run and manage their own global collaborations the Online Global Collaboration Taxonomy may provide the key.
The Online Global Collaboration Taxonomy, explained briefly here, provides FIVE ways to move into online global collaboration. It shares the type of collaboration, purpose and communication mode as well as current examples to get started.
Level 1: Online interactions
This level applies to asynchronous communication and involves sharing online learning via digital platforms for others to interact with. Examples for this include class and individual blog posts as well as digital artifacts posted online for others to view and comment on.
Level 2: Real encounters
The goal of this level is to connect in real time using whatever tool is available to those connecting. This may be Skype or Google Hangout or other video or chat-based apps. Synchronous interaction means learning is instant and participants can ask questions, share media and build understanding of each others in a very short time. The ‘mystery Skype’ is a typical examples of this ‘real encounter’ level, As is bringing experts in to support curriculum objectives.
Level 3: Online learning
The aim of this level is to encourage learning through digital interaction and sharing of artifacts. It applies to the development of online communities to support curriculum objectives and may be localized (between classes and schools in the same geographic region), or more global. The learning focus is asynchronous interaction, although some serendipitous synchronous (real time) communication may take place, such as a chat facility for participants. Examples include student or teacher led online communities to support curriculum objectives such as MOOCs, discussion forums, and platforms that share multimedia. Projects like Global SchoolNet Cyberfair, PenPal Schools and eTwinning provide opportunity and resources to learn collaboratively online as part of this level.
Level 4: Communities of practice
As distinct from Level 3, this level is designed for the purpose of specific learning objectives as a global community of learners. Communication can be both synchronous and asynchronous. The community of practice would normally have a shared objective such as a global collaborative project and probably a set timeline that dictates workflow and communication patterns. The essential goal is to foster authentic and diverse online global collaborative practices. Examples include the very popular ‘Global Read Aloud’ where a small group of classrooms are joined together for the purpose of reading a book over a few weeks. The Flat Connections, ‘A Week in the Life’ project for upper elementary school is also a good example here where teachers and students create a community around the exploration of global issues and share ideas and create multimedia artifacts together.
Level 5: Learning Collaboratives
The purpose of this community is a little harder to grasp and basically it is about fostering learner autonomy for online global collaboration. Each member of the collaborative (educator, student, community partner) has the confidence and ability to initiate collaborations and co-creations within the collaborative. The learning paradigm is redesigned to encourage students to take leadership roles and in doing so co-create solutions to global problems and challenges. The Connect with China Collaborative is an example of this level, where ways to connect between China and other places are explored to increase global collaborative opportunities for learning that include educational institutions and diverse community members.
Remember - Designing a global collaborative experience involves transcending the obvious real time linkup, fostering higher order thinking and providing opportunities for cultural understanding while usually making a product that impacts others in a positive way. Use the Online Global Collaboration Taxonomy to start building this today!
Explore more ways to connect your learning and embrace online global collaborative practices in Julie Lindsay’s book The Global Educator: Leveraging technology for collaborative learning and teaching.
Don’t forget to tweet using hashtag #theglobaleducator when sharing collaborations and best practices for global learning!
This post was cross-posted from the ISTE EdTekHub July 19, 2016
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The following blog post comes from the new book by Julie Lindsay, "The Global Educator: Leveraging technology for collaborative learning and teaching" published by ISTE.
Building collaboration skills today means building global collaboration skills. Educators have their work cut out for them
The latter, in truth, is what all educators and learners should be aspiring toward, but the reality is you cannot run before you can walk. Unless educators understand and experience the power of using digital technologies for online collaboration in a local context first, it is likely that jumping head-first into global contexts — with its myriad challenges — will not be successful.
Emerging approaches to digital scholarship question what knowledge is, how it is gained, and how it is shared. Digital technology provides for differentiation, accountability, and visibility in the learning process. For collaborative learning, the internet provides the platform for engaged learning, deeper understanding, and some exciting outcomes.
What does that mean for today’s student? In practical terms, it means collaboration can take on a whole new persona. Collaboration as an inquiry-based, higher-order-thinking and problem-solving skill is now just as possible virtually as it is face to face, and online collaboration, by its very nature, implies synchronous as well as asynchronous working modes. In other words, if logistics are accounted for, students can Skype with peers in Hong Kong or trade private messages to them with equal ease. As educators, we need to understand this paradigm shift and know how to bring digital collaboration into the learning environment.
Attributes of online global collaborationLearning does not happen in isolation. Learning is social, and individual creation can, or more pointedly should, become collaborative creation in many instances. Students develop understanding about the world through working together with others, by sharing ideas and outcomes. As global educators, we need to consider how to bring online collaboration into our learning environment. We also need to understand how to go beyond synchronous to also support asynchronous online collaborations. This involves embracing new pedagogies and new pedagogical capacity, namely a teacher’s repertoire of teaching strategies and partnerships for learning. We can always learn about something; however, the goal for online (leading to global) collaboration is to learn with others, and to build understanding together.
Definition: Online global collaboration broadly refers to geographically dispersed educators, classrooms, and schools that use online learning environments and digital technologies to learn with others beyond their immediate environment in order to support curricular objectives, intercultural understandings, critical thinking, personal and social capabilities, and ICT capabilities.
What skills should a global educator have?True online global collaboration takes place when students with different cultures and points of view gather information and co-create artifacts together, building knowledge and sharing with the world. Schools that foster this type of learning must have:
- Engaged, connected, and digitally fluent educators who know how to communicate using Web 2.0 and other online tools
- Carefully planned and designed global collaborations that are implemented and managed with a view to effectively join classrooms together to enhance learning and support co-created outcomes
- Common assessment objectives between global partners
- High expectations and requirements for connectivity, contribution and collaboration on educators and students
- Community partners who provide new knowledge, skills and resources for the online learning community
- Multimedia savvy to pitch ideas to solve real-world problems
- Educator or student initiated themes and student-managed learning
- Student autonomy in learning, and an ability to initiate online collaborations
- Peer-to-peer learning that transcends cooperation and supports new collaborative digital modes
- Online publishing and sharing modes that make use of Web 2.0 platforms and social media.
The eight norms of online global collaboration
- Be Prepared (connect, communicate)
- Have a Purpose
- Be able to Paraphrase
- Be able to Perceive
- Make sure you Participate
- Be Positive
- Be Productive
- Realize the Potential
Productivity is a critically important norm. What did you actually produce during this collaboration? Where is the evidence? Consider as part of the global collaboration design what the outcomes will be and work toward this. Consider also making these outcomes visible to others, and if possible making the process visible as well.
As part of the productivity, develop an understanding of what co-creations are possible between learners and how this could be implemented. Then encourage collaborators to work toward this. It could be a co-created statement or document that all students have contributed to, or perhaps a perhaps a piece of multimedia that students contributed to in different ways. Or maybe it’s a co-hosted online summit, or something quite new.
This norm homes in on collaboration and shares essential practices while learning globally online. A well-designed online global collaboration is about flattened learning and creating something to share and/or co-creating artifacts between students and classrooms.
Productivity means you:
- Collaborate and share information and ideas
- Create outcomes to share and encourage responses
- Make outcomes visible to the outside world
- Encourage students to compare, contrast, reflect
- Aim to build knowledge together and co-create artifacts
- How will participants collaborate and share information?
- Both synchronous (in real time such as Skype) and asynchronous (such as a Wiki) must be considered depending on time zone factors
- What artifacts will be created?
- Collaborative creation includes Google Docs, Wikis, blogs, Edmodo discussions, Padlets
- Will artifacts be co-created? How?
- Co-creation tools and objectives include videos (eg. Animoto), e-books, and Google Presentations
- How will feedback and responses be gathered based on the student work?
- Live Student Summits in a virtual classroom, feedback from readers and viewers via comments to blogs and docs and YouTube comments
- Are outcomes going to be visible to the outside world? How?
- Find ways to “open” the learning so that collaborative outcomes are shared beyond the participants
- How will students interact in order to compare, contrast and reflect?
- Celebration and reflection are key actions during and at the end of a global collaboration
Julie Lindsay is the author of the ISTE book, "The Global Educator: Leveraging Technology for Collaborative Learning and Teaching." She is a global collaboration consultant, innovator, teacherpreneur, a quality learning & teaching leader (online), and an adjunct lecturer for the Faculty of Arts and Education, Charles Sturt University in Australia.
This blog post was first published in eSchool News, May 16, 2016.