Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Connecting Globally

Last Friday evening I was invited to Skype with Vinnie Vrotny. Being exactly on the opposite side of the world Vinnie, Director of Academic Technology at North Shore Country Day School, Winnetka, IL USA was 12 hours behind my time zone. So, at 8.30 am in Winnetka and 8.30pm here in Dhaka we had a Skype session to kick-off his teacher workshop on 'global connections'. I was pleasantly surprised that my Skype was working so well and despite some bad feedback in my headphones the session ran smoothly. I was invited to talk about my approach to and experience with global collaborative projects.

I am very impressed with the initiatives Vinnie is taking with his school and his determination to encourage and support his teachers on the road to connecting with others around the world. He has even started a parents course on Moodle called 'Gaining Digital Citizenship'. I encourage you to read his comprehensive blog posting about the the 'global connections workshop' as he includes the podcast from our session, discusses passive and active collaboration and how and where to find partners. He writes about finding connections by being active in the blogosphere. It is still an insiders secret that new friends and connections and 'soul mates for collaboration' can be found through being online and taking the initiative to make contact via email, commenting to a blog posting, reading RSS feeds and following leads from other blogs.

In Vinnie's words:

"If you are really willing to move forward, create your own blog. Use it as a place to reflect on your teaching. Others may find it and be willing to share their thoughts and comments with you. Once the connections are made, then you can use them to expand your network.

Whenever I find a project, blog, wiki, or podcast that I want to utilize, I always contact the creator. By doing so, you let them know that they work that they created is valuable to someone and it allows you to establish a new relationship. It is through these new relationships and networking that you find out about other projects and resources. It is through sharing and communicating that we expand our world.
It all starts with you and your willingness to take the first step. It can be scary, but the reward far outweighs the risk."

Like Vinnie, I believe connectivity and making the most of opportunities to support social learning are fundamental to 21st century education.

Technorati Tags:

No comments: