Drowning in Theory

As I reflected on the past couple of weeks, I’ve noticed that global collaboration has been a consistent topic among the readings.  We were shown articles by George Siemens and by Christenson and Horn  We’ve read theory about why collaboration is important and shown tools that enable collaboration on a global stage.  However, I was beginning to feel as if I was drowning, principally because:

  1. I have never done anything like that before
  2. How on earth do I actually go about doing something like this?

I have found myself wanting examples, tips, anything to help me understand how to do this on a practical level.  With the readings this week I was provided with an outline of how to successfully implement global collaboration with students and also examples of successfully completed projects.  This was exactly what I was wanting and craving.

Kim Cofino outlines explicit tips on how to go about implementing a global collaboration project.  While most of the tips seem obvious  there were two that I probably would have had to learn the hard way:

  1. Scheduling differences between teachers
  2. Explicit break down of tasks to be complete by each teacher

Number one is of particular importance because every school is different in terms of their holidays.  For example, I could not imaging trying to do a project with a school back home in March because our breaks do not match up and thus it would hinder the project. Overall the tips are great.  However, I think I might go one step farther and try a collaborative project with another class in my school as a trial.  By doing this I will be giving my students most of the benefits and gaining the experiences to help boost my confidence with this type of learning.  Then I might have the confidence to actually try it with people around the globe.

The assigned projects to look at as part of our reading were interesting as they provided me a sense of the types of things of projects that were completed and the tools that helped them succeed.  Comparing the 1001 Flat World Tales projects with A Week in the Life, a more recent project, has helped me see the changes that have happened in terms of options for presentation strategies.  My preferred project would be the second one, as it incorporates more multimedia and it seems like the students are connecting to the material and to each other on a more personal level.

All of the information this week was easy for me to understand and enabled me to get my head around the process of taking collaborative theory and trying to apply it my classroom.

Image Sources, Creative Commons Licensed, Found on Flickr

078/365: Underwater by bmhkim

confidence by glsims99

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Drowning in Theory

  1. Glad this week brought things to a more practical level for you! Sounds like you already had a vision of how to implement in your mind, but seeing some concrete examples was helpful. It is interesting to see how these kinds of projects have evolved over the years. As technology changes, and our understanding of how we can use it continues to evolve, so do the projects we design. Looking forward to hearing how you are able to implement some of these ideas in your classroom.

  2. Brendan,
    Rushing to catch up on my comments, naturally, I seek out those I feel I have come to know on the course so, naturally, I sought you out. The title of this piece caught me as I completely relate!

    As a long time PYP guy, I have come to embrace both collaboration and transdisciplinary skills focused (still “new speak to me” anyways) teaching? I felt much the same way about Kim’s helpful piece but like the way you made it olocal first. Having taught younger learners for so many years, it just makes good sense to start from the personal and work outwards from there. Good, practical advice.

    As Kim said, I can’t help but concur. Looking forward to catching up and seeing where it went.
    Sean

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