Earlier this year my buddy Joe Sergi (@pep073) and I started Traveling Teddy. A project that involves seven early childhood classes in Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, America, India, Singapore, Indonesia, and Australia all taking turns having Teddy visit their classrooms. The objective: teach teddy and share what you’re teaching him with the rest of us!
The first thing I wanted out of this project was to have it become an extension of what was already happening in the classroom, not an ‘add-on’. So, we emphasized that the kids should teach Teddy about what they are currently learning. The other thing I wanted was a way for young learners to have a real hands-on connection (Teddy) to relate with as they learned about places and children around the world. Often, global education limits us because we’re communicating on a screen. As wonderful as it is that we are able to do that now, I am sure that most early childhood educators will agree with me when I say that at this young age, hands-on learning experiences are extremely valuable. In Traveling Teddy, all the children involved get to touch Teddy, play with him, show him around their school and really make a connection. So, with this project I hoped to use a real experience that all the classes share, to help us all make valuable connections with each other.
Classes are blogging to Teddy’s blog using Easy Blog Jr., thanks to @Phillip_Cowell, @dtaylor2008 and @gueben, the guys behind Easy Blog Jr. (by Easy App Co.) who agreed to help us with this project. Easy Blog Jr. makes it really simple for kids to independently post to a WordPress blog. They also have a Blogger version and other very kid friendly apps.
Participating classes were given the option of using Twitter and Skype in this project. It is optional because some classes tweet while others don’t. As for Skype, it’s use is dependent upon timezones, so both these options were made available by sharing Twitter handles and Skype names with each other but leaving it up to individual teachers as to whether or not they would incoproate the use of these tools or not. So far I have been able to Skype with our class in Saudi Arabia and our hashtag #globaledted continues to have updates on Teddy’s adventures! Currently he’s in transit from New Delhi, India to Singapore!
Teddy is also quite tech savy and travels with a QR code in his pouch created by each of the classes to send to the next. He has his own little passport that gets stamped and class pictures are pasted into it. Finally, classes will hopefully contribute to a book made on Book Creator to share Teddy’s journey through these past few months.
We’ve already had many teachers contact us for next year and it is getting exciting to see where Teddy may be heading in the coming school year! We are even considering launching more than one Teddy so that as many schools as possible can get involved! If you are interested in having Teddy visit your school next year please do read through teacher information carefully, then leave a comment or contact us through the Traveling Teddy site.