Fostering Intercultural Connections Through Digital Learning: The EveryWorld Initiative (@knowmyworld_org)

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“The new understanding I came to about the world was that everything isn’t the same as their world.”

– Yu’pik student in Alaska/Mexico Digital Exchange

This kind of critical thought transforms a student’s world when sourced from a global interactive experience with other students from all over the globe.  Imagine two classrooms, one in the Tundra and one in the Desert, working together through email, video chat and the latest apps to expose and understand their similarities and differences through environmental, social and cultural questions. The possibilities are endless. This is what a Know My World facilitated digital exchange provides for teachers and students: the skill and knowledge necessary to explore and transform attitudes and awareness through project-based learning.

The EveryWorld Initiative was born of a desire to bring the exchange experience to a wider base of schools around the world. In a Know My World exchange, trained staff pair classrooms in two different countries and then work closely with them throughout the entire process. In collaboration with the paired teachers, our facilitators create an opportunity not only for dialogue between the two groups of students, but ultimately, a collaborative project that teaches academic content at the same time as building social, emotional, and cultural competency. These projects have ranged from creating a virtual museum showcasing the local environment to evaluating the impact of pollution to researching and reflecting on poverty.

After completing an exchange, a student from the Philippines wrote:

“This exchange created a global classroom. It is awesome to discover that we can actually create a digital platform where students from different parts of the world can learn together in a friendly manner.”

At its core, that is what Know My World is about: fostering mutually respectful and collaborative relationships between students in different parts of the world that allow them to grow personally as well as academically.

With the EveryWorld Initiative, we are excited to be bringing intercultural education to a wider audience. The EveryWorld Initiative is a scholarship program, allowing schools around the world to engage in fully facilitated Know My World exchanges. Scholarship winners will be matched with another school to develop a collaborative project that interweaves academic content with social emotional learning and cultural competency. The scholarship is open to students between 5th and 12th grade, and it can be done in any content area (even math!).

Know My World has partnered with two organizations to make the EveryWorld Initiative possible. Our Ed Tech partner is Wizer.me, a dynamic app that allows teachers and students to design collaborative worksheets that include elements such as graphs, videos, charts, and surveys. We also have a Social Impact partner, The Concordia Project, whose mission focuses on the empowerment of women through workshops, advocacy, and micro-accelerators for female entrepreneurs in developing regions.

With the help of our partners, we are thrilled to be opening the door to more intercultural collaboration, social emotional learning, and meaningful conversations in classrooms around the world. We hope you will join us! We encourage teachers from all countries to apply, so please help us by sharing this unique opportunity. The application for the EveryWorld Initiative is open until December 14, 2015. Go to our website for more information, including the link to the short application form.

 

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Global Classroom 2015-16 – A call for new projects and leaders

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Meeting The Global Classroom at ISTE 2015

Since its foundation in 2011, The Global Classroom Project has been constantly evolving. We’ve tried new media platforms, experimented with new projects and community spaces, and worked with some seriously amazing people. And, despite some seriously challenging moments behind the scenes, we’re still here. It is hard to believe, but 2015-16 is our fifth year of operation.

For the past few years, this project community has been run by two people, and last year, due to my difficult personal circumstances, it was run by just one. As much as we love this project, and what we’ve achieved, relying on one or two people to keep this community alive stretches friendships and passion beyond their limits. And as both of us step back this year to pursue new interests and jobs, we have to make some changes to how this project community works.

From October 2015, this project will centre on this blog.

We will no longer create and maintain annual project wikis. If you would like to share a project on this blog, please use this project planning template, and email / tweet us a link (@gcporganisers).

Please include a wordpress.com user ID in your correspondence, as your project will be published a lot faster if you post under your name!

We are seeking to create a core group of advisors and bloggers to maintain this blog, and help new project leaders.

If you can help, please email globalclassroomorganisers AT gmail.com, and include a wordpress.com ID. We would love for advisors and bloggers to post to this blog at least twice between now and June 2016.

With the help of VIF Learn, we are continuing to develop the #globalclassroom chats.

I can’t believe that these Twitter chats, dreamed up in the middle of the night, will celebrate their fourth birthday in November 2015. We would love to work with new moderators, and topic suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Please tweet @gcporganisers or @michellemacumber.

 

Going forward, we may not be as massive a project community as we have been in previous years; however, the connections and friendships we have forged bond us together. We are not lone wolves, we are a community.

And we’re here to help.

Celebrate the National Day on Writing With Author Kate Messner

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o4925_rangerintime_4cc_zJoin New York Times “Notable” author Kate Messner on an inspirational journey through the process of writing a book.

During Messner’s live Google Hangout, students will learn that published authors go through the same process as student writers when creating a book, including brainstorming, researching, planning, drafting and editing.

Messner will also share how authors, editors, copy editors and illustrators work as a team to publish a book. Best of all, students will leave the event with not only a new appreciation of the writing process, but also with the confidence that anyone can tell a story!

Time and Date

Tuesday, October 20, 2015, at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time / 16:00 GMT  (on Google Hangout (40 minutes)

Find out when this is in your timezone here

Before the visit

Download and try a FREE student activity on writing inspiration in the classroom. If you’d like, you can also read one of Kate Messner’s books. The virtual event will focus on the Ranger in Time chapter book series.

During the visit

Come with questions for the author – we will take questions from the crowd.

After the visit

Extend the learning with a FREE downloadable student activity.

Register Here! 

To download pre/post visit activities, and to register your class to participate in the hangout, please visit the registration page here:

http://www.weareteachers.com/grants-contests/giveaways/join-us-for-a-virtual-author-visit-promotion

Curriculum Links: English Language Arts & Literacy, Grades 3–5

About the Author

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Kate Messner is an award-winning author whose books for kids have been New York Times Notable, Junior Library Guild, Indie Bound, and Bank Street College of Education Best Books selections. The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. was the winner of the 2010 E.B. White Read Aloud Award for Older Readers.

Kate also spent 15 years teaching middle school and earned National Board certification in 2006. She lives on Lake Champlain with her family and loves spending time outside. To learn more about Kate and her books, please visit her website, http://www.katemessner.com/.

Celebrating International Dot Day 2015 #dotday

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Next week, on September 15th, we are looking forward to celebrating International Dot Day, a global celebration of imagination and creativity, which this year is set to involve several million children from over 112 countries.

From the Dot Day website:

International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009.

The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.

Last year, my young students at Iona Presentation PS in Mosman Park, Australia created dots using DoodleBuddy on their iPads, which we shared in the video below.

When I went to ISTE in Philadelphia earlier this year, I was delighted to meet Peter Reynolds and Terry Shay in person, and I’m very much looking forward to celebrating #DotDay 2015!

How will you celebrate? 

Register at http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/register, and check out the gallery for inspiration. Share your students’ creations with the hashtags #dotday and #makeyourmark

 

Join us for Stories from the #globalclassroom – LIVE @ #iste2015

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It has been an interesting year here at The Global Classroom Project, with a lot happening behind the scenes. Keeping this organisation alive for over four years has been a remarkable achievement, brought about through the dedication and hard work of volunteer teachers around the world.

As we start to plan for our new-look 2015-16 project, we’d like to take this opportunity to invite #globalclassroom teachers to join us at the International Society for Technology Education Conference in Philadelphia, USA from June 28-July 1. This will be the first time I attend this conference in person, and I am hoping to meet many of our project organisers and leaders face-to-face for the first time.

Stories from The Global Classroom Project

  • Sunday, June 28, 7:00–8:30 pm
    PCC Broad Street Atrium, Table 17
  • Add to your schedule here

 

In other news …

Call for Volunteers – Webinar Preparations (August 2015)

We are looking for volunteers to organise and host this year’s “Looking Forwards, Looking Back” project celebration webinars – in mid/late August 2015. These annual webinars are held in BlackBoard Collaborate, and enable international participant teachers, who can’t attend the ISTE Conference, to share their stories and experiences virtually. (This is what we did last year – 2013-14)

If you can help, could you please email globalclassroomorganisers AT gmail.com, or tweet @gcporganisers. Thankyou.

Global Classroom 2015-16 Update

After some lengthy, heartfelt discussions behind the scenes, we have decided to go forward with Global Classroom 2015-16, but in a smaller, more sustainable format. Please keep an eye on this blog for updates, and an invitation to join a planning webinar around September 2015.

Please remember that this project relies on the goodwill and expertise of volunteer teachers around the world. We will be needing your help and support next year.

 

Practicing what I preach … Introducing Mystery Skype #ionapsict

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Mystery Skyping with Nepal

In July 2014, after many frustrating years of relief teaching, I finally found a school to call home. I know I have been a little distant from the wider project community for some time, but I have been taking time out to actually practice what I preach. For the past few years, I’ve helped and watched teachers around the world flatten their classroom walls, but I was unable to learn how to do it in my own classroom and school. Until now.

Last year, Mrs R (a Year 3 teacher), and I joined a small handful of teachers in Western Australia who Mystery Skype. Integrating our Skype sessions into Geography, we made some memorable connections with Hello Little World Skypers and Global Classroom teachers from Argentina, India, Nepal, and the United States. We also were able to connect with ‘Flat Addy’, a little girl in Iowa, USA, who had sent us a Flat Stanley earlier in the year.

Mystery Skype proved to be a fantastic introduction for our students, who learnt how to communicate and share with authentic global audiences. As the 2015 school year progresses, I am hoping to introduce videoconferencing and Mystery Skype into more classes, as we work to build our students’ awareness of the world beyond their classroom walls.

Objectives

  • Students will use map skills to find the location of the mystery classroom
  • Students will use communication and critical thinking skills to ask questions to help them find the mystery location.
  • Classes communicate with other classrooms via Skype or Google+ Hangouts.
  • Students will learn to respect and appreciate the cultures and customs of others.
  • Students will be able to see the differences and similarities between themselves and others around the world.

This post was adapted from Meeting the World via Mystery Skype (#ionapsict)

Looking for World Read Aloud Day 2015 Connections! (#WRAD15)

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Kathy Kaldenberg, based in the USA, is looking for Skype Read-Aloud partners for March 3 and 6, 2015. Please contact her via Skype (scsdmedia), Twitter (@scsdmedia), or email kkaldenberg AT solon.k12.us

On March 4th, we will celebrate World Read Aloud Day with LitWorld. This is always such a special day for celebrating the power of literacy….and one of the best for our libraries, schools, and students too.

Over the past few years it has been so much fun coming together to read and collaborate together with other students, teacher librarians, teachers, schools, and communities.  And this year we are excited for even more of these special connections.

If you are interested in connecting with others on this day, please add your name, schedule, and ideas to this Google document: http://bit.ly/worldreadaloud15.

Check out all the wonderful activity ideas and resources that LitWorld has included on their website here. The classroom kit is great!