Collaborative Projects

Since the advent of Web 2.0 technologies the world is my classroom. From a small rural school near Nelson in the South Island we connect, create and collaborate with classes and schools around the world. It is not magical or awesome, it is how we are.

Let's start off with a little global fun.

Dot Day is held on September 15 every year. It is a delightful story in itself.

Here is our contribution to the collaboration.

Have a read and watch the video and participate this year.

In 2008 I translated Matt's video into an educational setting and Twittered and blogged that I wanted to make a video like Matt's but with children from different classes. I asked classes to watch Matt's video and send me 20 second clips of their classes and I would collate them together. Here is our effort.

As Matt's video does, we brought together people from different locations to enjoy and celebrate together.

In 2005 I created a class blog which reflected some of the learning in our classroom. In the beginning I had no idea just how transformative it would be to the things that I teach and the way that I teach them. You may like to download the pdf poster opposite that has links to some of our interesting posts over the years.

Initially I had to bribe people to show an interest in the blog as parents had little idea that they could participate in the web experience. Generally in those days people believed that the web was just for looking at what other people had written.

Through my interest in podcasting I linked up with Paul Harrington, a teacher in Wales, and even had to send his class a whole bag of chocolate fish! Well worth it though.

We used the blog to archive visits from people who visited us. Chloe Powell, who represented the Bahamas in the 100m at the 1972 Munich Olympics was an inspirational role model for us.

Paul and I exchanged classroom mascots. Class members took the mascots home and recorded their adventures. It helped us find out more about other places and we begun to make global links with others.

Tiny Ted is a geocaching bear and through him we learnt more about the global recreational activity- geocaching.

For my birthday I got given three goldfish that we asked our global partners to name.

One of the boys in our class went to England for a holiday and made a detour to Wales to visit face-to-face with our collaborating classroom and we came back to school at night time to Skype with him.

As part of a study on Economics we made a Voicethread where we talked about the kinds of money in New Zealand. This spawned a number of similar Voicethreads from other parts of the world- Britain, America and Korea.

In 2007 one of the Appleby parent community travelled to Valencia, Spain, as part of our America's Cup contingent. We were able to Skype her and through her make a connection to Rob Waddell. This was picked up by TVNZ news. We had hit the big time!

As a homework exercise one of my girls had the courage to give us a CD of herself singing. We blogged it and asked for comments. These comments gave her the strength to sing in public. Such hidden talent that without an audience would not have been ignited.

We have a Clustrmap on our blog that shows where in the world our visitors come from. We have a second map which shows visitors live- exciting stuff when we realise that there are others reading our blog in real time.

We have joined the Round the World with 80 Schools collaboration and talked through Skype with students in British Columbia.

As a follow up they made us a Voicethread showing us just how cold it really was there.

Within New Zealand we used Skype again to learn our mihi from first language speakers in Melville Intermediate in Hamilton- a rich and engaging experience for both classes.

As well as learning from others we have helped other classes learn as well.

Learning about floating and sinking with ISB students in Bangkok

Teaching Pivot animations to a Melville Intermediate class

We collaborated to make this Comparing Hemispheres Wiki, learning with a class in New York.

I am encouraging other teachers to add resources to this Basic Facts wiki so I don't have to do all the work and we can lighten the load on everyone.

This term we are co-constructing a Rocky Shore wiki with teachers in Dunedin and Auckland to share resources.

We make many connections through our podcast as well.

Teachers around the world collaborated to make this presentation, started by Darren Kuropatwa, Teaching Well. We collaborated on this one using Google Docs.

Brian Crosby's class in Sparks, Nevada aimed high with a classroom experiment. As part of their learning about air pressure they were able to work with a local university to launch a balloon 32 km high into the atmosphere. Attached to the balloon were the hopes and aspirations of hundreds of school children as well as a couple of cameras to record the high altitude flight. We shared in adding our aspirations to the balloon via comments to his blog. We participated and replicated his science experiments and watched his recording of the balloon's fall.

WE really enjoyed participating in International Dot Day 15 September every year. Children read the book and drew dots and we made a slideshow of them and entered some on the global website.


How do I come to make these connections?

I started first of all by making a class blog on which to link and host our projects

As I got more comfortable with being on the web I started my own professional blog which helps me record my learning and link with others.

Then I set about reading and commenting on other people's blogs. To make my life easier and bring those connections to me I use an RSS reader like Bloglines. Here is a link to the people whose blogs I follow. You might like to follow some of them too.

I also connect with people via Twitter. I follow educationalists from all over the world and everyday learn heaps from them.

I record that learning using the Social Bookmarking tool Delicious which also lets me link and learn from others.

If you would like further help putting some global connections together for yourself my Skype ID is AllanahK