Having students interact with experts in the field, be they scientists, models of culture or language, educators or other professionals, can help to develop a sense of interconnectedness and allow students to see beyond the school walls. Such interactions should be well-thought out and allow for student engagement and authentic, real-world learning or inquiry.
Connecting your Classroom to a Wider Community of peers and experts – Download the Workshop Handout Sandbox_Skype_Nov2013
Skype in the classroom and other web conferencing software have the potential to transform a classroom-based lesson into an interactive and relevant real-world experience. Such real-world experiences increase student motivation, engagement and learning at all grade levels (NREL, 2005).
A recent example and review of a Skype in the Classroom ‘Global Classroom Project’
Please visit Dean Shareski’s Blog for some caution and kudos:
Other options to connect:
Scientists and innovators in the schools from ‘our own’ Telus World of Science offers f2f visits from working scientists in this volunteer based program.
Try the Flat Stanley Project with Elementary aged students: an old-school project via snail mail that has begun to harness the value of the web. Classes create their own Stanley and send it on a trip around the world – learning about the people and places he visits.
Think outside the box with KIVA and try some ‘challenge based learning’ with your class or family. KIVA crowd sources small loans (micro-funding) for individuals and groups around the world. I met an educator who used KIVA as a way for his students to learn more about world geography while also participating in global community service. The students even visited local businesses, Rotary clubs and their municipal government office to do presentations about their chosen project in order to raise funds. Visit the blog of one educator from Salem Middle School:
REALLY, the list is endless, I’ll add new posts under the category ‘Interactivity’ as I find more options and examples. Please comment with your own ideas.