Saturday, June 23, 2007

What makes an effective international project?

What makes an effective international project?
This was the topic of the first session I attended this afternoon at the EdubloggerCon. I was really excited for this one as I had contact with both Vicki Davis (who skyped into my PETE& C session this February) and Julie Lindsay (who commented on our Latin American Wiki

Vicki Davis is a 10th grade introduction to computer science teacher in rural Westwood GA
At Vicki’s school…Curriculum is research / knowledge based --genuine assessment—she has given up 250 question exams in favor of project based learning.

Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay connected through k-12 Online Conference last year. Vicki ran online teacher wiki workshop. She talked about having her students read The World is Flat
CQ + EQ > IQ
That’s “Curiosity Quotient” plus “Passion Quotient” is greater than “Intelligent Quotient.”

After the conference, Julie emailed Vicki to say “I am on the other side of this flat world...let's connect our classrooms and talk about it…” and that was how it all began. They wanted to make the project wikicentric. Looked at tools--how they would link classes together, what would be the best tools. Structured the project so that there was ongoing and regular communication throughout. Individual and shared work--assessment would be based on the shared work, but still
They were experiencing the trends and writing about the trends at the same time.

The next step was the Horizon Project
Studied what college education is going to look like in the next 3-5 years. 5 classrooms, 55 students, whole new level of complexity in communications. ie kids need to respond to emails when they are sent. They established a project manager to manage the teams.
If we continue to allow our students to be ethnocentric--thinking that US is the center of the universe, we need to teach them to collaborate and build bridges with these students in other areas of the world

These students : in their classrooms: know how to tackle problems—won state literary competitions, the students were achieving new goals—I was really impressed with how much these students had achieved.
The discussion then moved
What defines an effective international project?
Consistency with both sides
Widen world for rural students
Make administrators aware of trends
Rethink stereotypes & communication: gaming
Must be part of curriculum: cultural awareness… NEED to be aware of it, see world through one another’s eyes

I thought it was interesting that Vicki commented that —while classroom is homogeneous IN the classroom= diverse because of the partners she has created
The attendees were a very diverse group and came up with amazing ideas
  • GenYes
  • Have to have hooks…
  • Clearly defined objectives and assessements
Discipline: if you don’t have discipline in your classroom, you have no business being involved in a global collaborative project
And this was just session 1….

We talked about PROJECT BASED LEARNING and how defined curriculum is putting a damper on initiatives—how can we work these initiatives into the existing curriculum.
On a final note…the comment was made…
For a democracy our school system looks very communistic…
Your thoughts?

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