Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Help Needed for Collaborative Project!


For teachers, summer is often a time to unwind, reflect, and gather resources for the upcoming new school year. On that note, I am currently enrolled in an online course entitled "Add Global Collaborative Learning Strategies and Online Communication Tools to Your Classroom Using ePals." I am required to design a standards-aligned collaborative project to implement during the new school year, and I need a volunteer Keystone classroom and a project idea!

ePals is "a global community where learners connect." ePals helps teachers and students from around the world connect to participate in interactive, collaborative projects. Classrooms can participate in projects designed and administered by ePals or can post their own projects and solicit participation from other students almost anywhere in the world.

Through ePals, students have access to teacher-moderated email accounts and other free online tools that they can use to communicate with their peers. ePals even includes a built-in language translator!

My course moderator told us of a 4th-grade classroom in New Jersey from a low-performing school whose writing and reading scores improved so much that the teacher was investigated by the state Department of Education! It turned out that these students were communicating with Italian students via email, and this writing for a real purpose and a real audience apparently significantly boosted their language arts skills.

So . . . do I have a volunteer to help me with a project? A foreign language class who would like to practice writing skills with native speakers? An elementary class who would like to learn more about the culture of a country they study in social studies? An English class to help foreign students learn our language?

You are teachers . . . you are creative! Send me an email at bwitkowski [at] keyknox.com (or call me) within the next few days if you have an idea and would like me to find or design a project and, of course, help you implement it!

For more information about ePals:
www.epals.com
E-Palling Around (from THE Journal)
Global Learning: Connecting the World with ePals (from Edutopia)
Reaching the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) with ePals

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