Connection and CollaborationConnecting students over networks and promoting collaborative efforts is an essential life skill for students. These skills should be introduced in elementary school and developed throughout the rest of their educational experience. Whenever I read someone's list of required "21st Century Skills," there is always push for facilitating student connections and collaboration. Two sources for 21st century skills are listed below, but it seems like many experts are compiling similar lists associated with learning for today and tomorrow.
At the same time, teachers must engage in teachers must explore a variety of instructional strategies that utilize the skills presented below. Professional development opportunities must cause teachers to become 21st century learners themselves. Practice these skills with a "safety net." Ask a co-worker to practice using collaborative tools and attempt to perform the same tasks you expect from your students. Engage in 21st century practices and become a digital learner yourself.
Global Read Aloud
With that said, one connected and collaborative endeavor that teachers should know about is The Global Read Aloud (GRA). This project is calling for teachers to participate in four weeks of activities associated with one of two books. Collaboration will be hosted through Edmodo, Twitter, Skype, Wikis, KidBlogs, and Google Tools. Of course not every web-based learning tool needs to be utilized, but it would not be too difficult to collaborate with these tools for learning.
So, there are two books. Participants can choose to read Charlotte's Web or The One and Only Ivan. Then, choose what digital tools you will use for collaboration. For general information about the GRA project and instructional ideas please visit the following sites:
- Ivan's Group Code: njco4k
- Charlotte's Group Code: 93pop0
Additional Web-Based Technologies to Utilize:
The dates are set for October 1st to October 26th. That gives us a little time to plan, to connect, and to acquire the books. What do you think? Is this something you would like to involve your students in? If so, who will you connect with? Will you work with a colleagues classroom or a classroom across the country?