Flat Connections

Transforming learning through global collaboration

  • What are the characteristics of teachers who are able to collaborate globally over an extended period of time? What are some common mistakes that teachers make when beginning to collaborate?
  • How does teachersourcing compare to crowdsourcing? Why is it important for projects?
  • How can teachers facilitate development of student communities of practice that help a project succeed?

As we discuss Chapter 4, here are the questions we will consider. Follow the guidelines for discussing the book topics.

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The characteristics of teachers who are able to collaborate globally are:

  • the teacher can handle and solve problems as they arise
  • the teacher will engage and communicate with other teachers, through regular synchronous and asynchronous activity (includes regular checking of e-mails
  • the teacher will pay close attention to classroom activity in the project
  • to not only be the teacher but to be the student
  • to remember that every moment is a teachable moment and students need the ability to make errors and correct them
  • be sensitive to the lower bandwidth of people in other countries

Teachers will commonly focus so much on the synchronous activities when they first start out. These activities can monopolize a large portion of teacher time and create burnout. Some teachers may, also, not set time aside to monitor mail and connect with other teams. The large portion of teacher involvement is in the pre-collaboration period.

Power is in tapping into crowds, crowdsourcing. The power in global collaboration is in teachersourcing. A group of teachers can be used to lessen the effects on one teacher in achieving the best collaborative experience. It is important in projects to divide the work, have a “think tank” to create new ways of doing things, and enables students to have better participation and shared monitoring.

Teachers can facilitate development of student communities by teaching students to care, whether online or in person. Students may forget that a human with values and ideals is on the other end of the computer. They foster a sense of responsibility and lead by example. Teachers will ensure a 100% participation rate is achieved. These will ensure the success of a student community and a project.


Teachers who collaborate globally over time mostly share a desire for continual learning, whether their own, or those of students around the world.  They are never satisfied with what they already know, but are willing to help any who desire the knowledge they have already attained, whether by seizing upon teachable moments or aiding in global classroom management.

Teachers new to global collaboration often make mistakes when it comes to arranging the timing of events, specifically trying to accommodate synchronous events across ranging time zones. They may also tend to leave too little time for implementation of the project or less than adequate time to facilitate each phase of the project.

Successful global collaboration requires the collective resources of numerous people, whether for managing large numbers of students, crossing distant time zones or keeping everyone in the project up to date with timely advice.  Teachersourcing takes the idea of tapping into crowds to a new level by not only gaining knowledge from wide networks of teachers, but by extending the association among educators working toward a collaborative cause.   Projects will benefit by having continuous access for students to educators interested in teaching and managing the project.  Larger projects can be accommodated and forums remain open for new ideas and possibilities.

Teachers are the most important resource students have and provide the base for all global projects.  Effective teachers will work to inspire students to grow in their knowledge and understanding of other cultures through their experiences.  Just as important as starting students along their path of growth is to facilitate the communication that will make it happen.  Students have to have excellent paths of communication to the teacher, project organizers as well as student peers around the globe.

Characteristics of teachers who are able to collaborate globally over an extended period of time are: desire for continuous learning in old and new ways, extensive trouble shooting skills, good team work, attention to detail throughout the project, sensitivity to collaborators with bad connection, they have the willingness to help others and create a positive global learning environment.

Teachersourcing is similiar to crowdsourcing in that they both have to do with outsourcing for tasks and resources. Teachersourcing is crucial to global collaboration to "share the load" and to make for a better collaborating experience. In global projects, working together is key, having a combined effort from the teachers involved makes the experience much more seemless.

Teachers can facilitate the development of student communities by creating invested interest in students. When students care about the project they want it to succeed and will strive for success by investing extra time and effort. By potentially letting students have say in how the project will be set up or what the project will be on, students may feel more involved and be more willing to participate.

The characteristics of teachers who are able to collaborate globally are:

  • they can handle and solve problems as they arise
  • they are able to communicate with other teachers easily
  • They are continuously learning
  • They are able to multitask

These teachers seem to have issues with time management and organizing events.  Part of this is getting use to different time zones.

Multiple resources are the most important part of global collaboration, this is the point of using a crowd of users for resourses.

I put the first question out to my twitter peeps and got back some groovy responses.  They can be summarized by 

In order to thrive with global collaborations people should be: 

-flexible, flexible and flexible



- open minded


-have a growth mindset-- failure will just help you do it better on the next try! 

Many of those themes are echoed here by others too.  This is an important thing to be able to say out loud:  What makes up a person who will do this?  Who will be capable of nurturing this environment for their students?  Not fore everyone, I guess, but if we are more clear about mindsets and skill sets required, people will have more opportunity to succeed.  



I love these, Emily.  We can be as philosophical as we want, but it all boils down to these qualities you listed. Be open to a learning adventure.

Teachers who collaborate globally are highly organised with effective PLNs to help support them. They have effective routine and work habits that allow them to stay organised and connected. They are willing to teach and learn, actively monitr classroom activity and are considerate and caring to all collaborators.

Teachersourcing is similar to crowdsourcing because both tap into powers beyond the limits of classrooms or company offices. Teachersourcing is essential fr projects to be effective as it provides a group of people who can share tasks, ideas and workload and can offer potentially 24 hour support and access to participants.

Teachers can facilitate the development on strong student communities by assisting in setting up PLN to maage workflow and communication but more importantly, by creating a climate of care and responsibility where learners are safe and know what is expected of them.

Chapter 4 Essential Questions

1. What are the characteristics of teachers who are able to collaborate globally over an extended period of time?

Teachers who are able to collaborate globally over an extended period of time share the following six characteristics:

  1. They are problem solvers and take action when problems arise and they teach everyone.
  2. They engage with other teachers; e.g. check e-mail every day before beginning their work with students
  3. They actively monitor classroom activity
  4. They are willing to learn and teach
  5. They are cognizant of the teachable moment
  6. They are considerate of those will bandwidth

1b.  What are some common mistakes that teachers make when beginning to collaborate?

Many teachers make the mistake of not planning a routine and they are not consistent, not checking their e-mails day in and day out, missing deadlines or not realizing the amount of time that must be invested.  Others over-invest and burn-out, they sacrifice their own family time for a project.

2. How does teachersourcing compare to crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers. Teachersourcing is a relative of crowdsourcing it is an essential paradigm shift in the move to integrate sustainable global collaboration into the classroom. In practice, teacher sourcing means that groups of teachers can be used for tasks such as managing large groups of students, creating global project designs, innovating new ways to do a task in projects, or any number of functions. In comparison they both tap outside sources for more information 

2b. Why is it important for projects?

It can provide almost round-the-clock monitoring that no one could afford if it was outsourced to a company. The quality of monitoring and participation is better too because teachers teach as they interact with students. Teachers provide the currency of attention paid for by their commitment to join the group in monitoring and participation. Many of the most vibrant projects in existence remain fresh, innovative, and relevant in this way. Good teachers are involved in their projects.

How can teachers facilitate development of student communities of practice that help a project succeed? They can make sure student interactions interactions with a strong project handshake and maintain momentum in the project. Teachers can instill good communication habits such as making students aware of cultural differences and netiquette. 


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