Flat Connections

Transforming learning through global collaboration

During the fall of 2012, I worked closely with two teachers as they participated in the Global Read Aloud (GRA) for the first time. We were all beginners in reaching out to other classrooms-in our schools and beyond our schools-in using various web 2.0 tools, and in thinking through this kind of teaching and learning. The GRA 2012 ran the month of October, but our celebration happened in December because the teachers integrate other subject areas with the novel and expanded and extended the scope of the work. Students went well beyond a read aloud and summary posts. They connected the story of Ivan (The One and Only Ivan) to biodiversity and endangered species. They considered the larger issues as a class, and then small groups chose narrower topics to research. Each group gathered their findings in a Glogster, and then presented them to their families. This was a face-to-face event because for the most part the community does not yet consider communicating via the Internet. 

What can I now say about the role of celebrating the learning? 

The event that you see in the video below was spectacular. Students were showing off their work to their parents. They were accessing the tools, doing the explaining, and in total control. The teacher simply stood back and let it happen. We needed to go through this step before we can really consider the type of collaboration and celebration that happens within a true global project. 

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