Posts Tagged telecollaboration

Blogging in History

Several years ago I attended training at the University of Texas on Telecollaboration.  Most of the ideas presented in the training seemed so labor intensive that there was no way as a teacher or now as a Instructional Technology Specialist that they could be implemented.  Or I felt like I needed to know professors from all over the country before I could begin.  So I filed those ideas away and thought maybe some day I could attempt what I had learned.

Those ideas have come back to mind lately and I wanted to explore a few of those here.

Have an online conversation with a historical figure.

The original plan was to use email as the main means of communication.  Questions over access to the information in the emails and how the class could actively participate in conversation stopped me from trying this.  But with web 2.0 tools this could happen easily by substituting email for blogs.

This is not a new idea and you can find some examples of teachers already doing this online.

Basic premise: A Historical figure could begin keeping blog about the major events that happened in their lifetime.  Students could pose questions to the person to get a deeper understanding about how things worked.

  • Teacher(s) could write the posts and students could ask questions through the comment section.
  • Students could research the person and create the journal entries to be posted.  Other students could read the postings and ask questions about the information presented.

Examples:

  • Harriet Tubman – http://dowell.typepad.com/harriet_tubman/
  • World Was II – http://tappmiddleschool.typepad.com/ww2/ – blogs are not based on actual people but on historical events and fictional people

Other Ideas:

  • Students could research a part of the world and write a blog entry as a person who lives there explaining what life is like.  Other students could comment on the entries and ask extension questions.
  • Create a blog that represents a side of revolution.  The Texas rebels could use the blog as a way to communicate the latest in the war effort against Mexico and what has happened.  Students could write the entries or the teacher could also post entries that the students have to respond to.

This is just basic ideas to get the ball rolling.  More ideas?

Resources:

  • http://center.uoregon.edu/ISTE/uploads/NECC2007/KEY_39273092/Wood_Historical_Blogs.pdf
  • http://www.pbs.org/teachers/learning.now/blogging/

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Collaboration Beyond the School Walls

I was reading a friend’s blog recently, explaining how to make good use of your summer.  One of the ideas was to explore projects with other schools in other areas.  That started me thinking – telecollaboration has been around for a while, but not until recently has it been made so easy.  Connecting with other schools is easy with the aide of wikis, blogs, email, skype, etc.  Our students are already linking with all sorts of people around the globe through facebook, myspace, gaming sites, etc.  Some of this is good and some not so good.  But the idea of linking and working with other groups is an irristeable hook  for our already connected students.

So how do you do it and where do you begin?  Start with asking yourself a few questions:

  • What do you hope to gain through the project? 
  • What learning is going to take place? 
  • Is approaching the subject matter this way going to add to what students need to learn or just distract from it?
  • Do you have the time, support, and equipment needed to make it happen?

Here are a few good links to get you started. 

  • About Telecollaborative Projects –  a basic overview of telecollaboration
  • Telecollaborate! -step by step details on how to plan, create and implement a project
  • Links to Current Projects – lists various running projects.  Some are closed for the year, but a good place when looking for ideas.
  • 2Learn – Requires a registration to gain access to project resources and tools.
  • ePals– Emailing another classroom through epals is a good starting point

Do you have any ideas?  Anything holding you back? 

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