Chapter 5 of Who Owns the Learning? made me think about what it truly does mean to be a global communicator and collaborator. One thing I’m thinking about is how to make the library media center the “global communications center” that November describes. I don’t necessarily think the library has to have a dedicated space for this, but I think it should become a way of thinking in the library. I hope to work to create the thinking where students don’t see Skyping or video chatting with others as an event, but rather a natural part of their learning. I also think such global communication is an area for media specialists and classroom teachers to collaborate. Classroom teachers can share authentic, purposeful ideas for such global communication and collaboration and the media specialist can provide the support, equipment, or even space needed to help teachers make it happen. I really liked the student jobs mentioned by fifth grade teacher Shelly Zavon in the chapter. From my past experiences with video chatting I think having student jobs would be very helpful and I felt the jobs were ones that made sense, especially for our younger students who may need a bit more structure. Teaching students about these jobs and how the video conference process works would be a good lesson for me as the media specialist to teach to students to help prepare them for such communication and collaboration.
I wanted to include a few resources for elementary teachers and librarians who want to get started helping their students in the role of global communicators and collaborators. Last year I worked with a classroom teacher who wanted her class to be come part of the Global Read Aloud project. I think this project gives teachers and students a way to collaborate and communicate globally using technology in a very purposeful and authentic way. The class with which I worked made a connection with a class from Canada and Skyped with them to chat about the book The One and Only Ivan. They also video chatted with them several other times throughout the year about different curriculum content. The book The Global School: Connecting Classrooms and Students Around the World by William Kist is one that is still on my summer reading list, but from what I have read and skimmed so far it seems like a very valuable resource that supports the ideas from Chapter 5, as well. It also includes more ideas from Garth Holman whose work is highlighted in Chapter 6 of Who Owns the Learning?
I enjoyed reading about Holman and Pennington’s work in Chapter 6. I believe that their work is a very relevant example of how all of the jobs in Who Owns the Learning? were utilized and integrated into a meaningful and purposeful project. I think my main take away from this chapter is that students are truly empowered and motivated when they know that there is a real audience for their work and when they know their work will live on for others. These ideas are definitely things to remember when planning for next year.
Thanks to our hosts for this Cyber PD event. I’m so glad that I become involved and shared this new blog through the event. I look forward to our Twitter chat and to continue learning from you all!