I have been enamored with the possibilities in the classroom using Global Collaboration for the past 18 months when I first discovered this great 2.0 world so much so that I began a Master's program in Integrated Technology in the classroom through Walden University. That program has led me to a course of Educational Research where I decided to investigate what I wrote as the title of this post. I didn't realize what I was getting myself into or how much the question would stretch my thinking and future actions. I have done all the hard core research, read the journals, spent endless hours on the internet looking thorugh ERIC and every database available to me and I have now come to the point where I must ask for help, ideas, comments from my PLN but first a bit of history.
This past year my class was able to be part of several collaborations including the wonderful "http://langwitches.org/blog/2009/01/03/around-the-world-with-80-sch...
">Around the World with 80 Schools". We also visited by Skype and webcam with schools in two Australian states, 3 places in the USA and Korea. I We also had a collaboration by Voice Thread with another school in Virginia. t was very exciting and I was proud that we were able to accomplish this. Now, of course, the school is almost over and I am evaluating what happened.
On Friday afternoon we took down the Global Collaboration bulletin board and map and with the exception of the map through everything in the garbage and I wondered if that was the full extent of the actual learning that happened this year as far as GC (as my students referred to it) was concerned? Had it actually made any sort of difference in their lives and their knowledge?
There are things that I realize;
1) I was brand new to Global Collaboration so this was a learning year for both the students and me.
2) I was never really sure what I was supposed to do in the GC.
3) I was never totally comfortable with the concept because there seemed to be so many unknowns
4) The preparation and the followup was not as precise as it should have been and probably accounts for the lack of learning of the part of my students.
5) The time zone difference is definitely a big part of the struggles that happen with this kind of learning.
6) Even though I am going to Year 4/Grade 3 next year after 5 years in Year 5/Grade 4 I am ready to move forward with this type of learning.
7) This type of project can not be done with "by the seat of your pants" planning style which I tend to do but must involve preplanning with the other class and teachers in order to know where we are going.
But my questions still remain - Do long term changes happen with our students when they meet virtually with students from the other side of the world or down under?
Does the age of the student effect what kind of changes can happen?
When I was at the Flat Classroom Conference in Doha, Qatar this past February I saw changes happen among the students as they met face to face.It was incredible to watch and to listen to them but what about when the interaction is virtual and not F2F will there still be viable changes? I hope so and I believe so - what do you think???