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E-Learning Creates Foreign Connections

Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 2 p.m. ET
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 E-Learning Creates Foreign Connections(02/14/2012) 
9:11
EdWeek Bryan: 
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to today's chat, E-Learning Creates Foreign Connections, sponsored by Aventa K-12

I've just opened up the chat for questions, so please, feel free to start submitting yours below. We'll be back at 2pm today with our two guests -- we hope to see you then.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 9:11 EdWeek Bryan
2:00
EdWeek Bryan: 
Good afternoon, folks, and thanks for joining us for today's chat, E-Learning Creates Foreign Connections, sponsored by Aventa K-12. We'll be getting underway in just a few moments. In the meantime, keep submitting your questions below!

I'm passing the chat off to Katie, our moderator for the day.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:00 EdWeek Bryan
2:02
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Hello everyone and welcome to today's chat about creating global connections through technology!
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:02 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:02
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Thanks for submitting so many great questions already, and please continue to submit them throughout the chat.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:02 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:03
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Let's go ahead and have our panelists introduce themselves!
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:03 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:03
Tim Throne: 
Good afternoon everyone, I am Tim Throne. I work for Oxford Community Schools in Michigan. Welcome.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:03 Tim Throne
2:04
Donna Rose: 
Good Afternoon- I am Donna Rose. I am the director of VALOR Freshman Academy @ South Plantation High School in Plantation FL. We are an urban high school of 2300
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:04 Donna Rose
2:04
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Thanks, Tim. And just to get us all on the same page, could you please give us a brief background on what your district does to connect to classrooms globally?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:04 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:05
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Welcome, Donna. Could you also give us a brief background of your history with connecting students around the world?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:05 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:06
Tim Throne: 
All of our schools are going through the IB process of becoming certified. In addition, we have opened an international academy locally as well as a school in China.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:06 Tim Throne
2:06
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Great! Thanks, Tim.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:06 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:06
Donna Rose: 
The students at South Plantation have been connecting global for 5 years now. We have had partnerships throughout the globe.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:06 Donna Rose
2:07
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Fantastic. Hopefully we'll hear more details about those initiatives as we go through some of these questions. Let's jump right in!
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:07 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:07
[Comment From BrianBrian: ] 
How do we provide a "safe" virtual community? How do we re-assure parents that it is safe?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:07 Brian
2:07
Donna Rose: 
We are currently working with schools in the Congo, Japan and Yemen
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:07 Donna Rose
2:07
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Donna and Tim - has it been difficult to get parents behind these projects? What do you do to ensure that students are creating safe connections online?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:07 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:07
Donna Rose: 
Numerous ways
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:07 Donna Rose
2:08
Tim Throne: 
In addition, we have numerous sister schools throughout the world and are offering our students daily opportunities for global collaboration.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:08 Tim Throne
2:08
Donna Rose: 
Video conferencing is a number one sure fire way of creating a secure evironment. It is point to point and can be monitored
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:08 Donna Rose
2:09
Tim Throne: 
Parents have jumped right in. Especially because of the Michigan economy over the last few years or so, parents see the value in global collaborations.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:09 Tim Throne
2:09
Donna Rose: 
In addition sites such as epals, iearn, etc.. are secure
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:09 Donna Rose
2:09
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Tim - what grade levels are you working with?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:09 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:09
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Donna - you're working with high schoolers, correct?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:09 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:10
Donna Rose: 
Yes- and we have terrific parent support. It opens conversation between teen and parent
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:10 Donna Rose
2:10
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
That's great.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:10 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:10
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question for you, Donna.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:10 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:10
[Comment From GaryGary: ] 
How did Donna establish partnerships? Through organized programs like IEarn or in other ways?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:10 Gary
2:10
Tim Throne: 
We encourage all of our teachers to reach into sister school class rooms K through 12. The different age levels use various technologies that are appropriate for their class.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:10 Tim Throne
2:11
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
How do you start creating these partnerships?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:11 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:11
Donna Rose: 
Multiple ways. Programs such as Global Nomads Group and other NGO's
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:11 Donna Rose
2:12
Tim Throne: 
Our partnership have come through various means. We are a part of iNet and that connection has produced many other connections.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:12 Tim Throne
2:12
Donna Rose: 
I also use iEarn to help find schools and establish connections. They are truly global
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:12 Donna Rose
2:12
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Fantastic. Let's get more into specifics. Here's a question from Bryon.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:12 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:12
[Comment From bryonbryon: ] 
Could you describe a couple specific exambles of how you connect internationaly? What does it accomplish?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:12 bryon
2:13
Donna Rose: 
Another way is to go through post secondary schools that have internships in another nations
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:13 Donna Rose
2:13
Tim Throne: 
Our technology partners have also put us in connection with other schools throughout the world.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:13 Tim Throne
2:13
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Great - lots of helpful suggestions for schools looking to explore this!
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:13 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:13
Donna Rose: 
Our programs are built into our day to day curriculum.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:13 Donna Rose
2:14
Donna Rose: 
If we are studying about a particularly area we will seek out a connection. This helps us to plan long term
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:14 Donna Rose
2:14
Tim Throne: 
We want our students to be globally fluent. What does that mean? A second language, cultural intelligence, adaptable, flexible, effective communication skills, etc.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:14 Tim Throne
2:15
Donna Rose: 
It also increases critical thinking skills, develops oral and written expressive skills.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:15 Donna Rose
2:15
Tim Throne: 
It also allows our students to problem solve authentic issues, across cultures, in different time zones, with various technologies, in order to create and invent.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:15 Tim Throne
2:16
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
That's great. I know I read about students in your school connecting with Egyptian students to talk about Arab Spring, Donna.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:16 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:16
Donna Rose: 
It forces students to think outside of the box. Particularly if they have limited life experiences
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:16 Donna Rose
2:16
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question from Judy -
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:16 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:16
[Comment From JudyJudy: ] 
Do you e-mail, use a wiki, voicethread - what tools?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:16 Judy
2:16
Donna Rose: 
We were fortunate to be able to connect with college students directly involved with the uprising
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:16 Donna Rose
2:17
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
What tech tools do you use to make these connections?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:17 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:17
Donna Rose: 
We use email primarily as well as blogs
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:17 Donna Rose
2:17
Tim Throne: 
Yes, we use email, Skype, as well as our own LMS.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:17 Tim Throne
2:18
Donna Rose: 
Video conferencing units, as well as skype- so it comes down to what do you have?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:18 Donna Rose
2:18
Tim Throne: 
Within our LMS we have total control over who is involved in those wiki's, webliographies, chat sessions, etc.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:18 Tim Throne
2:18
Donna Rose: 
What are your resources?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:18 Donna Rose
2:19
[Comment From KarinKarin: ] 
Have you used Internet devices, which project real time, live face to face interaction, such as Skype, with classes say in China, for the purposes of learning a second language, particularly for speaking, and conversation learning? If so, have students learning the target language found that the use of the Internet device has been successful or comparable to language immersion with native speakers of the target language or at least a similar experience?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:19 Karin
2:19
Donna Rose: 
We do not have that level of control so use sites that do
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:19 Donna Rose
2:19
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Tim - you might have some feedback on this question from Karin.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:19 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:20
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Are your students connecting with students in China to learn the language? Or is it more through email/blogs rather than live chatting because of the time difference?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:20 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:20
Tim Throne: 
We have used real-time video to converse between two class rooms, in our case, yes it was with a class in China.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:20 Tim Throne
2:21
Donna Rose: 
We use real time to connect to students in Japan for the same purpose. They have breakfast we have dinner
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:21 Donna Rose
2:21
Tim Throne: 
From what we have heard from students, the thing they like most is the opportunity to practice their conversational language skills in this real-time environment.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:21 Tim Throne
2:21
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
That's great. Is it mostly Chinese or Japanese students practicing their English? Or vice versa?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:21 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:22
Donna Rose: 
We attempt to have equity. But the Japanese are always practicing English. it is a
language of business
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:22 Donna Rose
2:22
Tim Throne: 
We do use email, blogs, and our LMS the most because of the time difference. However, we try to plan sessions a week or so in advance so that the students do have a chance to converse back and forth. The time difference is a challenge :)
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:22 Tim Throne
2:23
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
LMS = learning management system
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:23 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:24
Tim Throne: 
Correct, sorry about that. LMS stands for Learning Management System. Examples would be Blackboard, Moodle, eCollege, etc.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:24 Tim Throne
2:24
[Comment From KristenKristen: ] 
Do you utilize any sites or partner with any groups to help develop and integrate global connections into your lesson and curriculum planning? If yes, can you recommend any resources?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:24 Kristen
2:24
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question from Kristen about how to get this started. Any advice for her?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:24 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:25
Donna Rose: 
Yes, I use Global Nomads Groupas well as othersto partner with -they do have curriculum and alignment to national standards
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:25 Donna Rose
2:25
Tim Throne: 
We use the Confucius Institute at Michigan State University for our Chinese.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:25 Tim Throne
2:26
Donna Rose: 
Ok- what do you want to do?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:26 Donna Rose
2:26
Tim Throne: 
We also utilize the Asia Society.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:26 Tim Throne
2:27
Donna Rose: 
iEARN is also a good place to begin if you are project oriented.We use Asia Society as well
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:27 Donna Rose
2:27
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Great. Here's a question for you, Donna, about how your programs are set up.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:27 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:27
[Comment From BrianBrian: ] 
Is the communication in each class throughout the day?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:27 Brian
2:27
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
How does it work at Oxford, Tim? Is it a separate class? Or a once-a-week elective?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:27 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:28
Tim Throne: 
We require language every day K through 10th grade. We call this our 5th core.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:28 Tim Throne
2:28
Donna Rose: 
Teachers work together in core areas to develop curriculum. English- Geography and our Research class Ex...
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:28 Donna Rose
2:29
Tim Throne: 
We expect all our classes, however, to be involved in creating these global connections, not just the language classes.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:29 Tim Throne
2:29
Donna Rose: 
We keep flexible for conferences and will "share time"
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:29 Donna Rose
2:30
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question for you, Tim.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:30 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:30
[Comment From JudyJudy: ] 
Any recommendations for middle or elementary school?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:30 Judy
2:30
Donna Rose: 
All of our classes are involved as well. We also try to bring guest speakers into the school to enhance student studies
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:30 Donna Rose
2:30
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Is there anything specific you have to keep in mind for elementary or middle school classrooms versus high school?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:30 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:31
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's an example from Jossie.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:31 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:31
[Comment From JossieJossie: ] 
Check out steminds.ning.com and Steminds.wikispaces.com this may give you a better sense of how you can start a student-driven learning experiences across culture, langauge, ethnicity, SES, etc. in STEM
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:31 Jossie
2:31
Donna Rose: 
Yes. Attention span
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:31 Donna Rose
2:32
Donna Rose: 
Middle school and elementary school lend well to global connections because teachers work in teams
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:32 Donna Rose
2:32
Tim Throne: 
The technology being used. That is, more simplistic at the lower levels.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:32 Tim Throne
2:33
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Makes sense.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:33 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:33
Tim Throne: 
In regards to actual topics, just the normal age appropriate curriculum.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:33 Tim Throne
2:34
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a series of questions from Barb.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:34 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:34
[Comment From Barb HBarb H: ] 
How do you find out who has the technology and /or desire to set up a session? How do you work around time zones and varying school years? (Vacations in South America are during January, February) Can you record a session? (I have 4 Spanish I classes and probably won’t be able to do a session in each one)
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:34 Barb H
2:34
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
I think we've answered a couple of these, but do you have any advice on how to coordinate when it comes to time zones/school years?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:34 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:34
Donna Rose: 
Yes. Get your partners calendar up front.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:34 Donna Rose
2:35
Tim Throne: 
Depending upon the technology, we can record some and others not. I would say there is a substantial amount of time coordinating the live sessions between classes.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:35 Tim Throne
2:35
Donna Rose: 
Set up a consistent day and time to connect
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:35 Donna Rose
2:36
Tim Throne: 
The only way to work around time zones is to take turns for the live sessions. For others, they can be recorded and made available any time.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:36 Tim Throne
2:36
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Good suggestion, Tim.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:36 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:36
Donna Rose: 
I agree. Once the connection is made it can come down to simple emails prior to a session
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:36 Donna Rose
2:36
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
A lot of folks seem to be curious about how to start these kinds of partnerships. Here's a question from Judy that gets at that:
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:36 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:37
[Comment From JudyJudy: ] 
Can one of you explain what you look for on your first visit to a place like ePals or iEarn?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:37 Judy
2:37
Donna Rose: 
If students and parents see the value in the connection they help to make the time zone issue work
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:37 Donna Rose
2:37
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
What do you look for in potential new partners? Are there questions to ask to get a better idea of whether or not it's a good fit?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:37 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:38
Donna Rose: 
First we look for common goals
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:38 Donna Rose
2:38
Tim Throne: 
To be honest with you, many of our first visits to class rooms were with connections we made in person. Such as meeting people at iNet or another conferences.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:38 Tim Throne
2:38
Donna Rose: 
Most of ours are the opposite
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:38 Donna Rose
2:39
Donna Rose: 
We will speak to an educator first as they will drive the conferences and connections
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:39 Donna Rose
2:39
Tim Throne: 
I agree with Donna, common goals or objectives is huge. For us, maybe finding another IB school, that kind of thing.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:39 Tim Throne
2:39
Donna Rose: 
This can be done via skype, VC, email, etc...
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:39 Donna Rose
2:40
[Comment From JossieJossie: ] 
Partners- must share a common goal and be driven! Our school partners are passionate about results.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:40 Jossie
2:40
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Jossie agrees!
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:40 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:40
Donna Rose: 
Student differences in age , etc.. are ok
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:40 Donna Rose
2:41
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question from Lydia.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:41 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:41
[Comment From Lydia HolleyLydia Holley: ] 
Are students pursuing these connections on their own time, as well as during school hours?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:41 Lydia Holley
2:41
Tim Throne: 
We also try and help our partners out. That is, maybe we do some school-wide activity to help another sister school out. For example, we were involved in a chicken project for a very poor school in South Africa.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:41 Tim Throne
2:41
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Do these projects extend beyond school hours?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:41 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:42
Donna Rose: 
If we are blogging or have email partners yes, but often they cannot have access to students except through our VC's
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:42 Donna Rose
2:43
Tim Throne: 
Some projects do extend beyond school hours, some don't. I would say the same is true for some of the connections. In order for students to finish their projects, they have to figure out ways of getting the work done that often happens outside of the defined class time.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:43 Tim Throne
2:43
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Excellent. Here's some feedback from Andrea.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:43 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:43
[Comment From AndreaAndrea: ] 
Our 5th graders have their ePals email log ons and communicate in class and on their own time.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:43 Andrea
2:43
Donna Rose: 
We are involved with a social enterprenuership project with the Congo at this time. it is incredibly positive and will extend beyond class time
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:43 Donna Rose
2:43
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Sounds really interesting, Donna. I'd love to hear more about that.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:43 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:44
Tim Throne: 
Yes, just because it is on the students' own time, doesn't mean it can't be in a safe and still controlled environment.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:44 Tim Throne
2:45
Donna Rose: 
Being in an urban environment we try to make the global experience a true partnership. That means you raise funds together to help create sustainability in the community
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:45 Donna Rose
2:45
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Interesting! Lots of different aspects to it.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:45 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:45
[Comment From AndreaAndrea: ] 
epals allows me to see all of the communication the students have outside of school time.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:45 Andrea
2:45
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Interesting comment from Andrea...
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:45 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:45
Tim Throne: 
With any partnership there is give and take. Each is different in that way.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:45 Tim Throne
2:45
Donna Rose: 
This really establishes the 1-1 connection. They make the products- we market and sell
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:45 Donna Rose
2:46
Donna Rose: 
I value epals for that reason. You do have the ability to monitor .
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:46 Donna Rose
2:46
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
It definitely seems like this is a great example of authentic learning - connecting students with real world examples, solving real world problems.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:46 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:47
[Comment From BrianBrian: ] 
Do your students discuss educational issues, bullying, drop out, engagement? or is it strictly foreign language immersion?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:47 Brian
2:47
Donna Rose: 
It is the way our students will do business in the future
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:47 Donna Rose
2:47
Donna Rose: 
Our students discuss EVERYTHING
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:47 Donna Rose
2:48
Tim Throne: 
Most students are shy at the beginning but depending upon the age level, some of the students needs to have pretty defined conversations in order to work on their project and come up with new ideas.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:48 Tim Throne
2:48
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
So it definitely is more of a cultural exchange.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:48 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:49
Donna Rose: 
Although sturctured to start- conversations often include music, dating, sex, clothing, peer pressure, parents... teens especially find a way to sneak it in... on both sides
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:49 Donna Rose
2:49
Tim Throne: 
It all depends upon the goal of the connection. Is it just to enhance language skill or is that a by-product of another curricular objective.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:49 Tim Throne
2:50
Tim Throne: 
You can't have language without culture.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:50 Tim Throne
2:50
Donna Rose: 
The shared conversation can create a comfort level that enhances the ability for a project to move forward and work collaboratively
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:50 Donna Rose
2:50
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
That's great. Here are some more examples from Jossie.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:50 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:50
[Comment From JossieJossie: ] 
Our students discuss real-life issues...pollution, garbage, water access, smog in India, energy... they are constantly talking on the network. We have frame this project, STEMinds for the Future based on Alan November- 3 skills students need to succeed in life. His talks are in You Tube. Worth viewing with your staff.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:50 Jossie
2:50
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
And a suggestion from Rita -
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:50 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:50
[Comment From Rita OatesRita Oates: ] 
ePals has Student Forums where students can post Q and A that interest them. Are there homeless people where you live? ePals moderates this so there's no inappropriate language or online bullying.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:50 Rita Oates
2:51
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a question from Robben.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:51 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:51
[Comment From Robben WainerRobben Wainer: ] 
Do you feel visual and graphic commentary improves fluency?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:51 Robben Wainer
2:51
Tim Throne: 
Agreed, we have listened to seen Alan numerous times.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:51 Tim Throne
2:51
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Do you think it's easier for students to learn language once they establish a cultural connection with it?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:51 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:52
Donna Rose: 
Yes. We often show videos, powerpoints etc... to assist in language development and cultural exchange
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:52 Donna Rose
2:52
Donna Rose: 
I believe they are more motivated and see a purpose to learn a language
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:52 Donna Rose
2:52
Tim Throne: 
Yes, visual and graphic commentary absolutely helps both with language and cultural knowledge.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:52 Tim Throne
2:53
Donna Rose: 
Especially if the have little day to day interchange with anyone who speaks the langauge
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:53 Donna Rose
2:53
Tim Throne: 
Music is another great tool.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:53 Tim Throne
2:53
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Here's a logistical question from Rina.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:53 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:53
[Comment From RinaRina: ] 
Do you work with one group of students for an extended amount of time or offer the experience to a new set of students after each project is over?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:53 Rina
2:53
Donna Rose: 
Music yes- definitely
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:53 Donna Rose
2:53
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
How many students are typically doing this at one time? A class of them?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:53 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:53
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Small groups?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:53 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:54
Tim Throne: 
Some are an entire class at a time. Others are broken out into groups within a class. Much of this is dependent upon the lesson.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:54 Tim Throne
2:55
Donna Rose: 
We work with multiple groups at a time. Each may have a different focus.
Ex... one groupsstudy has focused on Arab Spring and the other the Congo
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:55 Donna Rose
2:55
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Great. And what about student engagement - Bryon has a question about that.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:55 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:55
[Comment From BryonBryon: ] 
Do you notice a marked increase in student engagemnt with these collabarations?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:55 Bryon
2:56
Tim Throne: 
Engagement, motivation, it all goes up when students know they are doing authentic work, that it is relational in nature, and something that is not necessarily prescribed.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:56 Tim Throne
2:56
Donna Rose: 
It is amazing how the most reserved student will begin to blossom because of these connections. We conduct surveys pre , mid and post to monitor engagement , etc..
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:56 Donna Rose
2:57
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
That's great. That's an exciting thing to see in the classroom!
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:57 Moderator: Katie Ash
2:58
Donna Rose: 
We all desire to connect to each other and learn from each other. It is in a students mind, work that means something
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:58 Donna Rose
2:58
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Well, we're almost out of time here. Tim and Donna - would you like to wrap it up with one piece of advice you would give to other schools and classrooms hoping to start up collaborations like this?
Tuesday February 14, 2012 2:58 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:01
Tim Throne: 
My advice would be to just do it! It can be intimidating at first but after attempted, you will not regret it. Continue to be the number one learner and number one teacher. If you are doing that, you can't go wrong.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 3:01 Tim Throne
3:01
Donna Rose: 
Define your goal. Then decide the who, when, how. The connections are out there through many of the organizations we noted. You are free to contact me via email @ donna.rose@browardschools.com if you would like any assistance in this area.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 3:01 Donna Rose
3:01
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
Great! Thank you so much Donna and Tim - you shared lots of great information today.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 3:01 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:01
Moderator: Katie Ash: 
And thanks to everyone else for submitting such thoughtful questions!
Tuesday February 14, 2012 3:01 Moderator: Katie Ash
3:01
EdWeek Bryan: 
Thanks to all of you who joined us today for our chat on e-learning, sponsored by Aventa K-12. A special thanks goes out to our two guests and our moderator, Katie.

A transcript of today's chat will be available at the same link within the hour. Thanks again for joining us, and have a great rest of your Valentine's Day.
Tuesday February 14, 2012 3:01 EdWeek Bryan
3:02
 

 
 
 

E-Learning Creates Foreign Connections

Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 2 p.m. ET

Technology tools such as the Internet, Skype, and blogs are helping students in the U.S. forge meaningful connections with classrooms in other countries, including Egypt and China. These exchanges facilitate cultural understanding across borders, teach students how to collaborate with their peers around the world, and provide an opportunity for students to gain the skills they need to succeed in a global economy. Our guests in this chat talked about the partnerships they have built with schools in other countries. They outlined some of the challenges they’ve encountered in these foreign exchanges as well as the success stories they’ve seen as a result of the partnerships.

Guests:
Tim Throne, executive director for strategic initiatives & technology, Oxford Community Schools in Michigan
Donna Rose, director, South Plantation High School’s VALOR Freshman Academy in Florida

Katie Ash, staff writer, Education Week Digital Directions, moderated this chat.

Related Stories:
  • U.S. Schools Forge Foreign Connections (February 1, 2012)
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