Immediately I thought of some of the collaboration happening between students from around the world. I am reading about projects where students from different countries and cultures are using Wikispaces, Ning, and Skype to communicate with each other in the Horizon Project 2008. Christine Southard and Lisa Parisi used wikispaces for collaboration between their class in New York and another class in New Zealand to compare the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere in Comparing Hemispheres. As I get excited thinking about the possibilities, I wonder how anyone could think technology reduces the number of “real-world” experiences. I believe it could open up the world for our students and with the right teacher (with administrative support of course) the opportunities and possibilities are endless.
Vicki Davis (Cool Cat Teacher) talks about what she Overheard today: “We don’t live in tents!”:
“One of my extremely excited and talented assistant project managers for Horizon Project has set up an appointment to instant message the project manager in Doha, Qatar today. They had an appointment for 8 am and 12:30 noon! (Uhm -- we got out at noon for spring break!).As they made their intros and said hello, first she exclaimed to the class:
"Hey, guys -- they go to school on Sunday through Thursday."Another one of my students didn't "get" what she was saying and said, "Let them just TRY to make ME go to school on Sunday.""No, you don't understand, she said, their weekend is Friday and Saturday."
Now this is interesting because I had told my students this... in fact, I have told them multiple times, however, it was this exchange that got their attention. It was this exchange that TAUGHT them!”
Personally, I have connected with other educators in the “real world” through blogging and Twitter. These have led me to live online professional development sessions that I wouldn’t have had if I had not been using technology. Through my own professional learning network, I have found tools that can connect teachers with teachers, classrooms to classrooms, students to other students, and cultures to cultures. Maybe this is the first step towards world peace. I feel a lot of hatred and intolerance is due to ignorance and what better way to get beyond that by connecting with other cultures and learning about the real people in these worlds.
I truly believe that technology is definitely increasing our commitment to human relationships and the natural world. Like anything else in our world, if abused or not used right, it can be a negative thing but as teachers, I feel it is up to us to show our students how to use it to build bridges to the rest of the world. I believe our students can be successful in building the bridges to learning!
Misty bridge by Ron Layters
Brooklyn Bridge by Simply Schmoopie
Sydney Harbour Bridge by Ben Harris Roxas