What is an innovative way to share a project with many schools around the world via the internet?
May 23, 2006 3:35 AM   Subscribe

What is an innovative way to share a project with many schools around the world via the internet?

I've worked on a number of online collaborative projects between schools in the US and abroad (generally developing countries). These projects tend to include the following: distribution of a teacher's guide and a student's guide; teachers get into online forums to discuss how they'll impliment it in the classrooms; classes do the project (or the 1st part of the project); students get into some sort of online forum to discuss the project (language barrier, discussed below, becomes major problem here); students do next part of project; more forum discussion; ends with a live chat possibly. (BTW: The projects are usually civics related.)

The key problems tend to be the language barriers between the kids and teachers in the US and those abroad; kids in the US being much more familiar with using online forums and chat rooms and being naughty in the forums; and possibly most importantly, the legal implications of running a project for children (schools block most chat apps, forums; kids aren't allowed to share identifying things like e-mail addresses, photos, last names; moderating the forums is a pain.) All of these challenges make this sort of program nearly a waste of time for me personally and I don't think that the kids got a lot out of it.

Now I've been offered an opportunity, 4 years later, to start another one of these programs from scratch.

I'm looking for the hive to help me figure out a fun and useful way to get around these problems of language, technological digital divide and legalities.

Any ideas?

The only requirements seem to be that it still is for students and teachers at a secondary school level and that it be civics related. Kids will still need to remain anonymous and not have their own profiles or accounts. I'd also like to not have to spend hours of my day moderating forums. Somehow this seems nearly impossible to me. Oh, and we have to assume that the schools in developing countries are like to not have high speed (or even reliable) internet or access to hardware like scanners, cameras, microphones, webcams.
posted by k8t to Education (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps you could do some kind of project which features annotated photography. I am imagining the sort of thing that could be done using Flickr accounts.

Of course not every school in a developing country will have a digital camera or even a scanner - but my guess would be that there will normally be some way around this for somebody with a computer and internet connection. Even if it takes them a few days to get their results into digital form and posted this would probably still make the project possible.
posted by rongorongo at 4:16 AM on May 23, 2006

Try looking up the Young Caucaus Project and ThinkQuest - they do international student projects pretty similar to what you're suggesting.
posted by divabat at 4:56 AM on May 23, 2006

Response by poster: I do the Young Caucasus Project, DivaBat. ;)

But that's pretty small scale and with individual kids over age 16. This new project involves classrooms, which makes it tougher.
posted by k8t at 5:01 AM on May 23, 2006

Ha, I thought your name sounded familiar!

ThinkQuest would be your thing then - students from all around the world collaborate on group projects. They can go at it individually, or on a class basis.
posted by divabat at 5:07 AM on May 23, 2006

We use gaggle.net (safe emal for students and teachers) but the also have chat & message boards. They now have blogs. It is pretty neat. I could tell you all the stuff it does but it is easier to just check it out. And it is free.
posted by nimsey lou at 6:07 AM on May 23, 2006

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