Monday, 8 August 2011

Interschool Projects - Getting Started

If you are fortunate enough to have found a school you can collaborate on a project with, you may be looking for some ideas to get started. Below are some activities that I have used to get the ball rolling and allow learners to introduce themselves. You can share the results any way you like, but we decided that a wiki was the best way to keep everything in one place and easily accessible.

Getting to Know You
  • Learners create a poster to introduce themselves. If computer access is readily available, I recommend using a tool such as Glogster. The resulting glogs can be embedded into any website, blog and most VLEs for easy access. Alternatively, links can be emailed or published.
  • My learners came up with the idea of producing their own 'A Day in the Life of Me' mini-documentaries. I was totally blown away by how engaged they were and the resulting video shorts (we agreed a maximum of 4 minutes) allowed them to practise and hone their planning, editing and presentation skills. They got a massive confidence boost when these were embedded on our shared wiki and people left comments and questions about their lives. It was also a great way for me to deepen my understanding of their daily lives outside my classroom. Our learners have webcams which is how they did most of the recordings, but others can use school equipment where available or mobile phone cameras, if they have them. If not, perhaps they could scan pictures or find images of their activities through the day, and create a whizzy slideshow presentation using Powerpoint or a free online alternative (such as Prezi or Zoho), in place of a video. Voice comments can be recorded and embedded by using free software such Audacity.
  • After these initial activities, my groups have gone on to produce articles (using templates in Word / Pages / online) about individually-chosen aspects of their culture. Past examples have included: local food; national sports; national clothing; traditional festivals etc. but you can easily adapt the topic to suit your learning unit. I find that the learners themselves come up with the most engaging topics. If working lo-tech, these can be hand-written and emailed over.
As always, if you need any technical support with these ideas, just use the Contact page to get in touch.

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