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Colorado Schools -- ISTE workshop on global education on Sunday, June 27 in Denver

You do NOT need to register for the ISTE conference to attend this workshop.

Cost: $109

Register at this link:

Session Title Weaving Web 2.0 into Learning: Using ePals Community and Collaboration

Session Description You want Web 2.0 tools and global collaboration, but where to start? Use ePals' powerful free Web-based tools and community to improve student learning.

Purpose & Objectives This workshop session will inspire and encourage teachers and others to engage their students in global collaborative projects through free, safe and protected websites and communications tools. Examples of collaborations, projects, interactions, cultural objects and digital storytelling among students from countries around the world will demonstrate how instructionally beneficial and engaging it is to add global collaboration to the classroom.
Teachers will also see the steps of starting a simple project, finding partner classrooms, using translation tools, and more. Students take an active role in learning. If their partner students are learning English as a Second (or Third) Language, they will want to do their best to communicate clearly to a peer. Students can ask questions that go beyond the textbook. For example, what does a textbook in the UK say about the American Revolution or the Civil War? What do people in another country say about American politicans or actions in their country? How much of American culture is familiar outside US borders, and where are there misunderstandings because of language or culture? By participating in global collaborative projects using ICT, students explore many social and cultural issues. By learning about, and with students from all over the world, students develop empathy, caring, compassion and a deeper understanding of youth from elsewhere and in a variety of living and educational situations.
Teachers can integrate a variety of subjects and levels to create authentic learning and increased student engagement, student achievement, and character development. All learners can display their understanding of concepts and curriculum.
More structured curricula, such as a language course (Spanish, English as a Second Language) and also courses part of programs such as International Baccalaureate have found power in using a new ePals platform called LearningSpace. This combines multiple web 2.0 features and allows other programs to be plugged in, maximizing opportunities for powerful and safe student learning. Examples of these "next generation" tools will be demonstrated.
Research clearly shows that students who participate in global collaborative projects do use higher order and critical thinking skills and do more work than required. The students might not otherwise have the opportunity to communicate with people in these other places or circumstances. Students and teachers use technology in a safe, secure and meaningful way while increasing their understanding of similiarities and differences. Their "ethnocentrism" decreases and their "cultural relativism" increases. As our societies across the globe have become increasingly diverse, this is an important lesson for 21st century citizens of the world.

Outline Using real and current examples, we will show how connecting students through ePals to others around the world impacts student learning, both the "curriculum" and also their values and biases. Using a variety of tools including email, blogs, chats, webcasts, video conferencing and more, students participate in projects based on common topics and meeting curricular and national standards. Students learn from and with each other, giving unique perspectives to their learning. In addition, an learning platform such as LearningSpace that fights "web 2.0 sprawl" by combining multiple tools into one integrated site (with abilities to plug in multiple other products) helps move learners to new opportunities.

For example, here are some teacher-developed projects. Students in schools in Senegal with dirt floors and no electricity create digital movies of some aspect of their lives. (The teachers take home the laptops and flip cameras to charge them at night.) Students share MP3 clips in a project, "What does English sound like?" Students discuss literature or ideas about what it means "to be old" in their society, contrasting with the attitudes of other places.

Students develop deep, real and meaningful relationships with others from around the globe. One goal of global collaboration is developing an understanding of one’s own culture while teaching others about one's own culture and way of life. Students have developed friendships that have defied the barriers of age, race, economics, language and geography.

Curriculum integration is also important. We will explore several ePals projects, including the most popular one, The Way We Are, as well as other projects including Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Teamearth. Participants will see how the students use old and new technologies to communicate, collaborate and learn in these projects. The students may produce a culminating presentation to showcase their understandings of the topic and the concepts presented. Some projects also have a "call to action" with impetus for ongoing student involvement. The "Students Speak" feature will be demonstrated so that participants can see how their student work may have worldwide viewing and impact.

Assessment of student work, both in short-term and long-term collaborations, will be addressed. Ways to find and start collaborations will be articulated so that participants can be successful. It is expected that those in the workshop will NOT have had a collaborative learning experience for their students with students from another country.

Supporting Research Bonk, Curtis. The World is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education. Jossey-Bass, 2009.

Boss, Susie and Krauss, Jane. Reinventing Project-Based Learning: Your Field Guide to Real-World Projects in the Digital Age. ISTE, 2008.

Cornelius, C. and Vest, T. "Spicing Up Spanish Class," Learning & Leading with Technology, May 2009, p. 32-33

DiScipio, Tim , "Adapting Social Networking to Address 21st-Century Skills," Multimedia & Internet @Schools, Sept./Oct. 2008, p. 10-11.

"Friendship Through Education: A Sampler of International Web Projects." Edutopia, 2002.

Greenberg, Alan D. Emerging, Converging Collaboration Solutions for K-12 Learning Communities: The Benefits of Conferencing, Collaboration, and Presence Through IP Technologies, Wainhouse
Research, May 2006.

Groff, J. and Haas, J. "Web 2.0: Today’s Technologies, Tomorrow’s Learning," Learning & Leading with Technology, Sept./Oct. 2008, 12-15.

National School Boards Association. Creating and Connecting - Research and Guidelines on Online Social - and Educational - Networking.

Oates, Rita. "ePals: Students Collaborating on Weather, Climate Change and More," Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears, Peoples of the Arctic - Issue 16, October 2009.!technology

Oates, Rita. "How to Learn in the 21st Century," Educational Leadership (Sept. 2009).

Peters, Laurence. Global Education: Using Technology to Bring the World to Your Students. ISTE: 2009.

Schrum, Lynn, & Solomon, Gwen. Web 2.0 New Tools, New Schools. ISTE, 2008.

Presenter Background

Dr. Rita Oates has presented at almost every NECC in the past 20 years, with rave reviews for her engaging, thorough and entertaining sessions. She has also done workshops at state, regional and national workshops for many years, from coast to coast. She is leading preconference workshops at four major regional conferences in spring 2010. She formerly was the ed tech director of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the nation's fourth largest district, where she received several multimillion dollar grants for technology development, resulting in two award-winning products. She is the author of 10 books and more than 100 articles about technology in education and school reform. Currently, she is the vice president of education markets at ePals, where she works with school districts, PD groups, regional and state groups to help teachers integrate global collaboration and communication into student learning.

Norma Jennings is an IT teacher in Escambia County Public Schools in Pensacola, FL, where she assists with the district-wide implementation of ePals with about 40,000 students. She is also the president of FACE, the Florida affiliate of ISTE. Norma was a special education teacher earlier in her career. She is responsible for leading professional development in technology in a group of schools in Escambia County and is also active as a board member of CoSN Council of Florida and the Florida Council of Instructional Technology Leaders. She is highly experienced as a workshop presenter and was selected as one of the state's Master Digital Educators, delivering summer workshops to teachers across the state. Norma presented a poster session at NECC 2009. She is a frequent presenter at FETC.

John Lien is the Senior Administrator for Technology in Professional Development Services in Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, FL. He is the president-elect of FACE, the Florida affiliate of ISTE. He is responsible for the district-wide implementation of ePals in Orange County School District, with about 125,000 students. He taught physical science to 8th graders for nine years before becoming a technology resource teacher. He is highly experienced as a workshop presenter and was selected as one of the state's Master Digital Educators, delivering sessions in the summer to teachers across the state. He is a frequent speaker and workshop presenter at FETC and other conferences. John is also bilingual in Spanish.

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