I feel like George Constanza at times, trying to explain the premise behind the Writers' club:
There are heaps of global collaborative projects around - just take a cruise around The Global Education Ning if you are looking for something specific. However, in terms of global collaboration, we've taken a slightly different route at The North School.
Most of the global education projects out there have specific goals or themes : discussing certain books, historical events, cultural themes, and so on. While these are great, we have found that it can be hard to align what we're teaching (which is often tied to whole-school planning) to a global opportunity. And the lifetime of these connections can be limited. So rather than having a specific theme for collaboration, we've gone for the most general thing we could think of.
All students write. So we thought, if we could offer students a chance to have their writing read and commented on by students from around the world, that might motivate them to write more, and they might find out more about their readers at the same time. We also thought that because writing is pretty much an everyday activity, it means that interacting globally would be an everyday occurrence.
We also wanted to encourage as many schools as humanly possible to be a part of this site. The reality is that global education through technology remains something for the 'outliers' of education - it is far from mainstream. We wanted to lower the barrier to participation as much as possible to encourage schools and teachers that aren't outliers to get their feet wet in global education.
How do we lower the barrier to participation? Well, there are few restrictions on the site. Students get a blog, and can put up writing as often as they like - they can write every day, or they can write once a year. They can write about anything they like - stories, persuasive pieces, information texts... anything at all. And a teacher can have their whole class on, or just one particularly passionate writer.
And with only loose boundaries, who knows what a bunch of passionate writers will inspire each other to write.
Cross-posted at sbaglia.com.