Tech Toolkit:     Clicking ~ Commenting ~ Conversing ~ Creating ~ Connecting

How do you get students to engage in real dialogue?

IMG_6112Strategy #1: Match Penpals – Whether exchanging letters, email, or even voice recordings, students love making new friends. There are lots of ways to make matches, through personal connections or new friends met online (In this post, I let students sign themselves up using Google Docs to make the matches).

Tools to Look Like a Pro:

  • ePals – This free site allows teachers all over the world to post what they are looking for in a partner class, and match students to communicate in a safe forum via email.
  • Reach the World – Educators can match with a traveler to follow their experiences on the road!
  • – Read interviews with traveling teachers and get in touch with one who inspires you!
  • SoundCloud – Use SoundCloud to record your voice and send to anywhere with internet access.

Class PhotoStrategy #2: Video Exchange – It doesn’t take fancy technology to record a video, but students love to see other students on the screen! While abroad, I used video to allow students in the U.S. to “talk” to students in Ukraine. You can see the process summarized in the video below, first in Ukraine, then American responses in the comments, then more answers in two more posts, and a reflection from the kids in the U.S.!

Tools to Look Like a Pro:

  • Screencast-o-matic and Jing – Create short videos telling the story of what you see on your screen.
  • 30 Hands App – Overwhelmed with recording video? This app helps you combine pictures and voice into mini-videos.
  • Vine – What can you capture in 6 seconds? People around the world can let you know!

Strategy #3: Real Time Video ConferencingIf you can’t actually talk to someone in person, the next best thing is video conferencing. Students get to chat in real time and another part of the world comes alive. Below is a taste of one of our Skype Calls with a teacher and his students in Botswana (full story and longer video here).

Tools to Look Like a Pro:

Screen Shot 2012-06-08 at 9.17.17 PMStrategy #4: Partner ClassBe creative about getting out there and finding classes around the world that might be able to partner with you. I’ve tried all sorts of methods for getting in touch with teachers abroad to match our classes and either share our work with each other or collaborate on a project.

Tools to Look Like a Pro:

  • iEarn – Truly the experts in international collaboration, iEarn can help you find a partner class almost anywhere.
  • Flat Classroom – A network of classrooms around the world who want to collaborate.
  • Wandering Educators – A global network of educators who love to travel seems like a great place to find like-minded teachers.
  • Creative Connections – Students examine art from classes across the globe.
  • GlobalSchoolNet – Yet another organization that helps match classrooms.

Move on to the next step, Creating!


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