Most of my learning in the past couple of years has come from online interactions. Through conferences, blogs, Twitter, Skype… I have made some wonderful connections and broadened my thinking enormously. I have shared ideas about teaching and learning with educators on every continent. I have interacted with interesting people who have made me think in different ways about big ideas in education, about the world and about myself.
What’s taken place in my own learning should apply to students too. I know the days of just learning in a room with walls are over. Just as I have expanded my learning sphere, so can they…
Last week I thought it was exciting that some of my Year 5 students were teaching Hebrew to a 15 year old in Colorado. The fact that a group of Year 6 students was coming to talk to kids in India at lunchtimes was amazing. This week, it’s becoming ordinary. We’re getting to used to it! Both groups had conversations today and they are beginning to take the lead themselves. I try to stay out of the way as much as possible.
I asked Manish at the SOLE in Maharashtra why he’d enjoyed talking to the kids in Australia. He thought for a minute, then typed ‘We have a common thing which is talk freely with another childrens.’ Isabella and Liat in Melbourne said, ‘Instead of learning about them, we talked to them. It was fun to talk to people who we thought were completely different and find how similar they are to us.’
Right now Year 6 at my school are learning about our Asian neigbours. The central idea of their unit is ‘Acquiring an understanding of our geographical neighbours develops a global perspective’. What better way of promoting such understanding than through kids talking to kids. So far we have organised a group in India and a group in Thailand with whom the students will interact. More to come…
It’s a model for what learning can look like. Should look like. I’m hoping gradually it will become commonplace. Groups of students learning from and with other kids anywhere in the world. Learners on different continents sharing, debating and discussing. Kids communicating and collaborating across the globe.
And it’s not even difficult to achieve.