I created this chart to show how that progression—that deepening of purpose—can happen.
We have free and brilliant technology tools to make these connections possible. My three favorites are:
- Empatico. For elementary schools, you enter your grade level, location, availability, and activity choices (they have 9 so far) and Empatico magically finds you a partner classroom with the same interests! You are matched with another class somewhere in the world, and when you are ready, you launch the video chat right within the website; it couldn’t be easier! My entire school district is using Empatico in our 175+ elementary classrooms and it has truly brought the world to our students.
- Skype in the Classroom. If you haven’t checked out the Skype in the Classroom site, please click on the link! In addition to virtual field trips and guest speakers, you can always find classes, teachers, and projects. There are so many choices and connections from all over the world, and Skype in the Classroom is always adding new things! Oh, and follow them on Facebook too—they have a thriving community of educators who are always reaching out and looking for unique connections.
- Flipgrid (GridPals). The amazing and wildly popular Flipgrid is widely known for its power to amplify student voice by allowing students to create video responses to prompts or topics—and kids LOVE it! Well, Flipgrid has a unique use that you may not have considered. It can basically work as an asynchronous option to connect and communicate with classes in time zones with which you wouldn’t typically be able to connect! They have a whole section on their website that explains how to use something called GridPals to find connections.
Let’s do this together. Share the chart above and linked resources with colleagues. Then, let’s all give our students the greatest gift of all—exposure to global classrooms and global issues that inspire action—and empathy.
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