LET’S GET THIS STARTED!
The past month has been a bit crazy. Our school went back on Home Learning for three weeks following a small COVID outbreak in Vietnam. This has been the only time we have been online this school year, so I feel very fortunate as I know some of you are just returning to on-campus learning after a full year.
My students are currently about 3/4 of the way through my final course project. Going online was an easy transition as I had everything for my final project unit set-up for the kids digitally anyways. This allowed the students to continue to work collaboratively and for me to offer feedback and small group instruction through Zoom.
The time to complete the Course 5 Project is already going by quickly, so it about time I start blogging again!
GOING BACK TO THE BEGINNING
To begin, I went back to my Orientation blog post on My Learning Goals this week. Back in February of 2020, I identified ISTE Student Goal 7: Global Collaborator and ISTE Educator Goal 4: Collaborator as an area I wanted to focus on throughout my COETAIL experience. I had a strong desire to give students opportunities to collaborate with others outside of the classroom, which would give them an early appreciation for authentic, real-world learning experiences.
My Course 5 Final Project is a Social Justice Issues Unit that will end with students doing a Ted Talk on their issues. One of my goals for this unit is to connect students with experts on their topics. What better time than now to connect students virtually!
A year after setting my learning goals for COETAIL and, I am finally taking ACTION to make these experiences happen. Here’s how…
Skype a Scientist
I believe I was introduced to Skype a Scientist while reading one of the Online 12 Blog posts (not sure who it was). Skype a Scientist connects classrooms across the globe with real scientists. All you have to do is fill-out a Google Form, which includes the best times for your class to connect and what type of scientist you are looking to connect with. After that, you wait to get an email like this telling you that a match has been found.
Soon after receiving the email, I reached out to the scientist who is living in Alberta, Canada. We were able to set a time that worked for our polar opposite time zones, which ending up aligning with students coming back to on-campus learning as well!
Five groups (10 students) are researching environmental issues for their Social Justice Issues Project. Having the opportunity to speak with Ms. Garg, allowed these students to hear first-hand from a real scientist what is being done to protect the oceans (particularly coral reefs) from human activity.
Not only was this experience insightful for those students researching that particular topic, but it was also inspiring for others as well. One group of girls is researching gender quality. Ms. Garg was able to offer some advice to these girls about getting more women interested in S.T.E.M.
Skype a Scientist was so easy to do! It was a good step in what I hope is just the beginning of making more global connections. I can’t wait to share some more ways I have been able to make meaningful connections outside of the classroom for my students during Course 5.