Van Halsema, Pamela
The article invites librarians to become part of a global network to educators who are willing to build collaborative connections between classrooms all over the world and tackle some of the universal problems we face in modern society. The author wants to use social networking sites and hashtags to bring willing partners together, and use Google Hangouts and Skype for live video chatting.
One aspect of teacher librarianship I have dreamed of developing, but have not yet gotten started is using social networking and streaming technology tools to connect students in my school with other students and various experts and leaders around the world. Its the 21st century version of global pen pals. And to make this kind of connection get started, it could help to have a leadership network for connection building. Lucky for us there are people already beginning this work.
Joyce Valenza's April 7, 2017 blog article in School Library Journal (Launching #tlmatch: for connecting with that special other librarian) I found myself truly interested in connecting with other librarians on this. It is perfect for teachers who want to enhance their approach to the curriculum as a sort of bridge building through a Skype of Google Hangout connected classroom scenario. Valenza admits to have first conceived this idea back in 2014, but never fully realized the potential, and now is taking a fresh look.
What would the purpose be for connecting with people from a different part of the globe? The reasons are multiple, they have the potential to encourage deep thinking. A teacher could use this opportunity to collaborate and problem solve the same problem as another school group in a different culture and country. The problem could be a universal issue, but because of their specific time and place, each group would bring their own understandings to bear on creating solutions. Another idea would be to build cultural and geographical competency between the participants. Simply by listening to each other, asking each other questions, and responding, these students could better understand people from other parts of the world.
To facilitate this kind of collaborative learning experience, educators need to be matched and there needs a coordinator of curriculum, resources and technology. That facilitation could be managed by the teacher librarian. Valenza hopes to build a G+ community and use Twitter and other social networks to reach out and build a librarian network for this endeavor.
Work like this has the potential to offer innovative, relevant, engaging and memorable learning experiences for students. Now that so many schools have 1:1 iPads, video capabilities and more, this is not a far fetched idea. And many have forged the way on connected learning for many years. The article provides a list of projects for consideration:
- Flat Connections Global Project
- World Read Aloud Day
- Global Read Aloud
- Mystery Skypes and Skype in the Classroom
- Flipgrid 30-Second Book Talk
- Global Flipgrid Community
- Peace Corps Speaker/Correspondence Matches
- UNICEF Kid Power
- Participate.com Chats
To make this happen, it will be essential for the teacher to work closely with the classroom teachers to plan for and facilitate the sessions. If these sessions go smoothly, then the library could potentially offer help hosting individual connection sessions for student personal learning topics too.