Officially, my ISTE poster session “Curious. Creative. Connected.” was about the various collaborative projects classes at my school have participated in over the past couple of years. Ultimately, though, every single conversation wound up at one question, “How did you FIND these connections?”
There are many organizations that facilitate these connections for a fee. Now it might be my roots as a public school teacher at a Title I school, or maybe the fact that I love a bargain, or just the idea that with a little sweat equity I can do things myself — but I don’t quite see the purpose of registering with a paid program. One amazing thing about the web, is the ability to connect easily with others.
Here are my top 5 suggestions to anyone looking to connect with another school/class/teacher for a collaborative project:
#edchat and #elemchat Follow these hashtags on Twitter. There you will find educators interested in creating and sustaining discussions. Expand your PLN. Follow some of them. Include these hashtags in your tweets to reach an audience larger than just your followers. For more about edchat visit: What is #edchat? by Shelly Terrell
#comments4kids Another Twitter hashtag worth looking at. If your students blog, and would like comments from others, tweet out a link and include this hashtag. Wednesdays are typically #comments4kids days, but any day will do! Check out the list of #comments4kids blogs. Even if your students don’t blog, the teachers and classes listed here may be willing to collaborate with you on something else.
REPLY to Tweets Many of our connections came in response to a simple tweet. If you read a “Who would like to…” or a “Looking for x grade to partner with…” REPLY. Raise your hand. Volunteer. Jump in!
Skype for Educators Now out of beta, Skype for Educators provides a list of educators, their location, and their areas of “expertise.” Everyone on this list is willing to Skype into your classroom. Take a look at the list of registered educators, make a connection, add yourself!
Rock Our World This is my all time favorite way to find collaborative partners. Apply to participate in a round. (Participants range from elementary to college level.) Not only will you video chat with other classes for the purpose of the project, you will make lasting connections and create partnerships that will extend beyond the ROW project boundaries. **Word of Warning: Rock Our World can be addictive. Once you participate, you may never want to leave. You will be part of the ROW family…and all of its rockstar goodness.** Read more about our Rock Our World experiences.
These ideas, along with a longer list of resources and projects, can be found on the Curious. Creative. Connected. website. If you have a collaboration tip, I would love to add to this list.
Now go out there and collaborate!