Online global collaboration is a major component of being a modern global educator. Together we are stronger and this shows through global collaboration. Global collaboration allows us to teach an learn together. There are eight norms of global collaboration that each collaborator normally abides by but in this post I will only focus on the first two norms. These first two norms are arguably the most important for any global educator, they consist of being prepared and having a purpose.
Norm 1: Be Prepared
Being prepared is a good piece of advice for any scenario. Whether it is in sports, economics or education, preparation allows for two great advantages. The first advantage is that if something is to go wrong you are ready to adapt to that new obstacle. Additionally, being prepared gives the advantage of confidence. When you are prepared, you know the content of the scenario and you are able to be sure of what you are doing, saying, or presenting. This confidence limits any hesitations you might have.
In terms of global collaboration, being prepared means having a plan for connecting. You must find which platform you will use to connect with others; examples include Skype and Google hangout. Additionally, be prepared with who your partners will be in this specific collaboration or hangout session. Finding other members of your PLN who share similar interests is a good start to choosing who you will invite to this event. Another major problem could be technical difficulties. It is important to ensure that the platform you are using is compatible with where ever you will be hosting from. A potential problem could be school servers blocking specific websites. In being prepared, it is important to think of little things that might happen. The possibility of time zone differences and students not being able to access specific materials at home are examples of these potential problems. When collaborating, it is also important to set guidelines for what is expected from the other teachers and the students. How often do you expect to communicate? Weekly? Daily? Will there be synchronous meetups? Asynchronous sharing? Perhaps both! The important thing is that all students know what is expected from them. How will you and other teachers communicate before reaching out to the students? When using Skype and Google hangout, should students ask questions during the presentation? Or after? All of this should be discussed BEFORE the collaboration takes place. Once every participant agrees on these protocols, you can officially deem yourself prepared.
Norm 2: Have a Purpose
Although this may seem obvious, having a purpose is essential for successful collaboration. In fact, having a purpose is part of the planning discussed in Norm 1. What are you trying to achieve through this collaboration? Is this a short-term or long-term project? What will students be sharing with one another during this project? It is important to make the purpose clear. When knowing the purpose of collaboration, it is easier to plan ahead. You then know how much planning you have to do and whether the collaboration will be synchronous or asynchronous. With a purpose and plans, you are truly ready to begin collaboration.
As I stated above, Skype and Google hangouts are good tools for global collaboration. Additionally, blogs such as this one can be a great tool for global collaboration. Students can write their own blog posts, as well as comment on other students blogs from across the world. This is a great idea for collaboration for teachers in different areas. Students love the idea of communicating with people across the country (or even the globe) and they are able to see many new perspectives. Here is a Youtube video about students from England who collaborated with students in India through blogging. This is an essential reason for global collaboration. It is an amazing lesson to see new perspectives from different parts of the world. Also, global collaboration can include speaking with professionals over video chat which shows student that what they are learning is used in the real world. Becoming globally collaborated keeps students engaged in lessons. The list of reasons for the importance of global collaboration goes on and on!