Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cool Website Spotlight -- iEARN

With the click of a mouse students can interact with a classroom on the other side of the world. With a simple Facebook friend search, anyone can connect with people from every country on the planet. We live in an era of ubiquitous opportunities to collaborate globally -- the challenge is actually doing it. Schools desire for students to learn more about the world than just a culture’s food, landmarks and holidays. Though the experience will differ greatly for each student, a typical K-12 Education may involve more orientalist viewpoints influenced by western culture. This is a by-product of community values, teacher education, time and resources, improvement can be made in all areas.
iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) is one of the largest global collaboration networks that is specifically designed for students and teachers. More than 130 countries and over 30,000 schools are connected with each other through this online platform. According to their website they estimate that 2,000,000 students each day are engaged in collaboration projects. These projects are hosted and promoted through iEARN and allows students and teachers to engage in the same work while in different parts of the world. In my opinion, the projects that are developed on iEARN are more geared toward young grade levels and the humanities. They foster classroom connections for things such as student art exchanges, poetry sharing and community gardening.  IEARN is also geared toward professionally developing teachers who wish to integrate online work in their classroom. Through online workshops teachers develop capacity to engage in global collaboration opportunities while improve their own personal global competence. 

How would I use this in my math classroom? Connecting with a math teacher around the world is a very cool idea and I'm exploring how it could be useful in a team teaching model. I believe there is also value in students seeing that similar concepts are taught all around the world. 

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