Monday, February 25, 2008

This Is 21st Century Learning

At my school, we're most interested in the question:
How does technology transform instruction?
Well, here's how:
Lindsea started blogging last year in my sophomore English class. Unfortunately, a lot of what she had to blog was my assignments. But the class also had opportunities to start their own conversations on their blogs, and we were lucky enough to blog with Clay Burell's class in South Korea. We were all trying to figure it out.
Fast forward to the beginning of this school year, I noticed that there are new items in my "students" Reader folder. A few students are writing on their own. A few more are using their blogs for other classes.
Lindsea becomes a sophisticated web2.0 regular. She write for Students 2.0 and organizes grassroots fundraisers using her networks.
Then she writes this post in which she describes Project Global Cooling, student-owned collaborative web space, and sustainability at our school. Within the conversation about her post, she connects with a middle school teacher in Qatar. They decide to collaborate. She Skypes with his class at 2:30 in the morning, teaching them about environmental issues in Hawaii, and what we're trying to do about them.
Now, she's planning her senior independent project for next year. Not only is the project going to be for her, but she's designing a project that will lay the foundation for other students here to find their own Personal Learning Networks.

Flickr photo credit: iurikothe
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1 comment:

msheverett said...

Dear Chris,

We write to you because of your experience with projects involving online collaboration with classrooms located in different countries. We have heard about your work with online collaboration. We believe you have experiences and insights that can help other teachers and we would very much like to interview you about these experiences.
My name is Don Leu ( I am a professor of education and Director of the New Literacies Research Lab at the University of Connecticut ( Along with my colleague, Heidi Everett-Cacopardo, we are studying exceptional teachers, such as yourself. We hope you might participate in a short study of teachers who have successfully used collaborative projects in their classroom. We seek to determine best practice instruction with this approach by surveying and interviewing teachers to hear from them about what works and what does not. Your story is an important one that can inform other teachers about Internet integration in the classroom, improving opportunities for both children and teachers alike. This study will be conducted in English and translations will not be provided.

We know your time is important. Would you have a few minutes to complete a short online survey and to participate in an even shorter follow up interview? We think it could make an important difference to other teachers and students around the world. Can you let us know? We will share our results with you, when they are completed.

If you know of any other teachers who work with online collaborative projects with classrooms in different nations would you forward this email to them or provide us with their name and email address? We would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

This research study was approved by the UConn IRB, Protocol #H10-017.

Our very best,

Don & Heidi

Donald J. Leu, Ph.D.
Neag Endowed Chair in Literacy and Technology
Board of Directors, International Reading Association
University of Connecticut
The New Literacies Research Lab:
Office: 860.486.0202
Cell: 860.680.3752

Heidi Everett-Cacopardo
Graduate Student Researcher
New Literacies Research Lab:
Neag School of Education
University of Connecticut
Office: 860.486.0202