The Internet brings easy access to information, images and data of all kinds. It also allows us to connect with people all over the world. Using the Internet for furthering communication and collaboration skills is this week’s topic. This week, we’ll show you ways to reach out beyond the walls of your classroom.
This Week's Tips
Participate In an Overseas E-Mail Exchange (Monday)
Set-up an email exchange with students in another country.
Many students across the world study English and also want to learn about America. It may be easier than you think (try this e-mail exchange web site
). This is a great chance for students to learn about life in another country from peers in the same age group. Students can be paired one-to-one or in small groups for research done via email and the Web. Both classes should be briefed on the format (question and answer) and rules before beginning.
Add a Discussion Forum to Your Class Web Page (Tuesday)
Facilitate a dialogue between students with an online forum or bulletin board.
Use one of the free shareware systems available online. Try visiting YaBB
to see how they work. You can act as the moderator, editing and approving postings, or you can shift this responsibility to a small group of students. Forums are excellent vehicles for discussion about almost any subject. Students can discuss personal responses to literature or history, compare findings in science experiments, discuss the latest current event, or pose ways to solve a challenging math task.
Look for Online Learning Tools (Wednesday)
Explore the Internet for free Web-based tools available online.
Universities and other organizations have created many opportunities for students and teachers to access advanced computing and electronics tools online for free. Web sites such as the Bugscope Project
allow K-12 students to remotely operate electron microscopes to examine insects. Another site, Earthnet Online
, provides tools for students to explore remote sensing satellite images and data. Each site demonstrates opportunities for collaboration with professionals or students using the Internet.
Set-Up an Online Project with Another Class (Thursday)
Set up a collaborative project with a class located in another state or country.
First, find a teacher located elsewhere who is teaching the same content. There are numerous sites that can help you hook up with other educators, including ABC Teach
. Work together to plan an interactive project for your students. Problem solving or global issues are particularly good topics for this open-ended type of assignment. Students are likely to encounter differing points of view that will stimulate critical analysis. Have them compare and contrast their ideas to come up with possible solutions. Students can use e-mail and the Web to discuss and post student work.
Join a Professional Online Community (Friday)
Join an online community for teachers to enable sharing with other professionals. Some of the best lessons start with an idea you picked up from another teacher. Online discussions and chats allow you to connect, at your convenience, with others who have similar issues, interests, and ideas. You can also pick up tips and current information from listservs, or e-mail newsletters, operated by professional organizations such as ASCD, NCTE, NCTM, NCSS, and NSTA.