I have been thinking about Global Collaborative Projects (GCPs) a lot lately. This is partially because my students are involved in the Digiteen Project for the 4th year in a row. It is also because I have signed up to help organise a Moodle Course in early January called Authentic Global Collaboration. I volunteered in part because Global Collaboration has become a bit of a buzz word these days and I wanted to take the time to try and unpack what GCPs are really all about and explore the different ways they can complement a classroom experience. It seems to me that although we have the technology to make GCPs possible, and it is pretty clear that being able to collaborate globally is a skill that we should be teaching our students, it is not clear (at least to me) how a teacher is supposed to get started integrating GCPs into their curriculum in a meaningful way.
It occurred to me that I could start by trying to define what a Global Collaborative Project really is. Certainly to be Global it needs to involve at least one other class that is at least a little distance away geographically. To be Collaborative there must be some sort of information sharing. And to be a Project is must adhere to some sort of inquiry framework and result in some sort of final product or products. From there I started thinking about the wide range of projects that fall under the umbrella description of Global Collaborative Project, and realised pretty quickly that while they all fit the criteria for a GCP they were vastly different in Scope and Scale (these two particular elements were suggested by @braddo during a recent very productive Hangout). Being a Math teacher I decided to plot some of the projects I was aware of using Scope and Scale as my two axis:
I find this graphic gives me some clarity. I also see it as a useful launching off point for further discussions about what skills, technology, attitudes and aptitudes are necessary for GCPs to be successful. I’m curious whether anyone else find this useful? Does it help to think about GCPs using these 4 quadrants to differentiate between them somewhat? And what are the different requirements of projects in each quadrant?
Here are links and/or descriptions for the projects I mention:
Life ‘Round Here (This project is over, but I always thought it was a great one. Kim Cofino has a great description on her blog of how she helped two Grade 5 classes successfully participate in this project using the MYP Design Cycle).
Outside My Window (This is a ThinkQuest project only visible to schools that are members of the ThinkQuest Global Community. The basic premise of the project is for schools to take pictures outside their windows at different times of the year and share them online) A quick google search also found this interesting looking project.
Thin Walls Project (This is less of a project and more of an ongoing collaboration between two classrooms. Thinking about this particular example makes me realise that Duration might also be an important element to consider. The beauty of this kind of deep collaboration is that it can end up with students producing amazing products like The Field Guide to Molching)
Flat Classroom Projects (These are an amazing collection of ambitious projects that aim to involve many schools, in many countries and have a strong focus on teaching Digital Citizenship skills.)