Over this first half term, we have had a strong focus on building a learning community. We started with our class community and gradually expanding to include KP next door. We have been engaging with parents through the class blog and a range of parent sharing sessions. We have made connections with the wider school community through upper elementary and high school buddies.
Most recently our learning community has stretched to include a Kindergarten class in Canada and a Grade 1 class in Indonesia. These global connections will help the children to discover that they can learn from other people in other places, and that other people have different points of view and different ways of doing things. By using the world wide web and cloud based communication tools, these children will see that their classroom need not be confined by physical walls.
The three classes know each other by their twitter handles; @yiskc, @KinderPals in Canada and @Grade1class in Indonesia. They communicate through twitter and class blogs. We have skyped with @Grade1class to find out what shapes people in Indonesia see on the moon. The KC children wanted to skype with KinderPals but we discovered that KinderPals are in a different time zone.
The teachers communicate using twitter, skype, emails and Google docs. We have agreed a general direction, but have decided against making firm plans in favour of following the children’s interests and initiatives. We are intrigued to see where the children lead us on this global learning journey. The children have been sharing songs with each other in response to a student initiated project that began at home. More recently the children have been engaged in an inquiry into seasons and weather in different parts of the world.
As well as sparking inquiries, these interactions with children of a similar age in different parts of the world provide an authentic purpose and audience for communication and are laying the foundations for the personal learning networks that will be a key part of this digital generation’s lives.