Wednesday, March 18, 2015

7 Ways To Find Global Connections For Your Class

I just love the fact that the world gets so much smaller when we use technology to connect with students from other parts of the world. There are endless learning opportunities for students and teachers as well. We give students wings when we empower, engage, celebrate, and ignite their curiosity for learning about cultural diversity.

The best way to find connect with another class is take the risk and try it out. Many educators are interested in the idea of connecting their classes to other classes or individuals that could have a positive influence on their students. They just aren’t sure where to find people to connect with.

Thanks to the web and to the emerging technologies we can get connected in various ways. Here you have seven options:
The possibilities are as endless as your imagination.
1. Your social media accounts. Chances are you probably use some form of social media: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin,  Pinterest, Instagram or Google Plus. That might be enough to find someone to help connect your class. Ask your friends and followers to share it with their network, making that reach exponentially greater.
2. #MysterySkype. Mystery Skype is a great first step to connecting to other classes around the country or the world. Two classes meet via video chat online to guess where in the world each other is geographically. If you use Twitter, #MysterySkype is a common hashtag that educators use to find Skype partners. Tweet what you’re looking for and add that hashtag OR scan the hashtag on Twitter for other teachers’ requests.
3. A targeted Twitter hashtag from the Weekly Twitter Chat Times list. This Twitter chat list has hashtags for practically any content area, grade level or specialization in education. For example #mexedchat where you can easily connect with spanish and english teachers. 
4. The Skype Education website. This site acts as a bulletin board for educators who want to connect to other classes. Post a lesson you want to do and see who contacts you OR check out other teachers’ lessons to see if one fits what you want to do. 
5. Colleagues from conferences, professional organizations or previous jobs. There are always colleagues, friends from other organizations or people you met at different conferences throughout the year who are willing to go beyond borders and connect with your class. 
6. The Google Hangouts in Education community on Google Plus (+16,000 members). A quick scan of the community includes posts from all over the world. It’s a great place to get connected to people and classes. It covers all ages, levels and lessons. Another great community is Collaborating with Classes Around The world
7. The Mystery Hangout community on Google Plus . I have had great success finding classes to engage in Mystery Skype activities using this community. 

Will Piper and I have connected several times to exchange cultures facts about the USA and Mexico.  Global collaborations based on friendships has brought us to present at the Summer Spark Conference on June 15 and 16 in Milwaukee, WI. It is worth trying out this educational activities with colleagues around the world.

Have you made global connection? What tips do you have for others getting started? Leave your comments below.