Alan November lists “Global Communication – starting with Kindergarten” as one of the top three 21st Century skills. If you are looking for an easy, fun project that is adaptable for any age level – from Kindergarten to high school learners – that allows students to work together with another classroom anywhere around the world (time zones permitting!) then consider an exchange project.
There are many different types of exchange projects, but the basic premise is generally the same. Usually two classes form a collaboration team, and each class presents to their partner class about something they’re learning. This can be a Science experiment, weather exchange, explanation of Math topics, cultural sharing, descriptive writing, etc. Each class gets approximately 15 minutes to do their respective presentations, and then there is a Q&A time where each group can ask each other questions about what they’ve shared. Interaction can be increased by sharing content in the form of game show-type questions, clues for solving a mystery topic, or by creating something together.
Even the youngest students love participating in projects where they are asked to create a project based on their partner class’ descriptions. Examples of this are “Monster Match“, “Turkey Trade” or “Snowman Exchange” projects. Students in each class create a 2 or 3 dimensional monster, turkey, or snowman (depending on the time of year) using a pre-set list of materials. Each class writes a description of how to replicate their creation. This description is shared with the partner class either by email or by posting to a project wiki. Each class tries to replicate their partner class’ creation by following the directions that have been sent to them. The project culminates with a live videoconference where the classes meet, compare projects and see how well they followed directions. The results are often surprising! 🙂
Exchange projects are a great first step in trying out classroom collaboration projects via interactive videoconferencing (IVC). If you want some support planning your project or finding a partner class match, please contact me at the HGEC and I’d be happy to help!