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NMSA2010 is coming in November! We are looking for your two cents’ worth regarding resources for virtual fieldtrips and example projects or digital tools used in classroom-to-classroom collaborations. Examples and resources for these topics need to support STEM concepts at the middle school level.

Please send me a message or post a comment to this blog with your suggestions, example projects, ideas or personal stories about virtual fieldtrips or classroom-to-classroom collaborations.

Thanks!



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Comment by Davilla Riddle on July 15, 2010 at 11:53pm
Thank you both for contributing to the wiki. I am putting your great ideas on paper and will get back to you soon.
Comment by Eric Biederbeck on July 13, 2010 at 3:14pm
Hi Davilla,

I'll toss some ideas out there as well.

I think you have the whole Pringle's Challenge thing that was basically run by Todd last year so I won't go into that.

I'm currently working on a project with a school in Atlanta. My students use Bamboo tablets and Google Drawing tools as well as Smartnotebook to create lessons on certain math topics (such as using prime factorization). They will do the same thing this year and share them with the students in Atlanta who will do the same thing. We will then critique one anothers' lessons. We are looking at other ways to make this more "collaborative" as well- possibly trying to figure out a way for students to create lessons together even though we are far apart! I'm very excited about that. As Karolee mentioned, Google Docs is a great resource to use to work collaboratively and I think we are going to use both Google Docs and probably Wikispaces. I'm not sure how far along we will be when NMSA rolls around but I'll keep you updated.

P.S. If any other classrooms/ teachers are interested in doing some sort of math collaboration please contact me. I'd love to connect!
Comment by Karolee Smiley on July 13, 2010 at 12:36am
OK Davilla,
Let's get some ideas out there. I need to get some new connection ideas for my students.

Connecting classrooms from different schools is wonderful. It helps students see that other kids are just like them, even if they live elsewhere. They may have different names, have different tastes, but they are still kids too.

I have used pen-pals/e-pals where I had students correspond with a different class elsewhere. We had pals in Sweden and Louisiana. Both were very enlightening and fun for the kids because they are very different cultures from our own in California.

We also have a polycom system and I have enjoyed teleconferencing with other classes. In most cases, we connected with students on the other side of the district, but some of the other classes connected to schools in other countries. When we connect, we have lessons that we shared across the polycom and we had projects that the students shared with each other. Students love to be able to interact with others this way.
To take our "connection" further, we had the students collaborate with each other to create a research presentation using GoogleDocs. GoogleDocs are great because students can access it at the same time and edit collaboratively. We then shared the presentations jointly using the polycom in real time.

There are also a variety of teleconferences available. You can find many of them through CILC (Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration). We have had museums present material that we do not have in our classroom, like connecting with COSI in Toledo, a little out of our travel range. They presented some lab activities that gave us some new ideas to try with the rest of our students. I want to try PORTS, which works with the California state parks programs. Has anyone had a virtual field trip with them? They are free!

I also want to try Skype to have guest speakers, since not everyone on the "other end" has a polycom. I am still researching the logistics with firewalls. Anyone have luck with that? I like to trouble shoot in advance as much as possible.

There are so many ways to connect students to outside the classroom these days, from "pen-pals" to web 2.0 tools to video conferencing. Technology can take us farther than any budget can afford to send a bus!
I would love to see some other strategies out there.

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