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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Students as Teachers Global Connection Project

I like big ideas. They excite me. In planning for next year I started thinking about the possibilities and opportunities that are available now. Being a geography teacher I can't help but think about the possibilities global connections. I have done some of this the past few years with varying levels of success. In all cases I know that the students like the idea of working with students from around the world, but it is tough with time zones, scheduling, technology, and just having the right activity, among a myriad of other issues that can make it challenging. Through it all I do believe that the overall experience is valuable it's just finding the most effective way of doing it. In other words there has to be something more than just talking with students from around the world. That is fun, but loses its novelty quickly. There has to be some inherent academic purpose in connecting. I have been pondering just what that is for the past few years. Then I came upon this quote:

“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.” Albert Einstein

The wheels in my head started spinning and I got excited. Keeping in mind the following graphic I couldn't help but think that the academic purpose should be to have the students teach each other.

But here is the kicker: Why not connect with six/seven year olds and have my students teach them the concepts we are learning. So here is my idea, my class of 14-15 yr olds connects with a class from another state, or even country of younger students. It could be done as a mystery skype in order to introduce the different classes and then my students would have to teach some of the concepts that they are learning to the younger class. They would become guest speakers/experts for the younger class. My students would have to really know their stuff in order to teach it to the younger class. I can conceive of writing children's books or creating videos on different topics and then having them read the book/watch the videos and come up with any questions as they go along. There would be storyboarding and editing involved, class and peer reviews before attempting to teach the younger students. There are so many things you could do with this! Really the possibilities are as unlimited as your own thinking.

Instead of taking another quiz or test you would have to teach a younger class. How bout that for authentic assessment?!

Next school year will come much sooner than you know. I want to start planning for this right now. If you are interested in participating please let me know. You can leave a comment, send me an email, or reach me on Twitter @mrjfawson

I get that each school or class will be unique and come with its own set of procedures but I believe that we can make this work and not only connect, but have an extremely valuable academic experience for all involved. There is a lot more to work out, but I figured I needed to get my thoughts down as soon as I could.


  1. Hi!
    I LOVE this idea. What a great learning opportunity for all students. Students teaching others is meaningful, purposeful and authentic. The younger students would enjoy doing a mystery Skype, watching videos, reading ebooks and they could give feedback to your students via Twitter, Blog or using different kinds of apps. I wish I could get my class participating with yours in this fabulous global project but I will be off on maternity leave next year. I am expecting a little on in 11 days! Keep me posting on your project, I will follow along via twitter and your blog. Hope we can connect our classes in September 2015!

  2. Jared, this is a win - win for everyone. I did this and the students loved it. Please let me know what subjects the students are planning on teaching.