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Flatclass Quad Blogging Assignment: Taxonomy of Global Connection

September 14, 2012

Taxonomy of Global Connection

This is one part of a quad blog that @tashacowdy and @jcbalen and myself put together for our FlatClass assignment. It was one of four topics:

  • Pull technologies
  • Teacherpreneurship
  • The Pathway of Learning
  • Taxonomy of Global Connection

“If global collaboration were easy, we wouldn’t have to teach it”.

  1. What is global taxonomy?

    In Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, Pg 57 Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis suggest using “A steady methodology for taking students from connecting within your classroom to connecting with the world…” .  They describe a taxonomy of five levels:

    Level 1: Intra-connection (within your own class)
    Level 2: Inter-connection (within school / district)
    Level 3: Managed global connection (class to class)
    Level 4: Student to student (with teacher management)
    Level 5 Student to student (with student management)

    The taxonomy is a progression from level to level. Strategies/tools/ products will vary depending on the context and developmental level/ experience of the students. In a school where global collaboration is school wide, younger children may end up being more experienced in global collaboration than older students in a school that does not have such a culture.

    Level 1:  Intra Connection (within class):

    Thoughts from within:

    Use of Google docs or ‘Type with me’ tool students can take notes in class. Maybe one person writes reflections, another just questions, another student finds images that express meaning of the concepts or ideas of the topic, yet another student can be an organiser of the information, or the communicator…different roles but same goal. Interactions collaborative and intimate.

    Maybe the product is a Voicethread. Students begin by working Face to Face to plan concept/theme. Next, they work individually to generate content as described above; then asynchronously complete the Voicethread. One student adds print content, another voice content, and a third visual content.

    I think the strategies/tools/ products will vary depending on the context and developmental level/ experience of the students -progression within each level. With younger children intra-connection is likely to be through discussion, establishing a class community eg What communities do you belong to? and Building a community of learners

    Thoughts from beyond:  

    “I urge students to constantly ask ‘why?’ of each other and of me.”
    “by showcasing how I connect myself, doing paper blogs, and discussion/adapting norms for how to do it. we also try to get really excited abo”
    “By consistently sharing why we are learning what we are learning with real world examples”
    “Find out prior knowledge of global projects and connections
    “I have found that one of the most important things for them to learn is how to carry on a conversation since most of the beginning work is do”
    “Large world map on wall where we start with our personal connections (home country, relatives, etc.)”
    “build class community, then look at how our community fits into larger world (other classes in school & outside of school)”

    Level 2 Inter Connection (within school):

    Thoughts from within:

    Connecting classes vertically or horizontally. If classes at the same school are working from the same central idea (in PYP- sorry ) or a similar topic between the grade levels students can share their learning experiences and inquiry tensions using a variety of online tools such as wikispaces ir Google docs, maybe even creating a Google doc or a Weebly collaborative space to come together to learn, question and reflect. This level of the taxonomy is like level one, in the ‘Inner Circle’ of collaboration incorporating home, class school and city (Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds–Connection Planning Tool p. 51).

    I think it’s important to have some kind of school-wide scope and sequence of tools and strategies so that students build on previous skills and and systematically expand their tool kit so that they are suitably equipped as they progress through the different levels of the taxonomy. If Google docs is introduced in Kindergarten and if skills and understanding are developed each year, then the by the time the children get to middle school they will have a wide range of tools and strategies that they can use effectively.

    Thoughts from beyond:

    “blogging: teach them how to use it, read and comment on each other’s blogs, then start reading/commenting on other class blogs.”

    Level 3 Managed Global Connection (class to class):

    Thoughts from within:

    Join Flatclass projects or other global projects. Teacher is content manager and the main point of connections. Voicethread might be used as a tool, using the teachers Voicethread account If its a class blog, the teacher would ensure all comments are moderated and content is approved. The class has moved out of the “Inner Circle’ in an effort to collaborate globally but personal connections  may not yet be evident.

    I like repeating tools in the different phases. The first time around can be viewed as assessment for learning and the second time more of a summative event. This is true if two projects were run in the year. So for my grade 6 teacher, if she used Voicethread for Global Read Aloud in October and then again in say, a Flatclass project, the students would be able to produce a better product the second time around.

    In our school, Voice Thread (VT) is something we wish students to use throughout whole school, so we start in Kindergarten using VT in a basic way to involve parents (level 2) and then use VT to develop class learning networks in a managed way (level 3). Students will use again and again as they move through the school, developing skills and deepening understandings of the power and limitation of tool in a managed way class to class, before managed student to student, and student unmanaged.

    I think it’s important to think carefully about which global projects to work on and how to manage them. I have moved from having more but less deep collaborations to participating in fewer but deeper projects.  As with levels 1 and 2, I think global learning is most effective when it is embedded in a school culture and is developed systematically from the beginning.  Level 3 global collaboration will look different in at different grade levels but the big ideas -for example connection, communication, citizenship, collaboration- will be present at all stages.

    Here is a link to a great post about a group of year six students about to embark on a level 3 global collaboration story: Refining Questions

    Thoughts from beyond:

    “Build class relationships first. This year we are snail mailing with a Vietnamese school to get kids curious.”

    Level 4 Student to Student (Teacher managed):

    Thoughts from within:

    True student collaboration under teacher guidance or direction. Kidblog or Edmodo might be used here as a connection and collaboration tool. The strategy here would be to promote connection on a personal level between learners. This may be encouraged in class as an assignment. Might use quadblogging with other classes around the world. Teacher are the leaders of these initiatives.

    I see that I have gaps in my own understanding and skills.  I have very little first hand experience of working at level 4/ 5 aa I work with younger students. We do lots of work at levels 1-3 but nothing beyond that due to the age of the students (5-6 year olds).  This course is helping me to experience Level 5 global collaboration, but my lack of experience at level four means there are many gaps : )

    Thoughts from beyond:

    I like this blog post on scaffolding student to student collaboration by assigning skype jobs.

    Level 5 Student to student (with student management):

    Thoughts from within:

    Students working together with one another and is learner driven. Teacher rarely intervenes and is a ‘sideline; player. Strategies to support this level of connection might include developing a of learning communities.

    I am connecting here with Alan November’s ideas around student learning and how that needs to be connected to real problems.  In the global context, students can identify a real world problem that may exist in one country, and parts of the solution may exist in other countries. The obvious examples might include health related support, but students will undoubtedly think outside that box.

  2. Twitpoll responses that draw on the various levels, but do not identify teacher or student management.

    “To be honest, I probably don’t treat the two any different. We collaborate in global situations the same way we do in “class.”
    “Provide opportunities to establish a class community & grow it global via collab. w/ others using web 2.0 tools. Name/doc. that transition.”
    “real life contexts thru Skype classroom, global projects, Edmodo with other classes, quadblogging, rich connections to life”
    “Start with building learning community within class, then parents, wider school community.Then global connections via twitter, blog etc.”
    “KG- Building a community of learners in class. Draw on others within the wider school community, finally external peers and adults.”
    “I think sharing with another class in your school 1st, then same geographic area, then global.”
    View complete Storify here.
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