Classroom-to-Classroom Portal -  Telecollaboration Lesson Plan
The purpose of this lesson plan is to create a two-way streaming (live) audio video connection between two classrooms - one in Long Island, NY for instance and the other in Iasi Romania for instance. Further a collaborative interdependent relationship will be established between the students in the USA and the students in Romania.  These two groups of students, will collaborate on a carefully chosen, constructed international project.  The specific international project will be chosen from numerous online resources - most notably the United Nations and the GlobalSchoolBus.  Students on both sides of the portal will produce Class Blogs.  Also, each student will publish a personal blog.  Lastly, the two groups of students will collaborative produce a Newsletter (online and print) to be the public face of their collaborative international project.

 

  Lesson Topic/Title Telecollaboration between Long Island, USA and Iasi, Romania
  Learners
Age and Grade Level

The grade level for this particular lesson plan is 9 - 12 high school.  In theory any age and any grade level and any subject can be substituted easily, although it is acknowledged that by the fifth grade (US) children are more capable of expanding their focus beyond the US.

No prior technology experience is necessary to begin using the benefits of audio/video teleconferencing (two-way) 

It is likely, and accidental, that some students will know as much (more?) about the video web-cam technology than the teacher

  Expected Outcomes Academic Standard or Goal

Prejudice reduction
Exposure and discussion of stereotypes
Appreciation for others' cultures, perspectives
Cognitive knowledge of new cultures, geographies and international project
Collaboration joy (and juice)

  Technologies, Resources and Materials
Student Technologies and Resources
Technology Setup
In its very basic configuration, two computers (XP or OS/X, one on each side of the portal),  two simple webcams ($150 each), and a broadband connection to the internet is enough to establish the physical connection. 
There are many other options available that bring up other issues such as quality of audio and video, speed/delay of transmission, choppy video (fps),  full or half duplex audio, resolution of receiving video, other collaborating features like shared white board, document projector, etc.
 

Learning Environment
Lesson (Unit) Length

 

An international project such as "Pumped Up For Peace" will become a cooperative, collaborative project for this PBL experience.  The importance of the common project for these two diverse cultural groups is that the project, whatever it is, must not be perceived as "belonging" to one group more than the other. (2004, Roberts, A. in ISTE's Journal of Research on Technology in Education Vol 37, Number 1, Fall 2004)

The students will collaborate electronically during the week, and  1 or 2 hours per week, the students will meet on line for a live interactive audio video conference. These live sessions will be well planned by the two teachers on both sides of the portal.  The individual class activity during the week prior to the live interactive session will create materials and advance the cooperative project to take best advantage of the live interactive time together. 

Each student will have his/her own set of cultural mentors on the other side of the portal with whom they will become particularly friendly. That same research has shown that the creation of these "smaller" electronically-enabled relationships, i.e.  1-to-1 and few-to-few are essential to reap the benefit of multi-cultural education.

(2004, Roberts, A. in ISTE's Journal of Research on Technology in Education Vol 37, Number 1, Fall 2004).   It is not enough to simply put the two culturally dirverse groups together and expect that "they will rub off on each other."  It won't work that way. 

The two teachers on either side of the classroom-to-classroom portal have an opportunity (obligation) to create a collaborative project for the two classes that can define ANY goal they choose.  If they want the collaborative project to involve and require internet resources and research, it is easy to define such projects.

It is the creation of this Classroom-to-Classroom project based learning environment that is at the heart of this lesson plan.  How the two teachers choose to apply this technology is up to them. I've suggested international projects as one alternative.

Issues of time and language differences are addressed in details of this lesson plan in a grant request I wrote.

  Overview of Project
Provide a list of the procedures that you (and your students) will follow in this lesson. 
The students will collaborate electronically during the week (email, IM, ftp, questionairs/polls).  In addition, for 1 or 2 hours per week, the students will meet on line for a live interactive audio video conference. These live sessions will be well planned by the two teachers on both sides of the portal.  The individual class activity during the week prior to the live interactive session will create materials and advance the cooperative project to take best advantage of the live interactive time together. 
  Connection to Outcomes
Student Work Evaluations
Emails should be analyzed daily, for clues to future lessons, particularly dealing with prejudice reduction. 
Student Blogs - individually and class-community blogs, are wonderful evaluative tools.
Cognitive appreciation of each others environments - cultures can be examined and measured.
  NY State Content Standards

This lesson plan meets the following NYS Technology Standards Design, Tools, Computer

More intrinsic and less obvious, Impact,  Technology management and Systems thinking are covered in this lesson plan asNot addressed by this lesson plan except in a peripheral way is technology's history and evolution.

  ISTE Standards
Provide list of ISTE (technology) standards that you feel your use of technology addresses.

This lesson plan addresses the following ISTE technology standards: Basic operations, social/ethical issues, technology communications, technology research. Any cross-cultural curriculum addresses social, ethical and human issues in particular as well as technology communications tool s. All of these technologies are exploited well in this lesson plan.

ISTE technology standards not addressed by this lesson plan are technology productivity tools.  However if the two teachers choose a shared collaborative project that requires the internet as a tool, than this ISTE standard too will have been addressed.

 

Rationale

The communications potential of the internet is phenomenal.  It is one of the most important elements of this new technology that is surely going to change many paradigms - of education, of business, of appreciating our fellow man, et al.  Ignoring the digital divide for a moment the internet essentially has the ability to connect every human being on the planet with every other human being on the planet. This will drastically change how we live and how we view life through others' eyes and walk in others' shoes.

 

2004, 2005 Jerry Garfunkel ..... 172 Tinker Street ..... Woodstock, NY .... 12498 .... Tel/Fax +1 845 679 0121 ..... www.jeromegarfunkel.com ..... jerry@jeromegarfunkel.com