Saturday, November 12, 2016

Connecting Cultures

This weeks blog post is a reflection of a fantastic post I read from Edutopia called Pen Pals 2.0: Can Technology Foster Global Tolerance? by Holly Korbey.  The article reflects on using web 2.0 tools to connect a third grade classroom in Georgia, Vermont, with another class of third graders 6,000 miles away in Sejong City, South Korea.  As expected, students had a life changing experience.  It was more than merely a webcast, but a project that used the collaboration for a month-long event, where students used Google Docs to create a project about alternative energy.  Students were able to see (through this project) that people from across the world live lives similar to their own.  Students discovered people dealing with similar issues, not only in the realm of climate change, but also within their own cultures.

By having students work in these collaborative groups, they are forced to use their communicative skills to effectively engage with students from other countries.  Not only must they be effective communicators, but they are able to also share their own cultural experiences, and engage in experiences of the collaborating students’ cultures. These projects break down cultural barriers and make the world a much smaller place.

Organizations The Intercultural Virtual Exchange of Classroom Activities, Digital Promise, The International Education and Resource Network, and The Global Nomads Group offer opportunities for educators to connect with other educators around the global.  This is a profound method for thousands of teachers to connect their classrooms without having to spend eons of time trying to locate other collaborative educators.  Not only do they connect other educators, but they cultivate communities that collaborate to design strategies to utilize this partnership.

Utilizing web 2.0 tools, like Skype and Google Hangouts, teachers have the ability to collaborate through video conferencing, giving the students an opportunity to meet other students worlds away in the comfort of their own classrooms.  Students can expand their collaborative efforts further by using tools like Google Apps for Education, Wikispaces and other tools to create spaces where they conceivably work together to create multicultural collaborative projects.

Korbey, H. (2016). Pen Pals 2.0: Can Technology Foster Global Tolerance?. Retrieved from


  1. Wow! This article is awesome! What a great way for students to learn about communicating and collaborating all while using technology. This sounds like a wonderful experience that I am sure they will learn so much from and remember forever. Also, I was surprised to read they were only third grade students. I would love to look into something like this to do with my second grade students!

  2. This would be an amazing and eye opening project to do with students! I would love to do something like this. I think students would also love this and be something they would never forget. Anything that can get them thinking outside of the bubble they live in is a good thing in my opinion. The world is so much bigger then they realize, and technology helps them see this.