Friday, March 10, 2017

Uncovering Ancient Egypt The 21st Century Way

It's no secret that I am a huge proponent of global collaboration. As 21st century global citizens, it's essential for our students to engage in experiences that expose them to diverse groups of people from different parts of the world. Modern technology not only allows for quick and easy communication, but it also allows for a multitude of collaboration opportunities. Partnering with seventh graders from Hillsboro Middle School in Hillsboro Township, New Jersey, students worked in small groups to create collaborate Ancient Egypt ABC books.

Prior to working together, it was important for the students to meet and learn a little bit about one another. Their initial meeting took place as a Mystery Hangout where the students attempted to guess one another's physical locations by asking questions that could only be answered with yes or no. A followup Hangout was necessary to allow the students time to ask more personal questions about their respective schools, cities, likes, and dislikes. Since these students were basically strangers to one another, it was important for them to build a bit of a personal connection prior to working together toward a common goal.

The next step in the process involved planning. Since it was not feasible for students to speak directly with one another during every step of the project, we set up a collaborative group Voicethread to allow for asynchronous communication. With Voicethread, students could quickly and easily add their own webcam, text, and audio comments and listen to comments left by other students when their schedules allowed.

Finally, it was time to create the ABC books with Google Slides. Students added relevant information to their assigned slides in order to produce one comprehensive ABC book.

This project was an engaging way for students to not only engross themselves in Ancient Egypt and with new technologies, but it also provided an opportunity for real-world virtual collaboration. This is what 21st century learning is all about!

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