At the end of this webcast, which features the five teachers involved with the International Teen Life Project, Scott S. Floyd, a teacher from the White Oak ISD and the Tech Liaison for the Bluebonnet Writing Project in Texas, USA asked, "What’s one thing that teachers who want to get involved in a global project should keep in mind?" Clarence Fisher, a 7/8 teacher from Snow Lake, Manitoba, Canada began his answer with one word, "Planning… " This only made sense, because the International Teen Life Project that Clarence organized with four colleagues from around the world this last winter and spring is a model for how to go about planning a global project for middle school students. In January 2007, just as "the fun" was about to begin, Clarence wrote about this work in his blog:
In the middle of December, a small group of teachers, Kim Cofino and Jabiz Raisdana from Kuala Lumpur, Jamie Hide from Columbia, Lee Baber from Virginia, and myself began putting our heads together about more intense ways to bring students together. All being middle school teachers, we came up with the idea for a project that would focus our students around examining and reflecting on their own lives first and the lives of other people their age in their nation. From here, we want the kids to think globally and look at the lives and the concerns of people their own age in other parts of the globe…. While we are just beginning off, I am truly excited about this project.We are bringing together so many things: blogging, Skype, wikis, videoconferencing, podcasting, digital storytelling, etc in one place that is truly a new literacies sandbox!
The five teachers involved in this project designed a project that was "loose enough that everyone can relate to it in their own place," yet "tight enough that the products produced can be related to each other" (teenlife / a verion). There were three stages to the project:
Stage 1: Relating to Each Other: The kids will get to know each other in a more intense way through reading each others blogs, posting photos, possible Skype calls. This will get them familiar with each other, the issues they are discussing, and the perspectives of kids in each nation.
Stage 2: Their central questions are framed, they continue to blog, post photos, maybe several focused Skype calls around specific issues can be held, or an exchange of podcasts about specific topics.
Stage 3: Groups in each place will design and construct a final representation showcasing their understanding of these issues. ideas for final projects may be documentary movies, a series of podcasts, or photo essays. These will be posted to a central location (if possible) to allow the kids to view, listen to, and watch each other’s ideas. If possible, a final connection to sum up these findings will be arranged. If not possible, then final reflections can be posted on blogs, in video form, or recorded in audio for download by other classes.
To get a sense of both the process of beginning with questions and the multimedia collaborations of this project, take a look at these snippets from three pages from the student’s wiki, then take some time to go to the site to read and view what these middle school students produced.
Introduction This page is for your first thoughts and your first questions. As we are getting setting up for our first Skype call which will bring three of our four schools together, this is a space for you to place your thoughts, your questions, and your wonderings about the lives of teens around the globe and your questions about the lives of the students involved in this project from the other nations involved. Mr. Raisdana’s Message Hello all! This is Mr. RaisdanaI wanted to start by saying how excited I am about this project, and I also wanted to say how impressed I am by all the great questions you all have already raised. As I was looking at them all, I thought it might be a good idea to organize them into categories. That we way you can have a better idea where your interests are. Feel free to change the categories or add new ones.I also thought it would be a good idea to link your blog to each question if you are going to be discussing it in your blog. That way others will know which area you are interested in and they can contact you. Furthermore, you may want to make a link to your name when you are asking the questions too. So that people can contact you directly to answer your questions, or to let you know that they have answered them. See the example below for what I mean. For example- if you are going to discuss this question:Do you like where you go to school? (Anna/ Mr. Fisher’s class))Mr. Raisdana SusieJonnieBobEtc.You would add a link to your blog with your name under the question. That way people can contact you directly to discuss the topic further.
As we move ahead, students in each class will be planning to complete a video that will be a showcase of their lives and their concerns. In this space you can share your plans with the students in the other classes and find partners to work with from around the world. What are you planning on doing? Do you need any technical help? If you post your plans, your thoughts, your needs, the students in the other classes will be able to help you out, post their thoughts on what you are doing, and help your own plans improve.
All schools: * Research * Thesis
MKIS Members * Poetic introduction /conclusion with images * Still photography – graphic design
Cojowa Members * Scripting * Storyboard * Recording
North American Members * Background music (choice/composition) * Narration * Post-production
International Teen Life 2 This link takes you to a podcast recorded by Mrs. Baber’s class in Virginia as they talked about the ITL project.
Enjoy this podcast in which all five of the teachers who worked on this project reflect on what went well, and what they wished they had planned even better.