When I was invited to be part of the Google for Education Innovation Academy, this event became a turning point to be an empowered educator in 2013. As I started to participate in local and international edtech conferences, I decided to take a step forward by getting out of my comfort zone. Due to my increasing #PLN (Personal Learning Network) through Twitter, Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp, G+ and Instagram, I found out that the key ingredients to be an effective 21st century educator are passion, respect, inspiration, empathy and most importantly action.
Educators all over the world use different tools to provide English Language Learners (ELLs) with an opportunity to practice English in authentic conversations. In order to empower all students to deepen their language acquisition, they have to find real audiences in order to practice English for students who are learning English as a second language. As educators we must find several ways so that our students can have true conversations with native speakers in a meaningful and positive educational environment.
The most important thing to remember in an ELL environment is that students need to be speaking English as much as possible. The more they practice, the better they will speak. The better they speak, the more confidence they will gain. And this cycle will continue to build fluency. So in order to get students to talk they need to practice English as much as they can in a wide range of ways.
I feel lucky since I have had great opportunities to connect and collaborate with classes on a multitude of projects and global interactions, from Skype and Google Hangout exchanges, to creating websites, to presenting face-to-face or asynchronously at local, regional, national and international conferences. Therefore, I strongly recommend you attend these conferences and/or online resources to find other classes willing to connect and collaborate with your classes.
- PenPal Schools: connects students everywhere to practice skills and explore the world. This is a perfect place to connect and collaborate with in over 170 countries. You can even find projects in Spanish.
- Mystery Skype is a great first step to connect to other classes around the country or the world. Two classes meet via video chat online to guess where in the world each other is geographically. If you use Twitter, #MysterySkype is a common hashtag that educators use to find Skype partners. Tweet what you’re looking for and add that hashtag OR scan the hashtag on Twitter for other teachers’ requests.
- Every year more than 10,000 education leaders are committed to empowering connected learners in a connected world at ISTE (The International Society for Technology in Education). This is the perfect place to go and meet truly passionate educator who are willing to collaborate and connect with you and your classes.
- The Global Education Conference Network is a collaborative, inclusive, world-wide community initiative involving students, educators, and organizations at all levels. Our activities are designed to significantly increase opportunities for connecting classrooms while supporting cultural awareness and recognition of diversity and educational access for all. The event is free and takes place entirely online.
- Global educators and collaborators is a facebook group which provides a community for educators interested in connecting and collaborating globally.
- G+ Communities A quick scan of the google plus community includes posts from all over the world. It’s a great place to get connected to people and classes. It covers all ages, levels and lessons.
- Belouga is a fantastic place where teachers and students are able to create profiles to showcase their classroom and culture to the world.
Have you made any kind of global connection? What tips do you have for others getting started? Leave your comments below.
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About the Author
Pedro Aparicio is a Google Certified Innovator with twenty years teaching in Mexico City. He holds a Master's Degree in Multidisciplinary Studies with a certificate in Educational Technologies from the State University of New York. Pedro is also the co-founder of #MexEdChat & #ImpactoEDU. Follow him on twitter @Aparicio_Pedro
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