Part of your Dynamic Classroom Should Include Going Global!
Bring the world to your students, and bring your students to the world. It’s also our job, as teachers, to give students a global audience. It is so easy now to allow students to publish their work online for the world.
It’s amazing how much this will change the quality of what they publish. As soon as they get their first comment, a shift has happened.
I’m on a bit of a mission! Everywhere I go, I ask this question, “How many of you allow your students to publish for a global audience?” The result…very few hands go up if any. The reality is this is a real-world skill and can be a very important and authentic learning experience for students of all ages. What’s holding you back?
Publishing for Authentic Audiences
When I taught middle school writing, I would try to teach my kids how to write for different audiences, but they knew that I was the one that would be reading and assessing their work.
I can hear them now, “Why am I writing to an audience of NASA experts? Miss Bell, aren’t you the one reading it?” They never really took the idea of the audience seriously–that is until I gave them an authentic audience. The moment I allowed them to publish online, it gave new value to their work. Every student should be publishing their work online, not just writing–everything, and at every grade level!
Protecting Students v. Depriving Students
The opportunities for students to publish their work online are almost endless. I still can’t believe how many school districts do not allow students to share, communicate, collaborate, and share their learning online.
Not too long ago, a senior English teacher contacted me about blogging in the classroom but needed a platform recommendation that could only be accessed by students and teachers inside the district. What’s the point of that? Seriously, seniors that aren’t allowed to share beyond their school? This is ludicrous! This is depriving students of authentic learning experiences that they need in order to be a part of the twenty-first-century workforce.
Please, do not misunderstand me, I believe protecting students is of the utmost importance, but depriving students of critical learning experiences in the process should not be the cost. There are many resources that allow students to, “Go global,” without any unnecessary risks to privacy and safety. If we just keep blocking everything, our students will never gain the valuable skills they need to navigate this ever-changing world.
Publishing for Intentional Audiences–Not Just Public
Now publishing for the world can take many forms, and I think it’s important to note that we should be publishing for an intentional global audience. Yes, a Google Doc can be made public, but I think the audience piece of that is the most important. Just because it is public (or has a link) doesn’t mean that people will find it, and it definitely doesn’t guarantee that the intended audience will find it. The intended audience should not have to search to find student’s work. We need to be very intentional about where and how we publish, and to give the audience a way to comment, give feedback, or interact in some way. Depending on the type of content and intention, we need to publish with purpose. You could use a blog to allow students to publish lots of different types of content, allow for comments, and share that link with the audience.
The hashtags #comments4Kids or #kidtweet offer a great way to share with like-minded educators on Twitter who could offer feedback or share with their own students. Publishing student videos to YouTube, including a good description and tags, will help students’ work be seen and discovered by audiences. Or maybe use a blog or website creators like Blogger, WordPress, Google Sites, Weebly, or Wix to have students share their work, even create online portfolios to showcase work throughout the year.
Not sure where to find your audience? Ask your PLN on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Let’s come together to find ways to make this work!
Tools for Publishing Online:
- Websites: Google Sites, Weebly, Wix
- Social Media
- The options are limitless!
- What would you add to this list? Leave me a comment!
Bring Your Students to the World!
Every student should have the opportunity to publish for a global audience on a regular basis. Find ways to flatten the walls of your classroom and allow students to publish their work, their writing, their videos, their projects, their creations, or even a full e-portfolio online. This will change the quality of their work and help them build a positive online presence.
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