Posted on January 13, 2016
Reading literature from other countries brings us closer to the people who live there, and can stimulate students’ desire to connect with peers around the world. Virtual exchanges use technology to facilitate live, international interactions right in the classroom. In a virtual exchange, classrooms use technology to connect with other classrooms or individuals outside of their local community, either once or over a longer period of time. Often, virtual exchanges come with curricula for enhancing knowledge before, during, and after the interactions.
Below we’ve put together a list of several organizations and tools that can help you set up virtual exchanges in your classroom.
- Global Nomads provides educators with several different options for education programs that foster dialogue and enhance understanding between students on all seven continents.
- The Youth Voices program provides curricula and platforms for connection, including interactive videoconferences focused around several questions related to global citizenship. The Global Citizens in Action project is coming soon, and has a specific cross-cultural focus: classrooms in United States and Saudi Arabia will connect to explore answers to the question, “How do we, as youth, promote dialogue between our countries and cultures?”
- The Pulse programs are virtual town hall meetings: classrooms across the globe use live chat to discuss current questions and issues.
- iEARN organizes project-based collaborations for classrooms around the world using online (emails, forums, and live chats) and face-to-face (video chats) interactions. On their Project Collaboration Center page, you can browse the many different projects underway; and, after creating an account, you can explore the different platforms for exchange, including a General Discussion Space, Projects Space, and Learning Circle Space.
- Skype in the Classroom allows students to take virtual field trips, bring experts into the classroom, and connect with travelers, educators and authors. The Around the World with 80 Schools and Learn NC blogs give examples of projects that are possible using Skype in the Classroom for virtual global learning.
- TakingITGlobal offers Digital Youth Engagement programs like Culture Connect, which features four-week long digital exchanges organized around topics like “Daily Life,” “My Roots,” and “Our Quest.”
- The Global Education Conference hosts a virtual conference for global-minded educators, as well as an active online discussion forum where educators post and connect about projects.
- After signing up on ePals (Global Community), both teachers and students can message each other; teachers can also choose from a library of "Experiences" – cultural exchange, subject-based learning, and language practice – for their classes.