Through such exchanges of information, we
helped each other investigate various global issues and prepare reports
that described our findings and insights. The whole project was characterized
by a sense that we had a real purpose and a real audience for our writing
and research and communication. Each morning I posted in our classroom
the latest notes from our electronic partners, and the students were thus
reminded daily that there really were other students and classrooms out
there who were eager to hear from us and had things to say themselves.
Learning Circles represent a cooperative community effort,
a way of learning that will be characteristic of instruction in the
schools for the 21st Century. Through this telecommunication project,
we were able to explore and experience the future of education.
Teacher of English
Shorecrest High School
...Telecommunications stimulates my students' learning
and global awareness. Living in a rural area, some of my students never
get out of the Shenandoah Valley. I felt it was important for them to
know and experience a more global world. For years I tried the regular
social studies activities, but I knew I wasn't reaching them. They sat
there basically with blank faces and did the work. Some of my kids have
never seen the ocean, ridden an escalator, or traveled by train. Telecommunications
has opened up windows to their world and made that outside world tangible.
I love to invite other teachers, administrators, and parents
to my class to see and hear from my students what they are learning.
They are so proud of their work. My kids created their own newsletter
this second semester to share "their" news. Their Circle Publication
was terrific and they are so excited to share this copy with you.
John Wayland Elementary
...I have noticed that my students are not really informed
about current events and very seldom read the newspaper. Giving them
the opportunity to telecommunicate with their peers in distant locations
and work together on structured, yet flexible topics has instilled in
them a great appreciation for what goes on in their world. Comparing
schools and communities provides motivation enough for them to look
at other ideas of a curricular nature and work cooperatively toward
an end result...
Moundsville Junior High
...It's been awhile since I've had a chance to sit and
respond to the activities in this Circle. My group of kids have been
monopolizing the Apple computers that are in my lab. Every time I have
15-30 minutes to myself, it seems like all the computers are in use!!
I realize that a lot of messaging is taking place which might lead to
the disks getting full faster, particularly on the Apples. I have one
disk set aside for each two week period for incoming messages only.
Each team of 3 students has a "team" disk to use for project work and
messages. I encourage the kids to write often since this is a great
opportunity for them to develop an awareness of the world. Sounds corny,
perhaps, but most of these kids never knew where some of the states
and countries were, geographically. These are inner city kids whose
"vision" of the world consisted of Lawrence, New York and their native
country. I have seen a great change in these kids in the way that they
look at issues and events since January....
Judith A Alaimo
Their motivation to become actively involved in the learning
going on across the network was more than evident. They become active
learners, interested and motivated learners, wanting to take part in
leaning, just as I was. We became a real learning team. The environment
of the whole class changed. This success led me to push for involvement
by other teachers in our school, which in turn led to my helping them
to learning how to integrate all of this great technology into their
classrooms. Now because of telecommunication I am a different person,
and our school is a different place.
Clarenville, Newfoundland, Canada