Collaborative Projects

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What is Collaboration? – If we look at the term collaboration means working together as a team in a specific endeavor either on a small scale or large scale. In education, Distance Learning Collaboration involves a group of students, classes, and/or schools working together who are usually not located in the same school, city, state, region, and/or country.

Think about the following questions and how they pertain to your students.

? Is this how you visualize Collaboration?
Why is Collaboration is important?

? How do you think Collaboration can help your students?
What can students learn when they are working collaboratively?

? How can you brainstorm other ways students learn from Collaboration?

Collaboration Tools

Many schools have access to Polycoms which are units that allow for video conferencing. Skype and Webinars are also great tools for classroom to collaborate.

Online Sites or Tools such as (ePals), Wikis, Blogs, Video Conferencing, Instant Messaging (Skype, AIM), Google Earth

Helpful links:

How to Collaborate

There are many different ways to collaborate with other classrooms, states, regions, and countries. Social Networking sites such as Twitter, Skype, and AIM are ways that people around the world can collaborate.

Many Schoolworld website have a blog in which educators can create a blog to direct collaboration, hold conversations, upload documents, add video and pictures. There are many free sites such as PB Wiki in which educators can create a wiki page to use within their classroom and share with other groups as well. We are going to focus on Taking It Global because there are free elements and for high school students, the social community works well to expose students to all cultures and raise students’ awareness of the world around them.

There are several types of collaboration:
Point-to-Point: video conferences that involve two classrooms connecting to each other and sharing information.
Multipoint: video conferences that require a bridge or multi-point video conference system to connect three or more classrooms to each other and sharing information.
Student Projects: project video conferences are centrally managed and coordinated. Information about how to participate is provided: dates and times are set, teacher training may or may not be required.
Collaborations: video conference collaboration (such as the Erie Cana Project) begins with a teacher's idea. The teacher with the idea should have some idea of what the partner class should do.


Why Collaborate?

Why is collaboration important? Through technology, the world is a very small place. For students it is important to learn how to use technology to reach out to others. Especially thinking of the future--college and the workplace, we are communicating with people around the world 24/7.

Think about the questions asked earlier.

Why is Collaboration is important? – We are a global community whose successes and failures hinge on each other. Economically, culturally, and educationally, we are connected. The future of our students depends on the state of the global community in regards to employment, community, and culture.

Skills students learn through collaboration (What can students learn when they are working collaboratively?):

  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Learn about cultures
  • Time management
  • Working together
  • Use web tools
  • Broaden students’ views of culture, economics, ecology, geography, literature, art, and/or social awareness
  • Solve a problem with another student who has a completely different background and experiences
  • Help students use their critical thinking skills
  • Give students a competitive edge in regards to understanding global issues
  • Become global citizens

Collaboration Projects

There are numerous ways to connect using distance learning. Video conferencing using equipment such as a Polycom unit is one method. However, there are other resources such as Skype, Mobile Devices, Bridgit (Smartboard Video Conferencing), Adobe Connect (webinar software), and other desktop video conferencing software.

Project Ideas

Any distance learning project can be used in a foreign language classroom. However, here are some specific projects for the foreign language classroom. These are ideas to use and adapt to your classroom.


There are numerous vendors that provide distance learning opportunities. Luckily, there are also sites that aggregate the vendors for easy searching.



There are educational communities that are actively looking to collaborate, connect, and share with classrooms around the world.

Cultural/Language Project
Global Ed Conference Collaboration Projects
Skype Community Projects
New York State Distance Learning Consortium (NYSDLC)


ePals is a safe, free collaborative site in which classrooms can participate in projects, email, as a classroom or collaborate with classrooms around the world.

ePals Projects are relevant topics that make it easy for teachers to create a collaborative opportunity. The topics are standards-based and of global interest. Each project is designed to be used as or customized to your classroom needs. There are also teacher created projects that are available for classroom use.


Projects Include:

  • Holidays and Festivals - Around the World
  • Digital Storytelling
  • The Way We Are
  • Global Warming
  • Habitats
  • Maps - En Español
  • Natural Disasters
  • Water
  • Weather

Learn About It is a collaborative space for classrooms to learn, discuss, and participate in hands-on information on topics such as Black History Month, Team Earth, Storytelling, and Biodiversity. Each of these exciting areas have supporting lesson plans, forums, and student artwork, poems, and/or video.

There are numerous resources for educators and students alike such as forums, lesson plans, ideas, and video.

Blogs/Wikis/Distance Learning

Blogs and Wikis are great ways to work with students to develop 21st Century Tools and develop global relationships. Important tools for the future.

Here are additional resources to create spaces in which classrooms can collaborate.

Personal tools
Technology Services
Wiki Help