Collaboration Connectivism Course 1 Learning Landscape

It’s Already Happening – Online Collaborative Projects

When I for first time read about “online collaborative projects” this week I was reminded of a conference (European 1-1 Learning Institute) last November at the FIS (Frankfurt International School). One of the keynote speakers was Ian Jukes. He spoke of a new book and mentioned that he wrote that book with two other people who he has never met in person. The whole process took place online as a collaborative project. I was impressed and I remember thinking: Probably that is the future.

It is not the future – it’s already happening. Last week I asked around mostly non-teacher curious about whether they are working somehow collaborative online. Several examples in a business or programming environment came up and I was confirmed that it’s already happening. Additionally my mother sent me by old-fashion mail an article Die Ungeduldigen. Eine Geschichte über Neugier und Fragesteller (in English: The Impatient. A Story about curiosity and questioner). The article describes three young teenagers who are already involved in programming projects. The author also ask what impact it has for teaching (Yeah, also in Germany is a mind-shift going on!) And guess how they are working: online and collaborating through their network. It’s already happening.

Of course I was curious what is going on in education:

  • How are teachers involved in online collaborative projects?

So far I know about two groups of teachers at our school. Both collaborative projects are happening within their professional development. They are inquiring into new concepts, exchanging their findings, their opinions and conclusions, their learning as a group at school but then also and as much as important online on a specific platform. It’s already happing.

  • How can we involve students in online collaborative projects?

It’s also already happening. There seems to be endless websites already to create projects and to find projects. Teachers and classrooms from all over the world create, inquirer, find out, exchange and a lot more. Here are some websites: CIESEtheteacherscorner.netKidlink, … There are tons of projects already going on. I even don’t know whether those links are the most popular amongst all options. So please feel free to add links you explored and you want to share.

So how is technology changing the learning landscape and global education?

Using technology for online collaborative projects gives students the possibility to get meaningful and authentic learning and live experiences. It allows sharing knowledge and experiences with other students from all over the world. Automatically they are having an audience that is like-minded and driven by the same interest. Learning doesn’t happen exclusively in the classroom anymore – it’s global. And it should be global because we have to solve global issues locally. Students get the chance to be involved in something. It will be the start for being active and creative for a network, for a community or for the whole society. If students/people get to know each other, if they know from each other their way of living, the obvious and the hidden part of culture (The Cultural Iceberg), we can take responsibilty together for our world like Plant for the Planet.

I definitely see myself being involved with one of my classes in an online collaborative project. It’s just a matter of time and opportunity. I will make it happen.
Inspired by the fact that I’m working at an international school, by the video Where is home?, by the phenomena of TCK (Third Culture Kids) and a project called Where do I live? I could imagine a project called Who am I? to let the students get to know each other and themselves better, to get a deeper understanding of their family background and their own identity.

The next question came up immediately: What tools are already out there? There is a List of collaborative software, collaborative plattforms, and a List of Wiki Software … but that goes to far for me at the moment …


5 replies on “It’s Already Happening – Online Collaborative Projects”

How exciting to have an opportunity to try this! I bet there are German language classrooms around the world that would love to speak German with your students, right in the country of Germany.


I agree with Vivian-how exciting to have the opportunity to try all of this out! To know that it is “worth it”, even though there will be barriers (technological, people who tell you “it’s all too hard”, etc.). I did my first Skype connection with Lindy Buckley’s (fellow COETAILer) Grade 5 class last week. Three boys from her class read aloud to our Prep students for World Read Aloud Day. It was a simple connection, but so powerful. It made me want to do more! I put a call out on twitter (also on Skype Classroom) and we connected. Give it a go and see what you come up with. 🙂
Good luck.


I agree that all of this is very exciting, but reading this and also Vivian’s blog

I wonder very gently if, in some instances, we are not overlooking local solutions! The campus I work in has over 20 different nationalities, while the broader group of three schools within the the same city has over 50 nationalities. By communicating with children in a classroom in Thailand or Japan via skype then, am I not encouraging the loss of face-to-face social skills and under-valuing the internationalism that our school possesses!

Yes I work in an international school, but with movement of populations across the globe there must be many schools comprising a number of different languages and cultures. We have to take care not to promote disrespect on our doorstep for the excitement of digital communications. Of course at a later stage the expansion of internationalism can be made with digital contacts abroad, but I hope that we can still take advantage of what we already have.


I can imagine easily (and I often get that reaction when I speak about technology in education) that people think we ONLY want the technology and we neglect the local solutions, the face to face communication, the cultural exchange, the valuation of the cultures and languages within our communities like the classroom or the school, and so on. That is not the case, in my opinion. All this is as much as important.
Technology can push it a little bit further to get even more people involved and engaged to create something new, to take action and make the world a better place.
This noon I’m going to listen to Felix Finkbeiner (from Munich ;), who founded the “The Plant-for-the-Planet Children´s Initiative” He will do a speech and I’m convinced that without technology he wouldn’t have had the chance to achieve his goals so successfully.


Great discussion. There are so many things that “are already happening” in the real world that haven’t found their way into education…which is part of the reason education is in the place that it is in countries like the US.

It’s not about giving up the local face-to-face connection…but it is about exposing students to the idea that we can learn from anyone anywhere. An idea, and knowledge they will need after school. I would say that skill of knowing where to find and how to connect and collaborate globally is probably more important than cursive writing….yet we teach cursive and not this.


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