I signed up, and waited for an optimal opportunity to engage my class in a global experience. The right opportunity didn't emerge immediately, and other projects took priority. Then last month, a teacher from Ireland contacted me through ePals. His class is about the same size as mine. His communication was concise and to the point. Also, we had an opening in our schedule for something creative, new and fun. Thus our ePal exchange began.
We recently received several email letters from Ireland. It was exciting for all to read the new names and stories, some similar to our experiences and others different. Students needed no prompting when it came to crafting replies. It was also entertaining to watch the children "Photo Booth*" themselves so they looked just right in the image they were adding to their letters. The ePal exchange has caused us to learn geography too. We've looked at the Irish map, found their home town, and discussed the location. When they have the chance, I'm sure they'll use Google Earth to discover more about the location. I also invited the Irish teacher to join our closed NING social network so he can upload pictures, videos and blogs from his class, and so he can share our videos, blogs, and images with his students.
Our global experience has begun. I'll keep you updated. Let me know about your creative, collaborative global exchanges too. There's so much out there, only a click away, to make learning authentic, interesting and engaging.
(We use Photo Booth all the time -- it's so easy for fourth graders and has many applications.)