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September 16, 2012 / tasha cowdy

Communicating and collaborating globally with Kindergarten.

One of this week’s assignments for my Flat Classroom course was to use a wiki with my class to communicate and collaborate with other classes. This was challenging as my children are not yet writing conventionally and are still developing basic reading skills so a wiki is not necessarily the most suitable tool for facilitating collaboration and communication amongst five year olds.

VoiceThread works well with this age group as the children can communicate through photographs and voice comments. The drawing tool is the first step to editing -the idea that you can interact with someone else’s content. We have participated in a collaborative VoiceThread project to share and compare Kindergarten learning spaces around the world.  Each class contributed content in the form of photographs, taken by the children, of learning spaces in their school. They received, read and responded to slides contributed by other kindergarten classes and have used the drawing tool to make notes (an arrow or a circle -this is what notation looks like in Kindergarten!) on their own and other people’s content.

I set up a collaborative story telling wiki as a tool to allow the children to collaborative with their parents and each other to co-create stories. The children can edit their own and each other’s pages by adding content.  At this stage, the collaboration is limited to the children’s families and classmates. The children were very excited to be able to collaborate with their parents.

Our Kidblog allows the children to communicate further afield, but without the collaborative element. Through the Kidblog, the children can independently create content in the form of recounts or reflections and can respond to the reflections of others. The children follow the Kidblogs of other Kindergarten classes from all over the world – other Kindergarten classes in their class learning network (CLN).

In this way, these three tools, VoiceThread, Kidblog and Wikispaces can be used to introduce the children to the world of flat classrooms and provide developmentally appropriate platforms for gradually building skills which will enable the children to collaborating and communicating within a global learning network. These tools provided the children with an authentic purpose and audience for their writing which would not have otherwise have been possible with traditional in-class writing.

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4 Comments

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  1. Lisette Casey / Sep 17 2012 09:30

    Tasha,
    I’m inspired to share your work with other teachers as you are proof that the process of collaboration and collaborative writing may be accomplished despite age. Thanks for being an amazing educator who pushes boundaries and is committed to raising students in a digital world.

    • tasha cowdy / Sep 18 2012 18:02

      Thanks Lisette! I am continually amazed and inspired by the potential of the young children I work with. They are capable of such deep and complex thinking and understanding. I believe it is important never to under-estimate what young children can do.

  2. helen mcconaghy / Sep 23 2012 08:30

    Tasha,

    I am also inspired by your blog and the exciting things you are doing at any age with your students. I find a wiki is useful for audio as well as writing. Have you ever considered usiing the wiki for embedded projects,artwork, video or audio?

    • tasha cowdy / Sep 30 2012 11:05

      Hi Helen! I am pretty new to wikis. I think I am just scraping the surface! I haven’t used wikis for any of the things you suggest but would love to know more. Do you know of any examples I could look at? I’m thinking that our up-coming FCCT assignment on collaborative wiki will be a great learning opportunity for me!

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