Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Guanajuato: Breaking Down Barriers


Let’s face it… Some educators—like me—strongly believe that using technology which allow students to communicate and collaborate beyond the classroom walls provides students with excellent opportunities to learn with and about others while using real world tools.

How true this theory proved to be during my recent trip to Guanajuato, Mexico! As the IT specialist in the group, I was charged with the responsibility of setting up and facilitating a long distance learning opportunity/exchange between B-A students and their counterparts in the Salvatierra prepa.

Fortunately, both schools were able to connect via Skype one afternoon and participate in an activity that resulted in a very cool exchange of information in both English and Spanish.

From a teacher’s perspective, it was incredibly rewarding to watch and listen to students from two different cultures who speak two languages communicate with one another about typical teenage topics: music, food, athletics, extra-curricular activities and of course, Facebook!

OK—so the content of the discussion wasn’t the most educational, but what these students gained from speaking with one another was much more meaningful and relevant that anything they could learn from a textbook about people from another culture.

Most importantly, the students involved in this activity had the chance to see that although the surroundings in each school were somewhat different, the people were really just the same—kids with similar interests, clothing and classrooms. What an important perspective to have in our ever-changing global society!

Due to the success of linking classrooms using a “cool tool”, we—the educators in both schools—plan to continue fostering the relationships that were established during this activity by planning future long distance learning sessions.

A shout out to Kermit, my awesome 7th grade “tech kid”, who was responsible for setting up the equipment and connections necessary for the Skype project at B-A as well as Loreley Godinez who took care of the logistics at the prepa. Last, but certainly not least, muchas gracias to Mrs. Claar and Alberto Rojas for agreeing to participate in this activity with your students!

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Hey, edu-tech gurus!

Looking for some technology integration ideas to enhance your classroom lessons? Then be sure to check out my "Tech Tips" for the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools, applications and web sites that can be incorporated into activities and/or projects. Although some posts may not be applicable to your content area or grade level, be sure to check back often as I will be varying ideas in order to provide resources across the K-12 curriculum.

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