Over the next several months we worked on the details for how students could collaborate across several islands with different schedules, different administrations, different school boards, different curriculum, different levels of comfort with technology, etc.
In the end, we created the Outer Islands Teaching and Learning Collaboration (TLC). As the TLC, we agreed to work together to develop a common curriculum so that all of the islands involved in the project would be teaching the same things at the same time, allowing opportunities for collaboration. We agreed to go on two curriculum-related field trips together each year, in addition to our annual Inter-Island Event. We agreed to continue to support each other through our own collaborative practices. And we agreed to teach in virtual settings using technology to allow our students to learn and work together. This element of the TLC has been both the most challenging and the most rewarding aspect of our project.
The details for making virtual classrooms work are many, and it wasn't (and still isn't) easy to make it all work all the time. But today, two years into our TLC we are making it happen--almost everyday!! Here are some examples of how our students are learning and working together via technology:
|In addition to book groups, we also meet with the other four schools regularly for Social Studies and Science lessons. Today all of the students in grades K-8 from all five islands met for an introductory lesson on the layers of the Earth.|
|Here is what the video conferencing system looks like when we're all conferencing together.|
|This week, it was Cliff Island's turn to teach the intro lesson. They prepared a pretest, a presentation complete with student-made movies, teacher-made slide shows, and YouTube videos.|
Of course, not every TLC event is academic.
Students also participate in an inter-island TLC Student Council!
|Here is the student council's first every meeting. Now all of their meetings are on the video conferencing system. Each student council meeting also ends in a dance party!|
As you can see, we are very busy learning and having fun in this modern schoolhouse!