Model and promote diversity, cultural understanding, and global awareness by using digital age communication and collaboration tools to interact locally and globally with students, peers, parents, and the larger communityISTE Coaching Standards (2014)
When I was in the classroom we tried to write “in real life” quite often. One of the projects that I had my students do is to research a career and then find someone in that profession to write to. Many of my students have been highly successful receiving responses back. Sometimes, they even get a guest speaker to come to our class and share what they do professionally with everyone. I had a student who wanted to be a Video Game Designer and he wrote to the International Game Developers Association in Seattle asking for advice. He got a letter full of information on a gaming career as well as an offer from the Director to come to our school to talk to the 6th graders about diversity in gaming. Because of his letter, students were able to learn about a topic in gaming that they might not have considered. In first grade, my kids met up on a Saturday to see a movie and we wrote the movie company. The animators were so happy to receive the student’s letters, that they wrote back and sent hand-drawn pictures dedicated to each student.
In my blog, Using EDMODO to its Fullest Potential, I have detailed how teachers can create connections through their PLN’s in order to promote Global Citizenship. Through Edmodo, (an LMS) teachers and their students can connect with each other by becoming digital pen pals. One librarian created an international book club where students in Alabama and France could connect over their love of literature.
Even though I am not in the classroom, I continue to encourage teachers to think about using Skype in the Classroom, having a guest speaker on Flipgrid, or even writing an old-fashioned letter as ways to connect with others. These are great ways to get students to interact globally with peers and the a larger community.