Friday, 9 July 2010

Working with partner schools overseas

When I first started working with partner schools overseas, in 1997, communicating with partners and exchanging project work involved faxes, telephones, files, CDs, video tapes, books, pieces of art and craft work.... and many expensive trips to the Post Office to post it all. It took time for it all to reach the partners, and just as long for them to send theirs to us. Everything took a long time. Over the years, however, thanks to all the new technology that is out there, this communication and sharing of work has become much easier, quicker and cheaper. There are many web tools that we can use now to collaborate with our partners.

Two of the tools that have really taken off in the MFL world are Storybird and Storyjumper. Brian Stobie, the international officer for County Durham, discovered Storybird recently and could immediately see its use for partnership work. He asked me to give a presentation about Storybird and Storyjumper at the Atlas (RNIL) conference today. I agreed to speak for 10 minutes, just to give delegates a taster and to whet their appetites to find out more. I decided to present Storybird and Storyjumper as a story. I hope you like it.

Here is a Storybird that I wrote in collaboration with Dominic McGladdery.  I wanted Fiona Joyce, queen of the MFL Storybird Wiki, to be involved as well, but at the moment you can only collaborate with one other person.
What do you like to do ? by d_mcg, CSeccombe on Storybird

Storybird and Storyjumper aren't of course the only programs that can be used in this way.  You could also try Voki, Wallwisher, Voicethread, Xtranormal and GoAnimate, to name but a few.  And you could set up a blog or wiki for the partnership so that you have some shared webspace via which to share your work.  Anything that motivates you and your students to sustain your partnership and make it meaningful can only be a good thing.

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