My mother was a first-grade teacher; my sister taught both in high school and college. My father-in-law and brother-in-law were high school principals; my sister-in-law taught in elementary schools. I have a long-standing interest in building and crossing bridges that connect teachers and learners of different ages and from different cultures. I continue to discover and marvel at internet tools that facilitate “learning without borders” and “learning across one’s lifetime.” Recently I have received return on my investment in time on LinkedIn by connecting with some delightful people from Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
While I blogged for a year at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online as “Curious David” one of my most valued colleagues in learning was a middle school teacher (thank you, Pamela, for all you taught me). I find considerable value in monitoring the blogs of Richard Byrne, Alex O’Connor, Larry Ferlazzo, and of course the ubiquitous Jane Hart. Jane’s internet tool quick guides and her online courses (such as Modern Workplace Learning Daily) play a vital role in my continued post-retirement learning program.
Several years ago I began investigating the capabilities of epals and Edmodo as tools I might use to reduce barriers between learners from different cultures (including academic cultures) and between different ages. The payback was both immediate and longterm both in making new virtual friends and of being impressed at the amazing kinds of learning experiences children are introduced to by dedicated teachers across the globe.
What bridge-building tools have you discovered that can promote collaborative learning across cultures—and across ages Kindergarten through 99+?