Part 1

Chapter Contents

Part 3

[Introduction] [Projects] [Interpersonal] [Informational] [Pedagogical]
[Research] [Professional] [Navigational] [Conclusion]


KIDLINK's weekly IRC's (Interactive Relay Chat) provide an excellent on-line forum for teachers and students to 'discuss' world problems and current affairs in 'real time' with people from many different countries via the Internet. Sample topics and discussions are available by subscribing to KIDPROJECT. This project illustrates another type of interpersonal exchange which Harris calls 'global classroom'.

Patricia Weeg's Global Classroom is an excellent example of how student involvement with online friends and projects helps create a unique style of learning that emphasizes resources, relationships, and exploration (what one writer refers to as 'the five R's in 'The Internet Style of Learning') .

Students from Leo Ussak Elementary School in the Canadian Arctic and children in Hawaii were joined by two Arctic adventurers (who were crossing Northern Canada by dogsled) for an online discussion of events and conditions in their respective countries. A transcript of their IRC 'chat' is available from their school web site. Later the students were able to follow the progress of the dogsled team via e-mail updates from the Internet. (See The Hanson-Hignell Team On the Trail).

Similarly, the British Council's Internlink project is an exciting initiative which links schools in the UK and New Zealand in Internet- related projects. They have an interesting archive of their on-line projects to date.

Thomas Peters from The Netherlands European School's Project discusses his experience of Internationalisation Through E-mail as well as his own experience in a Danish/Dutch exchange Das Bild der Anderen, a project for beginning learners of German.

Numerous other examples of global classroom projects can be found on educational listserv discussion groups such as KIDLINK , Kidsphere and the European School's Project.. In addition, there are a number of exemplary history /social studies projects available from the University of Illinois Web site "Judy Harris Network-Based Educational Activity Collection" (with projects organized by content area and activity structure).

There are numerous articles describing the potential of Internet-based projects to motivate student interest and involvement--nowhere more so than with history and social studies students. (See 'Global Literacy in a Gutenberg Culture'.) A secondary school teacher from the US describes her own students' experiences of previous Internet projects.


Another kind of interpersonal project which Harris calls 'electronic mentoring' is best illustrated in her own article "The Electronic Emissary: Bringing together Students, Teachers, and Subject Matter Experts" Such electronic emissaries are an ideal Internet-based resource for students and teachers of history. ( See sample posting.) To help subject matter experts and teachers contact one other, Greg Jones and Judy Harris have created an online service Electronic Emissary Home Page.


A history teacher from Redmond Washington and his students have participated in a 'telementoring' project with graduate students from a nearby university (see Overlake-University of Washington Telementoring Project) . For an interesting and frank discussion of last year's project read "The Mentor's Mentor".

Students in Delmar School in Maryland (with the help of their teacher Patricia Weeg) are creating a distance learning course on the History of Maryland in response to a request from an online friend in Russia. (See A Maryland Project for Olya) The course includes e-mail materials on the First Marylanders, European Arrivals, Colonial Maryland as well as an IRC with their Russian student. Opportunities for such virtual classrooms with students participating as 'telementors' opens new vistas of how we can use this technology in our history classrooms.


Letters on Spanish Texas is a research project on Spanish exploration in the US, done for fourth grade students. Early on in the 1994-95 School Year, Martha Kate King, a teacher in the Beaumont School District, asked the participants in a local electronic forum for information regarding the Spanish explorers. She felt that her fourth grade students had more an interest in the period that exceeded the information provided in her textbooks. Two of the forum's participants began doing some research on their own and sent e-mail letters in response to questions posed by Martha Kate's students about the times and ways of the Spanish exploration. Here is published some of their correspondence, a worthwhile extension of a study of Texas's history.

Combining the features of a 'question and answer service' with the more fanciful characteristics of an impersonation project is the Chatback Trust's recent online initiative "Victorian Lives and Letters". Here students of history and literature from schools anywhere in the world are invited to contact their moderator--a certain C. Dickens with questions about life and literature in Victorian England. Interested parties may subscribe to the discussion group by following instructions available at the Chatback Trust's WWW pages. (Again valuable background information on the history and literary works of the period is available at Brown University's excellent site "The Victorian Web".)

Other examples of Internet-based question and answer exchanges can be found in various educational discussion groups. Using e-mail, students seeking information about a particular country, its people or customs can contact people from or living in the target culture. While browsing our e-mail archives we discovered messages from several people who were willing to share their knowledge and experiences with social studies classes on-line.

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Last Modified: Saturday, 02-August-97 13:08:12 EST

Copyright © 1997 by S. Patterson and L. Swanson

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