Organizations that facilitate international Project Based Learning
Many organizations and companies offer opportunities to educators to expand their classroom projects beyond the confines of their own classroom or even school and include collaboration with other teachers and educators around the world. This page aims to provide a preliminary list of organizations that offer you opportunities to collaborate internationally, with information about each one and what they offer1.
Colleagues are invited to add to this list and include comments based on experience.
- International Education and Resource Network (iEARN) This online network offers a wide variety of projects for every grade level and subject area. It includes teachers from all over the world, as well as projects that they are already engaging in, in which you are invited to participate. Many projects are aimed at elementary and middle school level. Unfortunately, iEARN is not free — participation is on a paid basis.
- Global Nomads A nonprofit organization that organizes interactive projects among students in various parts of the world, e.g. interactive videoconferencing, webcasting, social networking, gaming, and participatory filmmaking.
- Global SchoolNet US-based nonprofit organization that facilitates collaborative projects between American classes and their counterparts in other countries
- ePals Global Community Free service provided by an education technology company that provides “safe social learning networks” (SLN’s) to facilitate communication and collaboration for students around the world. ePals allows you to search for teachers in the ePals network around the world by grade level and subject area. Each teacher, upon joining, specifies the grade level they work in, and the types of projects you are interested in collaborating in. There is also a database of existing project opportunities for you to choose from. When you sign up, you can also choose to get up to 30 free student accounts that can be used for international collaboration.
- English Companion Ning An extensive network of English teachers who share ideas and develop collaborative projects.
- Educators for Social Responsibility see Teacher Center for lesson plans that are easy to search. Content focuses primarily on social studies topics.
- Flat Classroom® Project – “a global collaborative project that joins together middle and senior high school students… in a holistic and constructivist educational approach…”
- Primary Source (http://www.primarysource.org) – “promotes history and humanities education by connecting educators with people and cultures throughout the world.” Primary source offers online educator professional development, as well as in person seminars. Unfortunately, because they are located on the east coast, the in-person seminars are unavailable to us here on the west coast. Their database of information, lesson ideas, and other global education resources is a wonderful resource, however, and one that they encourage all educators to take advantage of.
There are also excellent professional organizations that offer support for globalizing the curriculum. Here are a few:
- Southeast Regional Middle East and Islamic Studies Seminar
- A professional society founded in 1977 for faculty from various fields whose common connection is the study or teaching of some aspect of the Middle East or Muslim World. The organization is affiliated with the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA), and it sponsors two meetings annually (fall and spring) that specifically target secondary school teachers as well as college professors.
- The Global Education Conference (http://www.globaleducationconference.com)
- A collaborative, world-wide community initiative involving students, educators, and organizations at all levels. It is designed to significantly increase opportunities for building education-related connections around the globe while supporting cultural awareness and recognition of diversity. The conference occurs online in November every year.
- The Asia Society (http://asiasociety.org/education)
- Offers comprehensive training and training and resources for globalizing education.
- Primary Source (http://www.primarysource.org) – “promotes history and humanities education by connecting educators with people and cultures throughout the world.” Teacher training, books, extensive online resources.
- Teachers for Global Classrooms (http://www.irex.org/project/teachers-global-classrooms-program-tgc)
- A rigorous, year-long professional development program including an online course, two symposia, and a 2-3 week country visit. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. This is the program that I took part in that inspired the creation of this guide. I highly recommend that teachers who are interested in developing the global competencies of their students look into participation in this program. Travel to the two symposia as well as the country visit to one of nine countries around the world is all completely paid for by the grant program, making this an opportunity that any teacher can afford to take advantage of. For more information about my own experience in the Philippines, visit my travel blog.
1 Descriptions of services with which I have no personal familiarity are taken from http://labs.da.org/wordpress/global/organizations-that-facilitate-international-project-based-learning/ by Tina Bessias. Wherever possible, annotations come from personal experience.