Follow these easy steps to get started with your students!
Login to the iEARN Collaboration Center at http://media.iearn.org using your first name_last name and your iEARN password. On this page, click on the MANAGE ACCOUNT link in the upper right to register your students with their own User Names and Passwords. If you prefer, you can use your own email address instead of individual student addresses.
Choose a project that fits your curriculum, timeline, ages of your students, appropriate languages, etc.
Browse through the Project Description Book (www.iearn.org/projects/projectbook.html) or use the project database in the Collaboration Center (media.iearn.org/projects).
Go to the Forums section of media.iearn.org/forums and introduce yourself and your class in the Teachers Forum. This is also a great place to find project partners, so be sure to share a bit about your project interests and goals for joining iEARN. Note: The iEARN forums are password-protected, and open only to members of iEARN.
Create a list of your objectives for choosing and joining a project.
Your objectives should include a tentative time-frame and lesson progression, as well as the goals you wish to achieve. This “Action Plan” can be handy in your meetings with school administrators to share the activities related to the project, and the time spent to achieve them. For some examples of project plans developed by iEARN teachers around the world, see www.us.iearn.org/professional_development/curriculum.
Write an email to the project facilitator, introducing yourself and your students, and your objectives for joining the project. Contact information for all facilitators is listed in the iEARN Project Description Book, and in the project description found at the top of each project forum.
Talk about what iEARN is and prepare them for global online collaboration. Projects come to life through maps, clocks
displaying world time zones, and other resources that can provide students with a basic understanding of the background and culture of online peers.
Introduce your students to the forums and have them read other students’ postings to that particular project. Your students can also introduce themselves in the Youth Forum (http://foro.iearn.org/iearnforums/youth). Consider choosing a message from a student in another country, and printing it for your students to read before they go online, to introduce them to the process of the online discussions.
We recommend introducing a “Buddy Contract” to students so that each message is peer-reviewed and edited before being posted on the forums. See www.iearn.org/professional/contract.html.
Have students respond to other students’ writing in the project.
Use an agreed upon writing process. What excites and motivates students to engage in online learning and sharing is the interaction they have. All students want responses to the messages that they post on the forums, so we encourage students to post 3 responses for every new message they post.
Remind students to reference the points made in the message to which they are responding. Making connections and comparisons between their own experiences and perspectives and those of the writer can promote interesting discussions. Asking questions is another great way to further dialogue.
Remind students that English is usually the second or third language of their global peers, and encourage students to learn some words in the languages of their global peers as a way to make connections. Be careful about using slang or colloquial language on the forums. How much of what is being posted needs to be explained -- “dirty blond hair” may have a different meaning to those who don’t understand it as a hair shade. Translating student writing into a context that is most universally understandable can open interesting discussions in your classroom.
Review Internet Etiquette. See (www.us.iearn.org/professional_development/multimedia/prepare). Encourage them to contribute their own ideas and perspectives, and remind them that they are “ambassadors” of their local town and country.
Have students write and publish their work.
Most iEARN projects involve a final “product” (webpage, hard-copy publication, etc) and together students want the product to be the best possible. Encourage students to ask questions for clarity and to give constructive comments on how contributions can be strengthened. Teachers may also want to consider publishing student work locally to reflect their class’s global project participation.
Share your work locally, nationally and globally. Then, continue your participation in iEARN.
Keep the momentum going as planned with your students and the project coordinator. Be sure to communicate. Even if you can't contribute for weeks, send a note to say so. That way, your partners know that you are still interested in participating.
Consider ways to publish and present your global project work to your local school community. In addition to using your own school bulletin boards, publications, and website if you have one, iEARN-USA is also happy to include updates of your iEARN classroom work in our monthly national newsletter. To contribute photos and stories, email .
* Click HERE to download steps listed above as a pdf.