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UPDATED: 10 Virtual Exchanges to Take Your Classroom Global

Posted on July 26, 2020

#CSW63 - Scenes from UNHQ
UN Headquarters during the 63rd session of Commission on the Status of Women on 18 March 2019. By UN Women/Amanda Voisard.

Are your students interested in connecting with peers in other parts of the world? Below, you'll find an updated list of several organizations and tools that can help you set up virtual exchanges.

The first section includes resources that are primarily platforms for educator-designed projects, such as global literature reading groups, and are all free. The next group includes those that allow the option of self-designed or pre-developed curricula; and the last section includes resources that offer chances to connect globally with pre-developed curricula.

Free resources to connect over self-designed projects

The Global Education Conference hosts an active online discussion forum where educators post and connect about projects. (free)

Skype in the Classroom allows students to take virtual field trips, bring experts into the classroom, and connect with travelers, educators and authors. (free)

After signing up on ePals (Global Community), teachers and students can message each other; teachers can also choose from a library of "Experiences"—cultural exchange, subject-based learning, and language practice—for their classes. (free)

Resources to connect with self-designed projects or with curriculum provided

TakingITGlobal offers a variety of ways for teachers and students to connect globally, including finding or registering your own globally-collaborative project, and finding curriculum-based resources (try searching by subject, like English/Language Arts, or topic, like Culture.

Recently, TakingITGlobal has also launched some exciting new projects in response to COVID: a virtual summit for young filmmakers, workshops for students and teachers, and resources that amplify BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) voices. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook to learn more about upcoming opportunities and events. (free)

iEARN organizes project-based collaborations for classrooms around the world using online (emails, forums, and live chats) and face-to-face (video chats) interactions. On its Project Collaboration Center page, you can browse the many different projects underway; and, after creating an account, you can explore the different platforms for exchange, including a General Discussion Space & Projects Space. (fee-based)

Resources to connect with curriculum provided

NaTakallam (“we speak” in Arabic) offers language-learning and cultural exchange programs led by refugees from around the world. Interested teachers can sign up online and request a full scholarship to connect their students (any grade level) to a displaced person for interactive virtual conversation about the refugee crisis, culture, and more. Sessions are scheduled at the teacher’s convenience and can be held as a one-off or a series of up to 10. (fee-based, full scholarships available)

IVECA (Intercultural Virtual Exchange of Classroom Activities) is associated with the UN and has K-12 classroom exchanges. (fee-based)

This week, IVECA will be hosting a series of free global virtual roundtables, bringing together experts, students, and educators to discuss world issues: sign up here.

Empatico is designed for younger children (ages 6-11), and emphasizes empathy and discovery. The organization's COVID-specific initiative, Empatico at Home, facilitates home-to-home connections. (free), an organization "empowering young adults to engage with difference constructively," works with post-secondary youth and educators to facilitate meaningful conversations about social and political issues. (fee-based, sliding scale)

The Global Nomads Group provides educators with several different options for education programs that foster dialogue and enhance understanding between students on all seven continents. (fee-based.)

To learn more about the potential of these exchanges and connect with other educators, consider taking part in the International Virtual Exchange Conference.(fee-based, scholarships)

We’d love to hear your thoughts on online collaborations, and about how any collaborative projects are going. Let us know what you are up to!