Many technology-using educators realize that technology is not something you can teach in a vacuum, but that providing students with context and real-life projects makes learning come alive. Web 2.0 tools can greatly increase student ability to collaborate in global projects or develop their own voice by participating as equals in local projects. This means students can go beyond “tech skills” to authentic learning and citizenship that lasts a lifetime.
Marrying tried-and-true resources and research with new technology means that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel for every aspect of student projects. Having a well-established project to participate in may also alleviate some of the access issues that arise when introducing new technology tools for student use. It’s harder to argue that blogs or social networks are just time wasters when they are being used to discuss cultural issues with students in Tibet, or say that student email is unnecessary when students are key members of a city-wide safe water campaign.
One of the best collections of resources for connecting to or creating projects that can change children’s lives forever is the National Service Learning Clearinghouse website.
As an example, the National Service Learning Clearinghouse has a new K-12 Service-Learning Project Planning Toolkit available for download. This free PDF contains resources, guides and worksheets to help you and your students implement a well-organized project, including:
- Choosing a meaningful problem for your service-learning project
- Linking to curriculum standards, citizenship and social-emotional goals
- Developing an assessment plan
- Implementing a high quality service-learning activity
- Designing reflection activities
- Organizing a culminating event
This website provides a wealth of resources, funding sources, and links to projects that are perfect for Web 2.0 and technology-enhanced activities.