Students can interact via materials they create and in real time by chatting, commenting on work, tweeting, and video conferencing. Students today will grow up to be citizens of both physical and virtual communities, and it is our role to prepare the environment for them to learn those skills.

Interacting with other students is a vital part of the Alpaca Box Challenge. The project encourages students to:

  • Introduce themselves and exchange greetings with students at their partner school.
  • Present their brainstorming and research.
  • Exchange constructive feedback either in writing or in discussion.
  • Make a decision in a final “meeting” via document or video-conference on what will go in their box.
  • Create a multimedia artifact to share their reflection and their method after their box is complete.

But never fear, you and your students can interact with whatever technology feels the most comfortable for you.   

Here are some technology tools for communication and collaboration that many teachers and students use and some things to think about as you decide how to interact with your partner school.  

      1. Video-conferencing – The more real time interaction you can have between your classes, the more real the collaboration will feel for your students.
        1. Both Skype and Google Hangout provide free platforms for real-time conversations and collaborations.
        2. If your school or district restricts access to those platforms, you can also create a Blackboard Collaborate vRoom for this same purpose.
      2. Social Network Communities – Creating and using a private social networking community for the classes on your team can allow students to share text, video, images, polls, and links to other resources or student work.
        1. Edmodo is a free education-friendly social media platform that would allow you to create a private group for the students on your team. You can even break down that group into smaller sub-groups if you choose to. Edmodo is fairly simple to set up and very easy for students to use. Here is a link to Edmodo’s teacher guide if you’d like to check it out.
        2. Homeroom is a private social media platform for schools.
        3. Various blog platforms allow for students to post ideas and resources as well as provide comments and feedback on each other’s work. Here is a List of Student Blogging Applications by Device.
      3. Collaborative Document or Boards – Students can use collaborative technology tools to create documents, designs, media and more.
        1. Try Google Docs to share a Google document link that allows others to view, comment, or edit the document, spreadsheet, or slideshow. Great for brainstorming, editing, and providing feedback.
        2. Use Padlet to work together to create a board of text, image, link, or video posts.
        3. Voicethread allows students to create a slideshow of images or videos, then invite others to add comments to each slide.
        4. Mindmeister is a collaborative mind-mapping tool that allows students to brainstorm or organize their thoughts and resources through text, images, links, and video. The free basic account allows users to create and collaborate on 3 maps.
        5. Check out other Google app add-ons for document or media creation.
        6. Share images, videos, and other artifacts across students or classes through a shared Google Drive folder.
      4. Multimedia Creation Apps
        1. Create an podcast: List of Student Voice Recording Applications by Device
        2. Create a poster or infographic: List of Student Graphic Design Applications by Device
        3. Create a digital storybook: List of Student Digital Storytelling Applications by Device
        4. Create a video: List of Student Movie-Making Applications by Device
        5. Create a presentation: List of Student Presentation Applications by Device

Uniting Students in Peace-making