It has been exciting to watch the evolution of WeChat as a tool for communication and community-building at BISS this year. WeChat is a social networking app used by over 650 million people in China, with 1.1 billion active accounts.
Thanks to dedicated Class Parents, who initially set up, moderated and posted content, BISS now has 7 thriving grade level communities. (And more! WeChat is also used extensively by the Athletics Department, the PTA, and many students in informal social & academic groups.)
In the Elementary School, the power of instant translation, just-in-time reminders and media sharing has strengthened our sense of belonging and connection within class communities.
Teachers have enriched the experience, by posting photos and videos throughout the day, creating a real-time window into life at BISS. The separation between home and school is ever diminishing, as parents gain insight into inquiry learning, appreciate joyous moments, see discoveries happen, and understand their child’s day-to-day experiences.
Read on to find out what happened next!
It was wonderful to welcome our former E-Learning Coordinator, Julie Lindsay, to visit BISS. She is now the author of 2 books on connected teaching, founder of Flat Connections and a university lecturer in online education. The premise of Julie’s work is that open, connected, integrated learning creates social change.
Through online projects, students around the world learn in cross-age, cross-school, cross-cultural groups. They use digital tools to research and share understandings, grappling with topics such as climate change, community structure and digital citizenship. Students create media products, incorporating the perspectives and experiences of their far-flung peers.
BISS has participated in Flat Classroom and Digi-teen projects for many years. In the future, PYP & MYP classes will continue to collaborate with Julie Lindsay, so BISS students engage in rich online learning, communicate with authentic audiences, develop international mindedness and become discerning digital citizens. Mr K. has great plans for including global feedback in the Design/Tech curriculum.
Read on to learn how Gr 3 & 4 began the conversation!
CONNECTIVITY is the new LITERACY.
In 2016, it’s not enough for our children to be able to read and write.
Effective communication is the ability to create of a powerful message AND project it to a global audience.
At BISS, we teach students to create text in many forms (written, verbal, images, films). They learn to write accurately for different purposes, using rhetorical and persuasive devices, and applying contrast, balance and multi-media techniques to enhance their message. They learn to make decisions about “temporary & private” vs. “public & permanent”, by considering the content, audience and intent of their message.
We also teach students to use networking tools such as blogs, Twitter, WeChat, Facebook, Vines, Instagram. (Or more often, the children teach us!) Actually, the tool is not important. The digital landscape is ever-changing. By next year, this list will be different. Remember MySpace?
However, by embracing social media in our classrooms, we have a very important goal. We support students to build learning networks.
Read on about the power of connectivity for 21st Century learners.