Collaboration Projects – Doomed to Fail?


I am so excited about the possibilities of global collaboration projects. Teachers, like Kim Cofino and Chris Craft (and many others), have started great successful international collaboration projects. These projects were/are well thought out, facilitated and organized. I have tried to start and participate in several projects as well, but have run into several stumbling blocks that are frustrating. Maybe others can sympathize with the following scenarios.

  • Scenario I
    You have found a great project looking for partner schools. You see your students as a great match. The project is everything you are trying to teach your students. The ingredients for global awareness, collaboration and technology literacy are all there. It would simply be amazing to be part of it… As the Technology Integrationist (without a class full of students of your own) you propose the project to several teachers, give them an overview, handouts, rubrics, lesson plans, time lines, etc. Some teachers seem excited, some rather quiet, some commit (verbally) to participating. All promise to look more into the project by going online and over the handouts I had given them.
    Days go by… weeks go by… with gentle reminders from my part if they have further thought about participating and or have gotten started. Too much other work…grades due… illness… conferences at school….etc. Bottomline….So far most of the projects have fizzled out from lack of enthusiasm, self-initiative, procrastination… and so on.
  • Scenario II
    You have had an idea for an collaboration project. You created a frame work around the idea, set up a blog or wiki. You started announcing the idea via your Social Network (Twitter, Blog, Ning). You received several enthusiastic responses from teachers who would love to participate…. then things fizzle out and time goes by without participation from others and the “collaboration” part of “Collaboration Projects”.

How much can you spoon feed other teachers? Do you write their lesson plans for them? Do you keep nagging and begging for participation? How do you find collaboration partners who are equally invested in a project? How do you motivate your teachers at your school to be those invested collaboration partners for others?

My motivation and initiative is there, but my hands are tied if the teachers at my school are not willing to ventured out into the global collaborative world with me.

Kim Cofino has some great advice in her Step by Step Guide to Global Collaboration post. I just don’t feel that I am there yet, since I am missing some of the main ingredients: The teachers! The students are there and ready for this type of work.

The Technology Integration Facilitator or Coach (or whatever your position is called in your school) is interested and willing to put effort, time and enthusiasm into a global collaborative project, but the teachers who are the ones with the actual student bodies who would be participating by reading, writing, comparing, creating, evaluating, and learning are not on board. Do we, as the integrationists, need to promote, encourage, and follow up more with our teacher colleagues. Do we need to get up on our soapbox (even more!!!) and stir up, advertise with our non blog-writing nor blog reading teachers all these great projects?

I need help with ideas and thoughts on what to do next. In summary, I am confronted with two issues:

  1. Lack of interest and participation efforts from my school’s teachers in order to participate in existing global collaboration projects.
  2. Not being able to find willing and committed classroom teachers from other schools to work collaboratively on an idea or project envisioned by our school.

So, now that I have been sobbing about my frustration and gotten you (maybe) to feel sorry for me, I will put a shameless plug in for another call (scream this time) for collaboration on the Teddy Bears Around the World Project.

PLEASE pass the opportunity along to any/all elementary school teachers friends who might not be reading blogs and are not part of any other social network. Maybe it is not enough to advertise through our digital venues. We might not be reaching the actual teacher in the classroom. I will spend some time today to design Here is a printable Teddy Bear Flyer for you to download. You might be able to hang it up in your teachers’ lounge. Any help in spreading the word is appreciated.