Share Portfolios in Groups

Essential Question
How can students collaborate with people outside the classroom in authentic situations?

Session Starter
Think back on a project you enjoyed working on as a student. Remember and reflect on why you enjoyed those memorable projects. Share your project and why it was notable. Review of the 5 E's of Constructivism.

Creating a Definition of an Online Project
Think - Pair - Share in STS/Teacher partner groups. Using the resources for "Online Projects" (found below), examine the list of Online Projects you were given. You will have time to examine the entire list of projects later in this training, so for this first activity, only browse those on your list.
  1. Spend 20 minutes looking at those on your website list strip. Partner groups will then spend 20 minutes sharing which projects they examined. What did you like? Not like? Thought was creative? etc...
  2. Partner groups will spend 10 minutes creating a definition of an online project. What characteristics and/or qualities must be present? Write your definition in word.
  3. Copy and paste your definition into the Online Projects Discussion Tab.
  4. Large Group Discussion. An Online Project is:
      1. Timely, continually updated information
      2. Rich resources for topics that learners cannot find elsewhere
      3. Connections to students, teachers, and experts all over the globe
      4. Student Motivation
      5. Education in social skills, cooperative problem solving, conflict resolution and many other concepts.
      6. Thinking - Upper levels of Bloom's Taxonomy
      7. Curricular goal or purpose
      8. In depth topic investigation, real work connections
      9. Open-ended in scope
      10. Social Context
      11. Technology use reaches top level of Grappling's Technology Use Spectrum
      12. Project-based learning that is student-centered, authentic and involves the development of a product, presentation or performance
      13. FUN!
      14. Remember, most online projects include collaboration with people from other locations and many have a real-world application. Results of the project can be disseminated to all participants so everyone (globally) can benefit from the larger experience.

Evaluating and Comparing Online Projects
Review Online Project Evaluation handout. Compare the strengths and weaknesses of the 3 projects you recieved. Are they "Great", "Not Bad", or "Could Be Better." Use this evaluation rubric when choosing a project to do with your own class!

Putting into Practice - Finding Projects to Match YOUR Curriculum
Always start with the curriculum in mind when looking for a project. No matter how interesting the project, it can be a waste of time if it does not align with a curricular goal.
  1. Spend 45 minutes looking at and finding online projects that would be fun and valuable for use in your classroom.
  2. Share your "finds" with your colleagues.
  3. Is there a project which you could collaborate with another class? Maybe even another class in this room? Make arrangements now!


Interwrite Skills
Share Portfolios in Groups

Click Here for Project Files

Three Types of Online Projects

Getting Started


Project-based Learning Characteristics
Curtis, D. (2001). Start with the Pyramid by Diane Curtis. Edutopia Online.
Digital Edge Learning Exchange. (2001). Opening Classroom Doors, Teaching Methods: Project-Based Learning . National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Apple Computer, and AT&T. (2000). Project Based Learning: What Is It? Advanced Learning Technologies in Education Consortia: University of Kansas.
Grant, M. (Winter, 2002). Getting a Grip on Project-Based Learning. Meridian : A Middle School Computer Technologies Journal. 5(1). North Carolina State University .
San Mateo County Office of Education. (1997). Why Do Project-Based Learning? The Multimedia Project: Project-Based Learning with Multimedia.
Simkins, M., Cole, K., Tavalink, F. & Means, B. (2002). Increasing Student Learning Through Multimedia Projects. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Solomon, G. (2003). Project-Based Learning: A Primer. Technology and Learning. 23(6).
Stites, R. (1998). Evaluation of Project Based Learning . SRI, International.
Answers: What does research say about outcomes from project-based learning?
Sample Online Project for Evaluation
The Places We Live

Existing Online ProjectsInterpersonal ExchangeExamples for all ages
Interpersonal Exchange
Grades: All
This page lists examples of each of Judi Harris' types of interpersonal exchange projects. Appropriate age levels are listed for each example project.
E-Pals Classroom Exchange
http://www.epals.comGrades: All
E-Pals, although a commercial site, does not contain many distracting ads. E-Pals offers teachers their own e-mail accounts and the option to set up accounts, which the teacher can monitor, for each student in a class. The teacher is notified automatically about any inappropriate language in messages sent to those accounts and has access to read and delete messages. In addition to key-pals, this site offers many ways to interact with participants from all over the world. A search for the keyword “eMINTS” on the classroom search listed 31 entries, evidence that many eMINTS teachers have tried out this site.
Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education: Ask an Expert Sites All
CIESE provides a list of websites where answers to questions posed to experts in various sciences are posted. Students can locate answers or pose new questions on many of these sites.
Pitsco's Ask an Expert
http://www.askanexpert.comGrades: All
Search this site to find experts to answer student questions. The database has experts on topics like science, animals, health, trades and more. Read the How-To-Ask section to see how the site works.
Ask Dr. Math All
Dr. Math provides a database of previously submitted questions about all areas of mathematics. If the answer sought is not available, users can submit their original question.
Online Expeditions 4 - 12
Students join expeditions to remote world locations. Adventurers post daily updates and students are allowed to give input on the team's course of action. Many expeditions feature a study question. In AfricaQuest II the team and students investigate why peoples living in Ghana experience a low life expectancy.
NASA Quest
http://quest.arc.nasa.gov (About NASA Quest)
Grades: 4 - 12
This site leads to more than experts. Check the About NASA Quest page for more information. The site includes questions posed by students and answered by astronauts, video and audio conferences in which students may participate and worthwhile projects for classes to join.
Multicultural Calendar All
An online calendar developed by children that displays “the unique ways our KIDLINK kids are celebrating their country's holidays and festivals. The entries might contain recipes for holiday foods, historical background, significance of the holidays and the special ways in which these days are observed. Our calendar entries are rich in local customs that perhaps cannot be found in books.”
Elementary Examples
Orphan Train
Using e-mail and videoconferencing, this unique project brought together a class from Missouri, a class from New York and someone who had actually been on the Orphan Train.
Secondary Examples
Student Operated Press
Grades: 7 – 12
Students submit original journalistic writings and broadcast scripts which are edited by peers and media professionals. Selected pieces are published on the website and in print magazines.
Information Collections
Examples for all ages
Information Collection and Analysis All
Examples of each of Judi Harris' types of information collection projects are found on this webpage. Appropriate age levels are listed for each example project.
Global Schoolhouse CyberFair All
n the annual CyberFair contest, students and classrooms create websites about particular parts of their communities. Enter websites into competition in eight different categories with significant prizes.
A World Community of Old Trees All
Students find the “oldest, largest, or most noteworthy” trees in their community and submit pictures, stories, and physical information about the trees to a tree gallery.
Globe All
Students perform experiments and collect data to submit online in the fields of atmosphere, hydrology, soils, and land cover/phenology. The teacher must attend a Globe Workshop in order to submit data.
CIESE Collaborative Projects All
These science-oriented projects center around the use of real-time data and global telecollaborative projects. The organization has nearly two decades of experience working with technology to enhance science and mathematics instruction in K-12 education. CIESE, the Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education, runs the site from the Steven's Institute in New Jersey.
The JASON Project 4 - 12
The JASON Project began as the dream of Dr. Robert Ballard, the scientist and oceanographer who discovered the wreck of the RMS Titanic in 1986. Dr. Ballard believed that enabling students and their teachers to do fieldwork from the classroom was a powerful concept. Born from this powerful idea, the JASON Project has since grown into the world's premier real-time science teaching and learning program. "By taking advantage of cutting edge communications technology and bringing science to life, the JASON Project is helping to revolutionize the way science is taught. That is good news not only for our students, but for our country,” says Ballard.
Woodland Network
Grades: 3 – 12
Students collect and submit data concerning woodlands research.
Friends and Flags All
“Friends and Flags is headquartered in Israel and promotes multicultural awareness by connecting classrooms around the world in international learning teams. Hundreds of classrooms participate in this technology-enhanced exchange which includes the creation of tangible and authentic cultural packages exchanged with team mates.”
The Degree Confluence Project All
“The goal of the project is to visit each of the latitude and longitude integer degree intersections in the world, and to take pictures at each location. The pictures, and stories about the visits, will then be posted here.”
My Hero
Grades: All
MY HERO invites your family, school, or organization to take part in this not-for profit educational project. Add your vision by sharing your words, images and short films celebrating heroes from around the world on this ever-growing internet archive.”
Grandmother and Me
Grades: All
Students of all ages and countries submit stories about their grandmothers.
Favorite Poems Project
Grades: All
The Favorite Poems Project was started by Robert Pinsky, the 39 th Poet Laureate of the United States. The project includes a database where participants submit the titles of their favorite poems. Visitors can view videos of Americans speaking about poems they love and read the anthology of poetry that has been submitted as America 's favorite poetry.
International Children's Art Exhibit exhibit is a collection of children's art from all over the world. The pieces revolve around “culturally revealing events” and each year must support a theme. In 2006 the artists were to include an indication of the time of day in their work.
Cyberkids All
Cyberkids posts student work from the e-mail submissions it receives. This site is managed by a company working to post children's work on the Web and create content for children. Students must register (free) to participate. The site has a clearly posted privacy policy.
ThinkQuest Jr. All
Students who enter this contest work with a team to create a website that teaches other students by using the best interactive qualities of the Web. The site encourages teams of students from different locations to submit entries. Each team has a teacher who guides the group, but students do the design and learning. Go to the website to view past projects; choose Information to find out about this year's contest.
Elementary Examples
Online Science-a-thon K-3
Students participate in experiments and submit data to an online data base. The K-3 experiment, How Tall Am I involves students designing a method to measure height.
The Day I was Born Elementary
This project guides students in searching the Web for information about topics that interest them. Though not a true collaborative project, users can post any information found to the site.
Oreo Cookie Project
Grade: Elementary project has taken a different direction each year but has always involved data collection and interpretation. The site is a fun one with an engaging topic.
Spaghetti Book Club 2 – 6
This site is an online book club. Students submit original book reviews for publication and join online book discussions.
Upper Elementary/Middle School
Online Science-a-thon 4 – 8
Students participate in experiments and submit data to an online data base. Experiments include constructing ramps to roll marbles, designing solar collectors and a solar cooker to melt a chocolate chip.
Journey North 3 - 9
This project has archives of information dating back to 1995. It motivates students to observe nature in their own areas and compare their observations with what happens in other parts of the world. From the information sent by students, charts and maps are made that show the paths animals take or when plants bloom. Older students can manipulate data and exchange information in more sophisticated ways. The information has value for students and for scientists who study these topics and observe trends.
Global Sun Project 4 – 9
The Global Sun Temperature Project has four core activities that teach students how to apply the knowledge and thinking skills of mathematics, science and technology to explain real-world phenomena. Students determine their latitude and longitude coordinates, measure and record temperature and minutes of daylight, calculate averages, plot and analyze data, draw conclusions based on raw data from the Internet and communicate their results. Students have the opportunity to interact with other students from around the world and study their geographic locations, environments and cultures.
Global Grocery List 3 - 12
Students from all over the world send in prices for common grocery items. Data from the past 14 years is still available, so in addition to comparing prices among countries, students can look at how prices have changed over time. Access the data in table form for easy reading or in tab-delimited form for copying and pasting into a spreadsheet for manipulation.
Virtual Museum of Musical Instruments
Ages 9 – 13
Students develop original musical instruments and submit photographs to a virtual museum. The project supports the study of sound, wavelengths, and pitch.
MidLink Magazine 6 - 8
MidLink Magazine, a collection student publications, highlights work by middle school and older students. Some submissions come from elementary classes.

Secondary Examples

PathFinder Science 7 -12
Pathfinder Science contains a series of inquiry-based research experiments in environmental and physical science. Students submit collected data to an online database.
Boil, Boil, Toil, and Trouble 7 - 12
The International boiling point project students investigate aspects of boiling point. “ The purpose of this project is to discover which factor in the experiment (room temperature, elevation, volume of water, or heating device) has the greatest influence on boiling point. Students submit data and have a pool of data to analyze in order to determine results. Registration for the project is in the fall.
Quality of Life Project
Grades: 10 – 12
Students determine their definitions of the quality of life. Student or class responses are posted on the web. This project is no longer active, but one that could be emulated.
Art and Architecture Project 7 - 12
Students research the history of architecture, study the architectural history of their community and create a virtual tour to share what they have discovered.
Problem Solving Examples for all ages
Problem Solving All
This page lists examples of each of Judi Harris' types of problem solving projects. Appropriate age levels are listed for each example project.
Ask Thomas Jefferson All
In this simulation students submit a letter to Thomas Jefferson asking him questions of their choice. “ Jefferson ” responds to the letters.
Grades: 4 – 12
Students develop a collaborative newspaper with project participants.
Math Forum—Problem of the Week Math Forum calls itself “An Online Math Community Center.” This site promotes the NCTM Math Standards. An NSF grant started the site, but Drexel University now maintains it. The Problem of the Week activity demonstrates the importance for students to excel in showing how they solved a problem, not just in getting the right answer. An individual from the Math Forum responds to each submission, so students get feedback on their thinking about math. Problem of the Week now charges a fee for participation.
The National Math Trail All
Students create community-based math problems which are posted by location on the Math Trails website. Problems can be searched by location or Math Standards they address.
Build a Better Mouse Trap
Grades: All
Students develop criteria for analyzing inventions and submit original inventions to be critiqued and published on the website.
Elementary Examples
Dare to Fly in Class 3 – 5
Students are invited to build paper airplanes and document their flight time in order to determine which factors affect the loft and distance of a paper airplane. The greatest loft time thus far: 27.6 seconds
Travel Buddies Elementary
Students can send a stuffed animal or school mascot on an adventure. In Travel Buddy projects, a class sends such a representative on a trip around the world. The sending class is in e-mail contact with each of the schools the buddy visits along the way. The buddy, aided by human travelers, sends back e-mail reports and, if possible, digital pictures about the trip and collects postcards or other tokens from each location. Eventually the buddy returns to the classroom, richer for the experience.
Flat Stanley
http://flatstanley.enoreo.on.caGrade: Elementary
Take some time to read the stories on this site. This project has been going for many years. Flat Stanley , a variation on the Travel Buddy project, is based on a book about a character named Stanley who gets flattened and then travels the world in an envelope.
Auntie Math site presents a weekly challenge and students can send in their answers. They receive responses from Auntie Math and get their answers posted on the Web at this Dupage Children's Museum site.
Monster Exchange Project familiar activity has been adapted for use with technology. One student writes a description of something and another student tries to draw it based on the writing. Students learn about descriptive language, careful reading and visualizing what they are reading. The Monster Project connects students to distant locations to complete this activity. This project, active since 1995, maintains galleries of past drawings and descriptions.
Westward Ho! year, many fourth-grade eMINTS teachers used this simulation of the trip that pioneers took west. It allowed connections with classes from all over the U.S.
Iditarod Iditarod projects exist online. This project gives students the chance to participate in real-world challenges just as the mushers and dogs do in the race.
Upper Elementary/Middle School Examples
Space Day Design Challenges
Grades: 4-8
Students are challenged to design objects that aid in space exploration
Geo Game 4 - 8
Classes can choose to submit geography clues about their location for the formation of a GeoGame or play an already formed game. Participating classes must match geography clues with the correct locations.
Secondary Examples
Human Genetics: Is the dominant trait most prevalent? 9 - 12
Students collect and submit data on the prevalence of dominant traits in order to research the question: Does the dominant allele for a given trait show up as the prevalent phenotype in the population at large?
Frog Watch U.S.A.
Grades: 7 - 12
Frogwatch USA relies on volunteers to collect information about frog and toad populations in neighborhoods across the nation. The National Wildlife Federation, in partnership with the US Geological Survey, uses the data students send in to monitor the health of frogs all over the United States. Involvement in this project can have real impact on an actual ecological situation.
FrogWeb 7 - 12
Like Frogwatch but expands the study to other amphibians as well. Volunteers submit data to assist scientists in monitoring amphibian populations
Doors to Diplomacy 7 - 12
“The U. S. Department of State sponsors the "Doors to Diplomacy" educational challenge - to encourage middle school and high school students around the world to produce web projects that teach others about the importance of international affairs and diplomacy. Each student team member of the winning “Doors to Diplomacy” Award team receives a $2,000 scholarship, and the winning coaches' schools each receive a $500 cash award.”
Mondialogo School Contest 9 - 12
For the contest each school will form a partnership with a paired school from another country or from another continent. Together, the students of both schools will specify a project topic that both schools will work on in parallel. This problem should involve an in-depth dialogue about the cultures of each classroom. Current contest is in progress until November 2006 – unsure of future projects.

Project Database

Global School House the link to Collaborative Projects to find the searchable Project Registry. Add a project to the list and join the Hilites mailing list, which automatically sends information about newly registered projects. Global Schoolhouse, a nonprofit organization, has supported Internet use in education for a long time.
Oz Projects is a registry of projects that originate in Australia. Several are designed for global participation. There are projects available for all grade levels and a variety of curriculum topics.
ePals Collaborative Project List database of projects involving email using the ePals program
iEarn Online Projects developed by students and teachers. Participants can sign up for a project or develop one of their own.

General Resources

Online Project Advice
Lamb, A. (2000). Online Collaborative Projects: Selecting Projects. Eduscapes. Last updated January, 2004.
Project Listings
ePals, Inc. ePals Global Community
Flat Stanley
GigglePotz Online Projects
Global Schoolhouse Network
Journey North
Loogootee Elementary West