International Student Social Networking Project
Connect * Communicate * Collaborate
Do your teenage students spend time on social networks? Would your younger students enjoy working directly with their peers abroad? Japan Society of New York, working with Tokyo City University, has established Going Global, a free, secure social networking system (like Facebook or Mixi, but safer) to help connect your students' natural excitement over using social networking with established curricular goals. The Going Global Social Networking Project consists of a series of flexible projects, connected to the teaching goals of the participating schools, designed to engage students of all abilities and interests in authentic, fun, educational international exchange. This project began in September 2011, and over 1500 students in over twenty schools in the United States, Japan and Pakistan have participated in 2013-2014 school year. All activities take place on a secure, closed network accessible only to students and teachers involved in this project. Participation is free of charge.
Sample 2014/2015 Projects Include
- Friendship: The project is for elementary school students to appreciate commonalities and differences, to understand who they are, to understand each other, and to improve communication skills.
- The Four Seasons Project: Students ask: What do the four seasons look like in your part of the world? Students from different countries share images of seasonal themes and events.
- Stereotypes – who are we?: Students examine stereotypes about themselves and their community/nation, and they also interrogate their own prejudices about “others.” A product might be a series of photos, an essay, or a short video.
- Art of Storytelling: Students share the task of telling and developing a story by taking turns to write a paragraph. The product is the collaborative story. Student also discuss the conventions of storytelling and why/how the story unfold as it did.
- Food: Students understand differences between daily food in each country through the photo exchange. Students take pictures of their breakfast, lunch, food at supermarkets, etc, and upload the pictures with descriptions and reports.
- Compare and Contrast - US, Japan, and Pakistan’s Social Issues: The project is for high school students to understand and discuss the social issues of the three countries and how their governments and media address those issues.
- Public Service Announcement: Students create a short, collaborative 30 second public service announcement on a topic they care about and agree upon.
Key Benefits for Students
- Provides practical opportunities to learn about foreign cultures first hand. (e.g., rather than just studying about life in Pakistan or Japan, discuss and share pictures, video and music about Pakistani culture with peers who live there).
- Learn how to work collaboratively with peers both at home and abroad using social media – an important skill in the 21st century workplace.
- Provides experiential learning activities across the curriculum.
- Many students already spend hours using social media every day. Going Global converts some of that “wasted” time into learning time.
- Students not ordinarily interested in international exchange or foreign languages can be motivated to learn through select projects that focus on their interests.
- Improve Japanese language skills (for Japanese language students) through use of authentic materials.
- Flexible projects that allow for participation of students with multiple skill levels and different strengths at the same time.
- Engaging, authentic activities for English Language Learners in your classrooms.
How to Participate or Get More InformationParticipation in this Network is free of charge. To participate or receive additional information, please contact the Japan Society Education Program at 212-715-1275 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education Programs are made possible by generous funding from The Freeman Foundation.
Additional support is provided by The Norinchukin Foundation, Inc., Chris A. Wachenheim, the Wendy Obernauer Foundation, Joshua N. Solomon, Jon T. Hutcheson, and Joshua S. Levine and Nozomi Terao.