Preparation (by the teacher)
The students should participate in the planning of their River project (see step 3 - planning). However, you as their teacher is responsible for the initial preparation (see didactical guidelines). You may find that you already come in contact with partner groups, although this may also happen in later phases of the project. Nevertheless, here are some general remarks about planning online cooperations:
- Online communication can appear to be less emotional and attractive than face-to-face-communication - especially if it is done carelessly. That is why your book of the river should be visually appealing! Illustrate your homepage, introduce yourself (teachers as well as students) and your school, and don´t forget to include a photo.
- Get active! Don´t wait for a call from another project group. Search in the books of the rivers, find project groups, and contact them.
- Make plans in advance. Online cooperation requires that the groups do their work at approximately the same time. If you want to synchronize the work of the groups from different schools, you need to prepare a couple of mounths in advance.
- Online cooperation requires time. The students will need time for getting to know one another, communicate in a foreign language, or waitig for responses from the partner group.
- If you are a registered member of "Free you River", you find the virtual workspace for online cooperation in your Book of the river (My Book > Our partnerships). There you can invite other groups to the cooperation; and you can share Forum, Chatroom, and other tools with them. If you need technical assistance, you can find it there - here we introduce to you the online cooperation from the didactical viewpoint.
- Online cooperations requires, just like learning in the classroom, a trusting and confident atmosphere. That’s why only you (your group) and your partner group have access to the common workspace. More information concerning the security of your personal related data can be found under Background Information > About the Book of the River.
- You should test some tools together with colleagues from your partner school. For example, you can collect ideas for your Online cooperation with a virtual brainstorming, or you can work them out in detail with a Fore-Chat. You can then get an impression of how it works. If you like, more teachers from your school can join the testing, since multiple logins with your account are possible.
- Ask yourself at which steps of your river project would online cooperation be useful. This allows you to identify which of the web methods will be most helpful to you.
- Last but not least: Experience the European dimension! Give your students the opportunity to intesify the contact to the other group(s). E.g. the Coemenius programme of the European Commission supports the cooperation between schools from different countries and students exchange.