Date: Thu, 27 Jan 94 13:55 pst
Subject: Keys to Successful Projects
Want to conduct an exciting collaborative learning project online?
Here are some guidelines which may help you organize and advertise
your project idea.
How to Design a Successful Project
Over the years, Global SchooNet has evolved a number of guidelines and
principles which have led to many successful collaborative projects
involving hundreds of classrooms and thousands of students. Like many
aspects of successful teaching, we have found that planning is the key
The guidelines presented below have been validated in numerous highly
successful classroom based projects on the FrEdMail Network. These
guidelines, along with the template for writing you own "Call for
Collaboration" will help guide you through a successful online learning
experience with your students.
1. Design a project with specific goals, specific tasks, and
specific outcomes. The more specific, the better; the more
closely aligned with traditional instructional objectives, the
better. Avoid "sister school" and "pen pal" projects.
2. Set specific beginning and ending dates for your project, and set
precise deadlines for participant responses. Then, make a time
line and provide lots of lead time to announce your project. Post
your first call for collaboration at least six weeks before the
starting date. Repeat your call again two weeks before the starting
3. If possible try your project out with a close colleague first, on
a small scale. This can help you troubleshoot and solve both
technical problems as well as problems with the basic project design.
4. Use the template at the end of this article to design your call for
collaboration. Then post your call to CALL-IDEAS@ACME.FRED.ORG and
we'll forward it to our international mailing lists for you. If you
provide us 6-8 weeks lead time, we'll re-post it for you again two
weeks before the project begins.
In your call for collaboration, be sure and include:
- Goals and objectives of the project
- grade levels desired
- how many responses you would like
- contact person
- Time line and deadlines
- Your location and complete contact information
- what you will do with the responses (The best projects provide some
form of interaction; in any case, be sure you provide some form of
"payback" to your contributors so they will have incentive to
collaborate with you.)
Also, be sure your call includes examples of the kinds of writing
or data collection which students will submit. This is important
to the success of the project.
5. Find responsible students and train them to be part of your
project. You're probably already doing this if you are using
technology in the classroom. This will be a big time saver.
6. At the conclusion of the project, follow through on sharing the
results of the project with all participants.
- If you publish any student writing, send a hard copy to all who
- Have your students collaborate on writing up a summary of the
project, describing it, what they did, what they learned, and
what changes they would make in the project. Post that message
on the network for all to see (not just the project participants).
- Send a copy of this summary, along with project proceeds, to your
principal, PTA president, superintendent, and board of education
- Have your students send a thank-you message to all contributors.
This is a Global SchoolNet project template.
It will help you better market your project by giving your readers clear
guidelines and expectations regarding your project. Teachers should be
able to tell at a glance whether or not they wish to participate in your
Remember, this is only a template. Please feel free to change in any way
which will best suit your particular project.
After describing your project in this format, send it to:
We will post it on FrEdMail, SCHLnet, and HILITES, where it will
be distributed to networks around the world.
Please print and distribute this call for collaboration to teachers
you know who may be interested in participating.
Project: Name of your project
Date: 1 line: Give the starting and ending dates of the
complete project. Leave at least 4 weeks before the
start of the project to permit enough people to respond
to your call for collaboration.
Purpose: 2-3 sentences: give a brief summary of the purpose of
your project: What will students who participate in this
Subjects: 1-2 lines: State the curriculum areas which will be
addressed by this project. Most projects are
multidisciplinary... list as many as apply.
Grade level: 1 line: Indicate the appropriate grade levels for this
Summary: 1-2 short paragraphs: BRIEFLY describe the project. This
paragraph should catch the interest of your readers. You
will have a more detailed description later.
Number of participants: 1 line: Indicate the number of classrooms that
you wish to work with.
Give your name and email address. You may wish to
include your school mailing address and phone number.
How to register: Provide complete instructions for registering with
you to complete this project. Don't forget to include
your email address. You may want to request all or
some of the following information:
Your full name:
Your email address:
School voice phone:
Home voice phone:
Hint: When requesting registrations, require potential
participants to be as specific as possible about their
intentions to participate. Many teachers will casually
agree to "participate" and then "forget" or "change
their mind" or encounter some other problem which
prevents them from fulfilling their commitment).
In addition to the above call for collaboration, you should consider
providing some additional details. We recommend the following
Timeline: Break down your project into very specific steps with
dates, including starting and ending dates where
relevant. This should in effect summarize all of the
important steps of the project described below.
Complete project outline and procedures:
Describe your project in greater detail. Make an
effort to be specific regarding who does what: what
the other teachers and students do, what you do. This
description should give participants a clear idea of
what you will expect of them, and they of you.
This section may be one or more pages in length.
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Al Rogers Global SchoolNet Foundation
PO Box 243, Bonita, CA 91908 619-475-4852
Linking Teachers and Students Around the World
Click here to see other guidelines
for effective educational network use.