What do cultural boxes have to do with online collaboration? EVERYTHING!
Once students have something tangible in their hands from somewhere they may not have known existed before they started a collaboration, the relationship with their partners becomes very real and they feel very connected.
Their experience of putting together a box or package of things that represent themselves, their schools and their communities can be a good exercise in problem solving. Who are we? How do we represent that? What do we want our friends to know about us? For some students this may be the first time they have thought about these things.
Next is the logistics of sending the box. How far does it have to go? How will it get there? How long will it take to get there? Who is going to pay for it to get there? Do we need to raise some money? Have we included something they may have to pay duties on?
However nothing beats the arrival of the box from their online friends.
“My students are so happy with it and would like to thank the girls for the presents they sent! They took pictures of them of course! In here (the project forum) my students are going to post the picture they too and as well as their impressions and questions about the Bahrainian box contents so please Khawla secondary school students do respond to our questions ”
iEARN projects that exchange culture boxes or packages are
My Identity, Your Identity Students talk about their traditional celebrations and the famous monuments and landmarks in their countries.
Learning Circles Learning Circles are highly interactive, project-based partnerships among a small number of schools located throughout the world. Each session is 14 weeks. (Here are ideas for creating welcome packs from the Learning Circles Teachers’ Guide)
Other projects that do exchange physical items include:
Side by Side – Students create elongated portraits of themselves with symbols of their past, present, and future.
Holiday Card Exchange – Teachers and students prepare an envelope containing holiday cards and send them using snail mail to the other schools in their group.
Teddy Bear Project – Classrooms exchange teddy bears or stuffed animals with a journal and items from their community.
If your class was going to send a culture box to students they are collaborating with, what do you think they would choose to send?