I am being criticized for trying something new.
For establishing my own network.
That's a pity. I was actually hoping for encouragement.
My network is not "a project". It is experimental, as there are no networks attempting to do the same that I know of.
What my network is trying to do is to connect mostly students from different countries to collaborate on their homework and studies.
Since various countries have different syllabus, not to mention different cities and even different schools, you may raise an eyebrow trying to figure out what am I talking about? Can a student from Israel help a student from France work on their essay for English? Well, to be honest... I think they can.
Can a student from Italy help a student from Egypt learn about volcanoes in Geography class? Yes. I think sharing resources, including web resources, can be of benefit even to those who do not speak your language.
Can a student from Taiwan help a student from the US in math homework? I know they can. Math is taught using different methods and researches have shown that some people may benefit from the Taiwan method, while even a student in Taiwan may find the American method more suitable for him.
Can you think of a better way to teach world history than to talk about it with students from around the world?
Can you think of a more exciting way to study geography than exchanging local photos and information with kids who actually live in the country you are studying about??

The teacher's role in this network is not the leading role. The teachers are there to offer help where students can't help each other. It is the teens who are members of this network that have to take the lead! They are the most important factor of its success! (We, the adults, are only there to serve...). It's the kids who have to determine what it is they want to discuss, what help they want to get, what they can offer, what they can share. They are used to a situation where they do not contribute unless instructed to (in various wiki projects I have seen). While these projects are amazing - they are not this one. This network is a free form.

In the life cycle of the network the beginning is very slow. I try to collect as many contacts as possible from around the world. Most contacts are people who I have met online, through various networks. Being a married mother of 3 young children I am unable to leave home and travel for weeks or months around the world searching for contacts. The web 2.0 tools offer this fantastic opportunity to go around the world without travel. So I have collected teachers from various ning networks. Many of them are already members of several networks and were only happy to join this valuable effort and support the initiative which is meant to encourage youth eagerness for knowledge.
Other contacts arrived from local networks in my country (Hebrew networks) and from other networks such as Facebook and business networks too.

At the moment we have about 70 members from 16 different countries.
No investment in promotion or advertisement was made. No budget for it.
Just to make it clear: this is a non commercial, non-profit, totally volunteer network. Nobody gains from it - but the kids... and hopefully all of their related parties, who are as passionate about education and what it can do to the world.

If you want to connect to this network please write to me and I will send you the link.

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Commentaire de Vincent Mespoulet le 30 décembre 2008 à 20:05
Dear Or-Tal,

First of all, your vision is actually not very new in my opinion and i read many contradictions about what is education in a globalized world, specially about the use of internet 2.0.

1. Here, on school beyond the walls, teachers are not leaders, but all the adults (teachers, parents, artists) are facilitators. Among the adults, teachers are just experts in pedagogy, because we know how to create projects with kids, because we work with our students in the true life every day... Here the work of the students is not exactly a schoolwork: it's most of all the pleasure to share... And to share not only about schoolwork, but also about all the elements of our culture, traditions, about all the knowledge not enough taught in schools (dance, music, photography, arts...)
2. In our vision here, students create many groups themselves, they publish many posts, they send pics, realized videos... no problem. I'm not sure that you have read many books about psychopedagogy, or about various theories of pedagogy... The activity in our network is also an extension to our activities in classrooms... You wish that a student from Taïwan teach/learn to a student from Ecuador. Great, nice idea... But where are the students if you invite teachers ??? Actually if you want attract teachers just to attract students, it will not work very well...
3. Homework or help to Homework is not the most important thing in my opinion... have you some idea about the differences of curricula and education policies and educational systems through the world ? the problem is not just to explain what is a volcano, the problem is to determine in which goal, inside which project you want to know what's a volcano...
4. You don't need to go around the world to search contacts. I told you that i can help you to find contacts with teachers from all the arab countries around Israël... So if you are interested, try first to define for us a clear and simple project about Education for Peace for example, not just a peer-to-peer help for homework...

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