The Best Laid Plans

Some weeks ago, I shared exciting news that my students were collaborating with a girls’ school in Israel on a joint wiki writing project. Just as we got our wikis off the ground, a teachers’ strike in Israel put our plans on hold. The strike has now lasted more than a month. If it is not resolved before the winter break in about three weeks, the project will be on hold indefinitely as my students will be writing a research paper from January to March.

I know that the teachers I am working with are saddened about this turn of events, and I think we all agree that the timing of our collaboration was unfortunate in light of the strike. However, I think our situation poses an interesting lesson for all of us who are interested in embarking upon global collaboration in our classrooms.

What do we do when the best laid schemes o’ mice and men gang aft a-gley?

And what does it say about the project that the kids are still chatting through the discussion area of the wiki and friending each other on Facebook even though the project is on hiatus?

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5 thoughts on “The Best Laid Plans

  1. So the structured learning isn't happening because one set of adults' hands are tied…

    Connections (and learning) is still happening, that wouldn't have happened if the project wasn't initiated

  2. The connections are so important and certainly take a life of their own. No project goes "as planned" and no project is perfect, however it is in the imperfection of humanity we can see the beauty of the connections… hybrid flowers if you will that would have never bloomed without cross pollinization. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Seems an occupational hazard. Sometimes it's not even external forces like your case, but instead the reliability of all teachers involved.

    And then there are the gnarly issues of academic calendars being out of sync, etc.

    Some of the 1001 Tales workshops last year suffered a similar fate. Mine with HI and CO almost did. It took persistence to pull it off.

    But the lessons learned from first attempts have to be learned by somebody, so why not us?

    (And OMG, we need to put our heads together for Feb before it creeps up on us!)

  4. It says quite a lot, actually. Teens are into Web 2.0 technologies, like Wikis. These technologies are participatory in nature. I've been involved in online exchanges for almost ten years now through a private network, and there are always unforseen circumstances which do not allow the exchange to go forward. I encourage you to make plans to try again another time. This exchange, even though it hasn't happened, obviously has turned on your students to communication in a different form. Bravo! If you are interested in finding out more about exchanges and what can happen when teachers and students get creative, visit the Bread Loaf Teacher Network website and read some of our magazines online: http://www.middlebury.edu/academics/blse/breadnet

  5. Hi Dana,

    Even though the strike has not ended Melissa and I are making a valiant effort to have the project move on. On last Thursday, Melissa and I came in to school to meet with the class in order to explain to them what is expected of them as the project moves on. Melissa posted the instructions on the wiki and I spoke with the girls about how to carry out their interviews for the project.
    http://israel-faces.wikispaces.com/I-Faces+Projec
    We are not giving up so easily!

    Reuven

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