Day 2: Getting Started with Read Around the Planet

Yesterday in our 20 Day Challenge kickoff post, Roxanne suggested that an excellent way to start off with videoconferencing is to participate in projects managed by others. So this week, we want to spend a little time thinking about how best to integrate participation in Read Around the Planet with your curriculum and videoconference program.

What is Read Around the Planet (RAP)?

So what is this project anyway? Here are some basic facts:

  • Read Around the Planet started as a Read Across America celebration in Michigan, and it is still primarily U.S. schools that participate.
  • Read Around the Planet is like a dating service! TWICE matches the classes and provides teacher materials. It’s up to you to make the relationship work!
  • It’s open to K12 schools with access to IP or ISDN videoconferencing (H.323 or H.320).
  • Read Around the Planet targets language arts and world language classes.

A class acts out a story during Read Around the Planet

What do you do in a RAP videoconference?

The recommended Read Around the Planet format is very simple:

  • Introductions and sharing maps
  • My class leads an interaction/presentation
  • Your class leads an interaction/presentation
  • We ask each other questions about our communities, studies, and daily lives.

This format is easy for first-timers. Teachers can share anything they are currently studying in language arts. World language classes share games, skits, songs, and readings to practice the target language.

Targeting Teachers

Sound like fun? It’s a great whole school celebration of reading and videoconferencing. Some schools use RAP as the highlight and mainstay of their videoconference calendar each year. Some make a bulletin board with pins showing all the places their students have connected!

Today’s Challenge

So, now it’s time to convince teachers to participate. What should you do?

  1. Show the teacher training video in a staff or departmental meeting. It’s just under 13 minutes long.
  2. If it is your first year participating, pick 5 or less teachers to participate.
  3. Pick the teachers who are the most flexible and able to deal with surprises and glitches. Yes, ANYTHING can happen in a real-time videoconference!

Your Turn:

Please comment!

  • If you’re new to Read Around the Planet, what questions do you have?
  • If you’re a pro with Read Around the Planet, what tips do you have for newbies?

Reminder: If you are totally new to collaborative projects and/or would like step by step assistance (including for RAP), sign up for Kid2Kid Videoconference Connections, a six week online course beginning January 25.

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About Janine Lim

Janine Lim, PhD, currently serves as associate dean for online higher education in the School of Distance Education at Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, MI. She and her team support over 200 online courses, provide training for faculty teaching online, and work with the campus infrastructure support of online learning. Her department also provides educational technology and Moodle support for faculty and students. In addition, Janine is responsible for the faculty and courses of the Consortium of Adventist Colleges and Universities. Janine has taught over 15 unique graduate educational technology classes online numerous times over the past 15 years, with some classes attracting participants from all over the world. Her undergraduate teaching includes social media courses for communication and digital media majors. Janine has served on the board of the United States Distance Learning Association since April 2015. Prior to her work at Andrews University, Janine coordinated distance education for 22 K12 school districts in southwest Michigan for 14 years. In that position, as one of the co-founders of TWICE, Michigan’s K12 Videoconferencing Organization, Janine has spearheaded popular international K12 videoconference projects such as Read Around the Planet and MysteryQuest. While still serving on the board of TWICE, she was instrumental in designing and implementing the CAPspace website for collaborative videoconference projects. Janine also served on a team of Michigan educational technology trainers providing a workshop called ATA Technology Academy. Her current online learning research interests include successful teacher behaviors, quality online discussions, and student activity patterns in self-paced courses.
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