Day 15: School to School Collaborations

This week in our 20 Days Challenge to Better VC Projects, we’ve been talking about how to scale your own projects. Another way to scale projects is to collaborate school-to-school, with multiple teachers from each school connecting with each other.

So how does that work?

Finding a school partner

It is very rare to advertise for a partner school and actually get a response. Most people aren’t willing to commit to multiple collaborations with an unknown partner. It’s better to build on a collaborative relationship and expand it further.

  • Think about your Read Around the Planet partners from the last few years. Would you like to work with any of them further?
  • Think about your other collaborations that you have done. Are there any partners who were easy to work with?
  • If your location has participated in the Jazz Workshop, other participants make great partners too.
  • If you haven’t done enough collaborations yet, then start building your network of potential partners by responding to collaborations on CAPspace and CILC; participating in Read Around the Planet, and following other videoconference coordinators on Twitter.

Planning Together

Videoconference to Plan Together

After you find someone willing to work with you, plan a videoconference with them.

  • Brainstorm possible simple sharing that your teachers can do. (weather, community, poetry, etc.)
  • Bring your schedules and compare them.
  • Bring a list of interested teachers.

One of my coordinators has done this successfully, and walked away from the planning time with 10 videoconferences scheduled!


An in depth collaboration with another school has several benefits:

  • Less test calls! If you test once and know how to connect; you can have multiple connections without doing additional test calls.
  • More in depth collaboration. Often school to school collaborations expand to each pair of teachers connecting multiple times during the school year. It’s very difficult to get a “cold” / new partner to commit to multiple VCs from the start of the relationship. With school to school, this collaboration can evolve over time.
  • Long term relationships lead to more collaborations. As you get to know each other further; and compare curriculum and interests, you’ll think of even more collaborative VCs that your classes can do together.

Your Turn

Please comment! Have you done any school to school collaborations? What made it work? What made it challenging?

Don’t forget! Kid2Kid Videoconference Connections, a six week online course starts Monday January 25. We can still get you registered if you want to join!

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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