In my first year of teaching, I taught English overseas at a school located in a small rural town almost 600 miles from the country’s capital city. Many of my students had never left their hometown, let alone traveled outside the state. At the beginning of the year, I asked myself “how can I help my students understand that what they are learning is valuable? How can I make this content meaningful to them?” After brainstorming and praying, I decided to “reach out.” Using different platforms, I partnered with teachers in other parts of the world. Together, our classrooms participated in cultural and language exchanges. With the limited technology available back then, we interacted through e-mail and regular post mail. I found these interactions highly boosted motivation and engagement in my students. It resulted in a genuine enthusiasm for learning.
After observing the positive results of incorporating technology and collaborating with other teachers that first year, I decided to implement these types of interactions and real-world applications in each of my subsequent classrooms. These connections varied from collaborative projects to cultural and language exchanges and curriculum-based activities shared with other classes. Students not only achieved learning standards as a result of these experiences, but they made new friends as well.
These projects taught me firsthand that learning is meaningful and relevant when it is connected to students’ everyday lives. Similarly, strong learning connections take place when students apply learning to real world contexts in authentic ways. I am excited that today there is a platform for Adventist teachers and classrooms to connect in order to create similar learning experiences, and it is called Adventist Teacher Connect.
Adventist Teacher Connect began as a way to facilitate connections within the global network of Adventist schools. It is a free platform for prekindergarten to 12th grade Seventh-day Adventist teachers that is accessed through the Adventist Learning Community. Adventist Teacher Connect allows teachers to: 1) connect with other teachers, and 2) participate in Project-Based Learning that addresses real-world problems in local communities and around the world.
How do you use Adventist Teacher Connect? Here are the main components:
This is a database of Adventist teachers around the world willing to interact and collaborate with other teachers. Browse through profiles; find teachers you are interested in partnering with and connect virtually with the class. If time zones are a challenge, share videos or use other creative ways to communicate. Create and facilitate both academic and faith-based learning experiences for students. Connect for worship, virtual field trips, guest presenters, science experiments, student presentations, or teach lessons. Find ideas in the downloadable teacher guide found on Adventist Teacher Connect.
This section is dedicated to Project-Based Learning. In this strategy, students investigate a real-world problem at their school, community or beyond and create a product or solution. Find ready-to-go projects, or share your own project ideas and completed projects with the community of teachers. A growing number of Adventist ministries collaborate with Adventist Teacher Connect by creating project challenges for schools to embark on. This allows students to become involved in the mission of these organizations and make meaningful contributions to their communities and churches. Download the Project-Based Learning Starter and Step-by-Step guides to get started.
Use Adventist Teacher Connect in your classroom to empower students to take an active role in their learning. Join Adventist Teacher Connect and join a global community of Adventist teachers! Connect with classrooms around the world and participate in collaborative lessons and projects that will increase student engagement and extend learning beyond your classroom walls.
Join now at: adventistlearningcommunity.com
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