Collaboration

Special Needs Students Participate in International Collaboration Project

Students from Cumberland Academy of Georgia, a private school specializing in the needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADD/ADHD and learning disabilities, are participating in the Smartee Project, an international collaboration project organized by six teachers from five countries and three continents.

Five of the teachers created the Smartee Project this summer when they attended the Exemplary Educators event hosted by Smart Technologies in Calgary, Canada. The project is intended to encourage students aged 8 to 12 in different countries to use technology to get to know each other and learn from each other. Other classes participating in the project are located in Finland, Sweden, Germany, South Africa and Albuquerque, NM.

The classes kicked off the project on World Global Collaboration Day on September 17, 2015 by sharing videos introducing themselves and their school. According to Staci Gelbaum, the participating teacher from Cumberland Academy, her students were amazed by the differences and similarities between themselves and the other classes, and they were also excited to locate the other countries on a map and figure out how far they are from the United States.

As part of the Smartee Project, the teachers adopted a small stuffed animal that travels to each of the participating classrooms, and students document its travels on a shared blog. So far the mascot has traveled to Finland and its next stop is New Mexico before continuing on to Cumberland Academy of Georgia.

According to information from Smart Technologies, the special needs students involved in this project find it motivating to use technology to learn about other countries and cultures, and the international collaboration is intended to help improve their social skills along with their geographical and cultural knowledge.

The Smartee Project will continue throughout the school year, during which time the classes will collaborate on projects and share information, and the teachers plan to expand the project next year.

Further information about the SMARTee Project can be found on the Smartee blog.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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