B. Finding Projects, Partners & Collaborative Tools
5. Register and Follow Through
Registering for a project takes only a few minutes. But, before you register, you should find out what it will take for your students to complete the project successfully. That way, neither you, your students, nor the other project participants will be disappointed.
We highly recommend that for your first project, you have your students participate in a virtual field trip, travel buddy project or an information exchange that requires only one or two email exchanges.
Registering for a Project
The project coordinator decides how you will register to participate in the project. Teacher-initiated projects usually require you to send email to the coordinator. If a project is managed by an educational organization or company, a form may exist on the project web site that you must submit.
The project coordinator will most likely want to know your name, email address, your school, grade level, mailing address, phone number, and other general information. They may also want you to supply some specific information regarding your interest in the project.
The vast majority of projects operate in a professional, collegial and friendly manner. You should expect this to be a friendly, rewarding experience, and one that is bound to develop new friendships.
Registering for a project is the easy part. But following through, so that your students get the most out of the project, takes commitment. Sometimes, information exchange projects require your students to contribute research information crucial to the project for interpreting data. And, they most turn in their results on time. In other words -- everybody's success in the project depends on your participation. So, you can see the importance of following through.
The rule to be a good net project citizen is simple! READ EVERYTHING! Note the time, materials and tools, and experience characteristics of the project. Determine whether you'll be able to acquire the materials, use the tools, complete all the required tasks on time, and have the technology and subject matter experience required. If you are not sure that you can successfully complete the project, please don't register. Find a different project -- or make a project of your own that matches the characteristics you identified.
Your students will get the most benefit from project participation if you take full advantage of the information offered on the project site or in the project description. Many times project sites offer multimedia resources, display informative pictures, link to other Internet resources, provide lesson plans, recommend printed resources, provide forums for student discussion, house additional activities, and suggest ways to expand, enrich, and supplement the project curriculum.
You as a teacher should decide which resources and activities are best for your students.
The Journey Begins!
Well, your preparation is done. You've learned about networked projects, visited project sites, determined the characteristics of a project you'd like to participate in, and found an appropriate project. All that's left is for you to register, and follow through. So, go ahead and do it.
In Case of Disaster
Despite your best plans and intentions, occasionally things happen (i.e. illness, severe weather conditions, equipment failure, etc.) that prevent you or your project partners from completing the project. Should this be the case, please find a way notify your project partners by email, phone, fax or postal mail to let them know the circumstances. It can be very unsettling when a project partner suddenly "disappears" without any notice or explanation.