collaborating throughout the process, we decided to have
the U.S. team do the rough draft and the Chinese students
do the editing. The new curriculum addresses this issue by
paring down the length and including photographs so the
overall file size of the video is smaller.
We did not have the same technologies as the Chinese
school, and this led to some challenges. Surprisingly, we
found that the Chinese students were not as comfortable
with technology as our students. There were also format
issues to address. For example, the Chinese were using
older versions of Microsoft Word and PowerPoint that
we couldn’t open. We use Google Docs, but the Chinese
government prohibits access to this application.
In response, Schoolwires has since created a tool within the
platform where students can work collaboratively on a document. Although these challenges were frustrating at times,
they gave my students an authentic experience that they
might encounter again in the workforce. Logistical, technical, and language issues, as well as an ambitious curriculum,
created some challenging moments. It was a good troubleshooting experience for everyone, and the students handled
the bumps in the road with grace, patience, and resiliency.
We are now in the second year of the program, and
Greenleaf is available to other districts. As an educator, I
have enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with teach-
ers from another country. I learned that teachers share the
same joys and frustrations whether they are in China or the
United States, and I feel like I have two new friends in Bei-
jing. The problem-solving and collaborative skills that my
students and I gained from this experience are unforgettable.
Sue Anderson has been teaching ninth grade World History I at State College Area High School in Pennsylvania, USA, for the past 10 years and recently received a master’s of education in reading.
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