While it's possible to connect with educators around the world, language barriers can often get in the way of effectively communicating ideas.
This past summer, I had the amazing opportunity to meet likeminded teachers from across North America at the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute in Austin, Texas. English, Spanish and French were spoken by the more than 200 tech-savvy attendees.
In the midst of expanding my professional learning network and making new friends, Suzanne Rubinstein and I quickly realized that we both had something in common. Each of us shared a passion for writing about educational technology on blogs that provide tips for educators using mobile devices in their classrooms. Suzanne, who is from Mexico City, asked if I would be interested in having a few posts from my blog featured on hers -- posts that she would translate into Spanish for her audience. It was immediately clear that this would be a fantastic way to reach a wider range of educators by offering a select number of posts in both English and Spanish.
Suzanne is taking the initiative to choose posts from my blog that she thinks will benefit teachers in Mexico. After she translates a post to Spanish, I put a link on my site so that readers know it's available in both languages. Additionally, we've added badges to our blogs that say Looking for EdTech content in Spanish? and ¿Buscas información de tecnología en educación en Inglés? to direct readers to each other's site.
We've been able to share apps that are available in both the U.S. and Mexican iTunes Stores, and that can be tailored to meet the needs of students speaking either Spanish or English. For example, we've shown how to create QR codes for using with students, how digital storytelling can be used in the classroom, and how BrainPop Español is a great tool to support English-language learners in the United States or students in Mexico.
Conferences are great places to meet educators with similar passions. Often the combination of a teacher's workload and endless to-do lists makes it hard to put ideas into action. I'm so excited to be collaborating with another educator who shares my passion for sharing education technology. With a handful of blog posts already available in both English and Spanish, I can't wait to see what we can accomplish this school year and how many educators we can reach in spite of the language barrier.
How have you connected with educators across the world?