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In today’s digital age, we all have access to an array of collaboration and communication tools, apps and platforms – all of which can be used to bring new dimensions to your international school partnerships.

Online tools provide a great way to enhance communication and enrich existing project work. Whether you’re just starting with international collaboration or are in an already established partnership, this toolkit aims to provide inspiration, guidance and advice to help you make the most of your Connecting Classrooms project.

‘Any online opportunity … is a unique opportunity to learn from each other. It enables our pupils to ask wider questions and understand global issues and promote sustainable development goals.’

Head teacher Tess Trewinnard on her partnership between Uganda and the UK 

Why use online tools?

Integrating online tools into your partnership is a great way to enhance:

  • Communication – use online meeting platforms, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype, and less formal channels of communication, such as WhatsApp and Facebook groups, to support synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (anytime) communication amongst staff and students
  • Collaboration – use dedicated education collaboration spaces such as Edmodo, Padlet and Seesaw, to enhance project work by providing easy access to resources, classwork, videos and any other relevant documents for students, teachers, and, where required, parents and carers
  • Sharing – use blog and social media platforms to share information about your school and community with your partners, to promote your partnership successes with the wider education community and to share best practices
  • Co-ordination – work with partners simultaneously on documents in real-time; save all project paperwork in a central repository and give access permissions to members as required; easily organise visits, projects and events via group communication tools.

Key safeguarding points to consider

  • The tips and advice in this toolkit should be taken as guidance only. You should always follow your school’s own safeguarding policies and procedures when working with partner schools online
  • The principles set out in your school’s staff behaviour and safeguarding policies will also apply to online collaboration 
  • Be aware that, like any online activity, safeguarding issues could arise if your online partnership activities are not regularly monitored
  • You can find further guidance in the UK government’s Keeping Children Safe in Education report (updated 2021).

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