In a post to the National Institute for Literacy Technology discussion list on July 17, 2003, http://www.nifl.gov/nifl-technology/2003/0228.html Irshat Yusupovich Madyarov wrote:
I’m looking for a platform to be used for an internet-based intercultural communication between two schools with kids from different cultural backgrounds. This would involve user-friendly message board, posting pictures, etc. There will be a web site as a part of this project, so we could as well integrate all communication tools we need into this website. i know some websites that offer this type of service. I would like to hear about your experience.
One example of project-based (constructivist) distance learning, which involves matched classes, groups or schools from different countries is the International Classroom Virtual Visit project. Susan Gaer, an ESL instructor at Santa Anna College in Southern California, and I developed the project in 1999. Since then we have helped teachers and their classes, from various countries, to match up and exchange information about themselves and their cultures. Students introduce themselves, their class/school and their communities through student-and teacher-made Web pages. They ask each other questions using group or individual e-mail. Most of the classes are adult ESL/ESOL students, but some are K-12 students, and some are adult basic skills students. Some of the matches have been cross-generational.
It’s a great way to encourage production of writing, cultural learning, and increased comfort and experience with the internet. For some (teachers and students) it’s also an opportunity to learn about web page design, including graphics.
For more information about this project, and to see the Web pages the classes have developed since 1999. you can go to the Virtual School Visit section of Susan’s E-mail projects Web page at:
To join the International Classroom Virtual Visit project, go to:
An inexpensive platform which you might be interested exploring for project-based learning, that has a message board, a place for posting pictures, and many other virtual learning environment features is Community Zero http://www.communityzero.com/