Sharing Stories, Making Connections

Using video & social media to make cross cultural connections

Photo of Alysha English
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Remember old school "pen pals"?  One of my favorite childhood memories was having a pen pal during the school year and finally meeting up with them at a picnic. It was so powerful to meet this person I'd been sharing stories with all school year. In this digital age, we now have the ability to make those connections between students globally. 

This idea is inspired by Project Zero's Out of Eden project, a platform for classrooms across the globe to slow down, share stories, celebrate identity, and make connections. In this project, students from different schools are paired with "Virtual Buddies". Once every two weeks, 10 minutes of the classroom period, students respond to a storytelling prompt. Storycorps has some incredible prompts to pull from here.  The prompts can tie into curricular themes you're currently exploring. They should be given reflection time to capture their thoughts by writing first.  After individual reflection time, students upload a password embedded video via Vimeo or YouTube responding to their prompt.  This should be a classroom account!   Their password is shared with their "Virtual Buddy", who also uploads a video responding to the same prompt.

To encourage conversation and help students find connections, they should comment on the video in response to a series of simple prompts:

This story made me feel...

Something we have in common is...

One thing I'd love to learn more about is...

At the end of the year, it could even be cool to consider hosting a Storytelling event or screening of some of the videos, which celebrate identity, connection, and community.  This could even be a chance for buddies to meet in person, if possible! 

Share research or student experiences that informed your idea!

This project is inspired by Project Zero's Out of Eden project. Check them out here:


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Photo of Patricia Smeyers

Love this idea. You could use Padlet instead of sharing a password, if that is a problem. Anyone can post, but the teacher can moderate. Videos can be posted along with media.

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