When we announced the “Collaborate for Good” contest, I’m not sure we had any idea of the quantity or quality of submissions that we would receive.  Over 500 people joined the WeCollaborate.com site to either submit a proposal on how they would use a 50-seat Blackboard Collaborate room for one year to make a difference in the world, or to vote on the other proposals.  Proposals came in from all over the world for incredibly noble work:  a poverty awareness program in Haiti, a Greek social learning network, video conference medicine training from India, youth community groups in Nigeria, global connecting from Nepal, student tutoring in Nicaragua, search literacy training in Lebanon, environmental training from Alaska, a global music project, and on and on and on.  In a word, this has been stunning.

Which means that choosing ten contest winners has not been an easy task!  Five Blackboard Collaborate staffers read each of the submissions and rated them based on preparation and clarity, and for ties we looked at the community voting.  Without a doubt there were many great proposals that didn’t make it to the final ten, and Collaborate staffers are going to be reaching out individually on many of these to find other ways in which we can be supportive.

The winning proposals are listed below. We congratulate our winners for their ideas, clarity of their visions, and devotion to helping others.  Their full proposals can be seen at http://www.WeCollaborate.com.

“WATER QUALITY PROJECT” from Robin Cochran Dirksen of Lead-Deadwood High School in South Dakota.  Helping teams of students from around the world focus on past or present problems within their local watersheds.

“CONNECTING & COLLABORATING – FROM MAUI TO THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY” from Renee Adams, Social Studies Teacher at Kalama Intermediate on the island of Maui, Hawaii.  Connecting Pacific Island students with each other and the world, and helping administrators and teachers stay in touch with rural parents.

“AROUND THE WORLD WITH BOOKS!” from Rene deBerardinis, Director of Library Services at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia.  A global book club using Collaborate as a “literary cafe.”

“WE WILL COLLABORATE, WILL YOU?” from Amra Rizvic, Teaching Assistant at the School of Economics and Business in Sarajevo.  Distance learning classes and student collaboration for language learning, and external expert “visits” with staff and students.

“VIRTUAL MENTORSHIP FOR TRAUMATIZED YOUTH IN AFRICA” from María Teresa Esponda (Mayte), Director, Training Services and Live Events at The Strongest Oak, Argentina.  Helping extraordinary youth from developing countries overcome adversity (including war, genocide, rape and disease) through online collaboration with mentors.

“KIDS TEACHING KIDS VIA DIGITAL MEDIA” from Rushton Hurley, Executive Director of NextVista.org.   Helping students around the world create videos that help their peers, rich and poor, better learn what they encounter while in school.

“ELLUMINATE DYSLEXIA BY CONNECTING DYSLEXIC STUDENTS ACROSS THE GLOBE FOR SHARING AND SUPPORT” from Mike Travis, Math/Tech High School Teacher at Assets School in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Bring together students from nine schools around the world that are serving dyslexic students, and to provide continued professional development and dialog for teachers and parents.

“PROJECT: CLOSING THE TECHNOLOGY GAP IN WORLD LANGUAGE TEACHING” by Silvina Orsatti, Online PD Facilitator/Mead Leadership Fellow at the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association.  An online professional development project providing free training to World Language teachers on creative, immersive, authentic, and FUN ways to incorporate web 2.0 tools in the classroom.

“ONLINE MODEL UNITED NATIONS: TAKING GLOBAL YOUTH ENGAGEMENT IN AN EXCITING NEW DIRECTION” from Lisa Martin, International Educator/Program Developer Organization at Raha International School, Abu Dhabi.  Online Model United Nations will bring one of the world’s most popular academic role-playing simulations to an online environment, with a focus on high school students who wish to engage in serious discussion, collaboration and debate on pressing global issues.

“UNITED NATIONS OF YOUTH” from Carl Heine, Lead Innovation Architect at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.  A collaborative project committed to the ultimate goal of world peace by organizing student web conferences to discuss international problems and fostering a culture of cooperation and collaboration.

Our congratulations to these winners, and our sincere appreciation to all who have participated.

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