FAQ : XW1W (Across the World Once a Week)

Global Collaboration for Cross-Cultural Understanding

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Read the details here and/or show this to a savvy teen for help!

Why XW1W?
Getting to know another culture often takes months or years of observation and experience. We learn about a culture from watching and participating in daily life: how people interact, what matters to them, what is considered "normal," how they eat, talk, grow up, earn a living, and so much more. XW1W is a way to share the experiences of everyday life, student to student, so today's young people can grow up with broader experiences by sharing with their global peers.

How does XW1W fit into school curriculum?
XW1W, a cross-cultural collaboration across the world once a week, fits in the curriculum for social studies, world cultures, world languages, geography, research and writing skills, and even contemporary issues. If course standards include developing appreciation of other cultures and life in other countries, XW1W fits right in. In the "flat world" of today's global economy, XW1W can even help business, economics, government, or family and consumer science classes discover similarities and differences among cultures. English teachers (native language or those learning English in other cultures) can use XW1W to practice writing skills, as well.

Is XW1W for a specific country or countries? Ages?
XW1W is intended for whole classes of younger students aged 12 years and younger in addition to students aged 13+, in any country. Younger students participate as a class activity under direct teacher supervision and a class response is submitted through Tweets, blogs, or other multimedia method using the appropriate hashtag; students aged 13+ years may have their own Twitter accounts and may submit their own responses. While many cultures will not be fortunate enough to have access to the technology required, TeachersFirst hopes that XW1W can open some doors in many countries for cross-cultural understanding in the 21st century.

Can classes in other countries, like China, join XW1W?
Any class, ANYWHERE, is welcome to participate, and we hope those who lack access to Twitter will still use this page on TeachersFirst to view the question and respond using whatever digital tools they have available. Post your responses and tag them #XW1W-E or #XW1W-M, as appropriate. Students and classrooms around the world will be looking for your response!

How can a class or student participate in XW1W?
Simply bookmark this page or follow @teachersfirst on Twitter to see the weekly question after midnight, early Sunday morning (U.S. time). Share the idea of XW1W with your class, and discuss the etiquette of responding so total strangers in other cultures will understand the response. Have students compose responses on a whole class Twitter account or post them on a class wiki or blog. If students want to go even further, let them create a multimedia project that answers the question using any of the tools reviewed in the TeachersFirst Edge, such as Canva or Pablo. Use your teacher or class Twitter account to tweet the responses or links to longer responses as tweets with the hashtag #XW1W-E or #XW1W-M before Wednesday of each week.

What kind of responses can students make?
The simplest responses are 280 character "tweets" (updates) shared via Twitter with the appropriate #XW1W hashtag. Longer responses could include captioned photos shared on a blog post or wiki, multimedia projects that include sound, images, and text, or even a video. If students work outside of class, they may want to use their creativity to work with a web tool you can learn about, too! Responses could simply be posted on the class web page and tweeted out as a link (with the corresponding #XW1W hashtag, of course). Be sure to include what country you live in. Abbreviations are fine!

What language should XW1W responses use?
Tweeted responses should be in English as a common ground; consider Google Translate or Microsoft Translator, if necessary. Tweets will, of course, be in shortened English to fit the 280 character limit. Responses posted on other web locations and "tweeted" in link form should be written in English but can definitely include another language, as well. For example, a student could write a response in English and include a translation into the language of his/her culture or the language of another culture being studied. Creative students might want to use a tool like Voki (reviewed here) to make an avatar that speaks in one language with subtitles in another!

Can you show me some sample responses?
Some responses to the question #XW1W-E How many computers are available in your home that are connected to the internet? (Note that each includes the #XW1W-E hashtag and the country):

  • #XW1W-E Computers in the home 8- 4 phones, 2 tablets, laptop and Chromebook USA
  • #XW1W-E FR Our class average is 5

Some responses to the question #XW1W-M How many meters is the perimeter of your school’s gymnasium(s)? (Note that each includes the #XW1W-M hashtag and the country):

  • #XW1W-M Canada - Our school’s gymnasium has a perimeter of 113 m
  • #XW1W-M UK The perimeter of our gym in the UK is 520 meters

How do we see others' #XW1W responses?
You have several options:

  • See recent responses on the Twitter feed or on the TeachersFirst XW1W question page.
  • Use a free tool such as Tweetdeck (reviewed here) to create a Twitter search for the hashtag #XW1W that you can watch on your class computer (if Twitter is not blocked).
  • Savvy tech types can use Wakelet (reviewed here) to collect multiple responses and save them to read much later.

Are there any practical tips I should know as a teacher?
XW1W is only as appropriate for classrooms as the responses that others write or create. Some schools may have completely open use of Twitter with student accounts while others may not permit Twitter at all. Since students love to experiment with "creative" responses, you might want to point out to students that XW1W will only last as long as students continue using it appropriately. You can always preview the XW1W responses on this page before sharing them on a projector or interactive whiteboard in class. What a great lesson in responsible use of the Internet!

I don't have a Twitter account. Can I participate?
You can always READ what other people have to say on XW1W, but that's only half the of the learning. Twitter is free. Why not set up an account to learn more about it? You may or may not be able to "see" it at school. See some of Twitter's advantages for teachers in TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers. You might want to share the XW1W project idea with your administrator to gain access to Twitter at school.

I know nothing about Twitter. How do I get started?
Find the basics at TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers.

What if I can't access Twitter at school?
You can still see the weekly question and a newspaper of current responses on this page. Grab the question to use as a prompt for student responses. Without Twitter access at school, you will want to collect student responses in another online location, such as your class wiki or blog, instead of tweeting them out one by one. Once away from school, log into Twitter on your mobile device or home computer for ten seconds to tweet out the link to the class responses. Don't forget the #XW1W hashtags!

Can students participate on their own?
Some teachers may want to assign XW1W as an extra credit or homework task if students have Internet access outside of school. Be sure to send a note home explaining the project to parents. Students participating on their own will need their own Twitter account (must be 13 or over). Have students give you their Twitter name so you can "follow" them and see their posts easily to give them credit.

Is there any control on the appropriateness of responses?
Unfortunately, today's social media have no "filters." By publicizing XW1W primarily to teachers and educational technology professionals, TeachersFirst hopes to build a strong group of participants who will model ethical use of the project's great potential. Teachers should preview XW1W results before sharing to an entire class. XW1W will last as long as students continue using it appropriately. TeachersFirst and The Source for Learning, Inc. are not responsible for the individual posts, tweets, or project submitted by teachers, classes, or students and part of the XW1W project. TeachersFirst will monitor the project submissions at reasonable intervals. TeachersFirst reserves the right to terminate the XW1W project at any time if it is no longer being used as intended.

Where do we find the weekly questions?
Follow @teachersfirst on your Twitter account or come to this page each week to see the new question (add it to your bookmarks!). New questions appear on very early on Sundays (U.S. time) so teachers can plan for the coming week.

What kind of questions are they?
Questions are designed to elicit student-friendly information about daily life that may reflect underlying priorities and circumstances. Topics might include food, clothing, family, school, friends, entertainment, and more. Since culture is made up of many small interactions, these questions will provide a window into what makes everyday life and everyday decision making "tick" for students in many different cultures the world over.

Back to the XW1W Intro and question page