Seven Hours of Separation - The 2IB Maths collaboration with Mexico

What started out from a post from Facebook, later resulted in the 2IB Maths Class working on a collaborative project of seven hours time difference. The students of the Maths AA SL class were working together with students from “Universidad de Monterrey”, an IB school in Monterrey, Mexico. A month has passed since this project, so I took the opportunity to ask students and their teacher Asle Engelsen about their thoughts on this project.

Asle Engelsen, also the Maths teacher in the IB informed us that the school had never carried out such a project. After seeing the published post from Facebook, a request for the collaborative project, Asle simply contacted Monterrey's IB teacher. Both teachers discussed the project for a while before both decided to carry it out in their classes. The students were then divided into groups of four, with students from both schools. The class was given different topics to work on, such as Six Degrees of Separation, Rate of Corona Infections and Youtube Statistics.

“The outcomes were very good, far better than I expected”, Asle Engelsen said. He did not expect much from the project's final result but was rather more interested in how the students were able to overcome difficulties that came with the project. The teacher explained that he wanted his students to work and have fun in the process, as this was not used as an assessment. In terms of the project itself, Engelsen thinks that the project was helpful for understanding the importance of contribution and responsibility. The project’s conditions would also force students to organize their time and reflect over the different conditions of the project. He believes that this was a realistic learning goal towards the student’s Maths IA. “It was a good project since it covered some of the IB Learner Profiles that aren’t really touched upon during normal classes,” the teacher added. Asle wishes to do a similar collaborative project in the future and use it to assess his students.

Students who participated in this project found this experience fun but also time-consuming. As previously stated, both sides of the project worked with a seven-hour time difference. Some students had no problem with adapting their time schedule and thought nothing of it, while others found it a little unfair that the Monterrey IB students could just work in their Math’s class whereas the IB students in Bergen would have to sacrifice their free time outside school.

Despite this, the students learned the fundamentals of communication, that helped the students overcome misunderstandings, in which many thought was an obstacle during the project.