The magic of collaboration: These two teachers created #GlobalSpeedChat to promote cross-cultural understanding among students

Global Speed Chat

Colleagues, mentors, friends. This is how two TED-Ed Innovative Educators — Kim Preshoff and Jennifer Hesseltine — describe each other after meeting face-to-face for the first time. Below, Kim and Jen describe what happened next:

It was one year ago at TEDYouth in New York that we discovered just how much we had in common as teachers — namely, a passion for education! Since then, we have kept in touch on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis — sharing lesson ideas, homework experiences and future plans. Although we teach different curriculum at different schools in New York, we agree that as teachers we are in a position to influence kids in a positive way, and we feel very strongly that the solutions to global challenges start with youth around the world. If we can inspire students to understand each other a little bit better, we believe that we can help to create a more peaceful world. That’s why we created #GlobalSpeedChat.

What is #GlobalSpeedChat?
#GlobalSpeedChat is a curriculum that includes quick, ready-to-go digital activities that teachers, school leaders, and club organizers can do with students to build an awareness of others in our world. Our hope is that through participation in the activities, kids worldwide will become more aware of commonalities and learn to value differences. The plan is simple: create something together, share — and check back often to see what others are posting.

The idea for #GlobalSpeedChat grew out of our collaboration this summer on a TEDSummit workshop, which focused on bringing adults together from around the world to communicate with each other in a 1:1 setting. Our goal was to bring those initial conversations back to students, and empower them to continue open dialogue in a safe and collaborative environment: #GlobalSpeedChat.

To celebrate International Education Week, #GlobalSpeedChat is kicking off its first activity for kids this week! Activities will continue each month through June 2017 and beyond. To get involved or stay informed, sign up here for the #GlobalSpeedChat newsletter.

We believe that the best way for kids to really get to know each other is to give them opportunities to do something together. #GlobalSpeedChat creates those opportunities for students worldwide to collaborate. To learn more about #GlobalSpeedChat, check out

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  1. This is an awesome idea! We at PenPal School agree “that the best way for kids to really get to know each other is to give them opportunities to do something together” and in the magic of collaboration. We connect students 7 and up with PenPals around the world and together they take online courses to learn together. Could be a great compliement to this project!

  2. Indira Sakamuri

    The idea of Global speed chat to promote cross cultural understanding amongst students is just amazing. I would love to be part of this unique chat forum. I am blown away by the idea of empowering students to continue open dialogue in a safe and collaborative environment. This seems to be very promising to extend pupils to heighten their thinking, broaden their horizons of knowledge and opening them up to connections with no limitations.

  3. Indira, thank you so much for the great feedback! We just finished our 5th activity for the 2016-2017 school year, and have many more to come. Feel free to jump in and participate at any time. -Jennifer Hesseltine & Kim Preshoff, TED-Ed Innovative Educators & #GlobalSpeedChat Founders

  4. Crystal,

    Thank you so much for the information about PenPals. We will check it out! -Jennifer Hesseltine & Kim Preshoff, TED-Ed Innovative Educators & #GlobalSpeedChat Founders

  5. Barbara Corbin

    Are you planning activities for this coming year (2017-2018)? I would love to participate with my first graders.

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