Designing Learning Experiences to Support Global Habits of Mind (#globalclassroom chats – July 19 & 20, 2014)

CC-NC-BY critical thinking asylum

CC-NC-BY critical thinking asylum

As educators, current 21st century teaching includes designing learning experiences that expose students to real world problems, present learning to an authentic audience, connect to other classrooms and people outside the walls of their school, and also foster skills such as: creativity, curiosity, empathy, resilience and collaboration. Tony Wagner has his own list of Seven Survival Skills and how to close the Global Achievement Gap, if you will. This is a big job … it’s an incredibly huge, yet honorable task we have to tackle!

How are we, like Andrew Miller states, “learning designers” in the global sense? How do the habits of mind (i.e. creativity, curiosity, empathy, resilience and collaboration) play out in globally connecting with other classrooms? What habits of mind are harder to “get to?”

This weekend, we would like to chat about how we foster these habits of mind, and what our list of global survival skills would include.

 

Questions for our chat:

  1. What habits of mind do you find easiest to teach either directly or indirectly?
  2. Which ones are the hardest? Why?
  3. Do we reflect on these habits of mind collaboratively enough with other classrooms? How can we design experiences to help us do that in a semi-organic way?
  4. What resources help you design experiences that foster the habits of mind?
  5. What is our list of Global Habits of Mind? How do we or can we model this for our students?

Please join our chat whether you participate in global projects or not. We will all learn more together and your voice is important.

If you’d like to join the moderation team for these chats, please tweet @gcporganisers or @HeidiHutchison ASAP. Thanks!

 

Chat 1 ~ Saturday, July 19th, 10:00 – 11:00 UTC

  • 11:00 London, 12:00 (noon) Cape Town, 15:30 New Delhi, 18:00 Perth, 20:00 Sydney, 22:00 Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

 

Chat 2 ~ Saturday, July 19th, 18:00 – 19:00 UTC

  • 11:00 Los Angeles, 14:00 New York, 19:00 London, 20:00 Cape Town, 06:00 SUNDAY – Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

 

Chat 3 ~ Sunday, July 20th, 01:00 – 02:00 UTC (Saturday in N & S America!)

  • Saturday night – 18:00 Los Angeles, 21:00 New York
  • Sunday – 06:30 New Delhi, 09:00 Perth, 11:00 Sydney, 13:00 Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Join the Flat Connections Virtual Conference (June 18-20, 2014)

It’s just two weeks until I fly out for the Flat Connections Conference in Sydney! As much as I’d love to see everyone there in person, this is one of the few conferences which you can attend virtually, and I hope you can join us online – for FREE!

You can find out more details, and sign up for the Virtual Conference (even as a team member!) at http://tinyurl.com/flatsydney, and the virtual kickoff meeting is happening early next week, on June 8/9, depending on your timezone.

For more details about the conference, I highly recommend the official website – http://www.flatconnections.com/sydney-2014.html.

If you’re in Sydney, and would like to meet up, tweet @mgraffin / @gcporganisers. I’m looking forward to meeting a few long-time friends there!

Growing Up Global – Is it changing our students? – the #globalclassroom Chats (May 10/11)

Thankyou to @beachcat11 who is helping organise the chats this month, and provided our topic.

“Men often hate each other because they fear each other;

they fear each other because they don’t know each other;

they don’t know each other because they can not communicate;

they can not communicate because they are separated.”

~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

What do you think?

“Global Computer Networking” courtesy of cuteimage / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I first read these words, I immediately started wondering: Our kids aren’t separated in the same way any more. So will our students’ ability to connect and collaborate on a global scale eventually help to reduce human conflicts and overcome such hate and fear? Will students who regularly communicate and form relationships with students of different cultures and lifestyles become any more tolerant and understanding than those who don’t?

Our students are clearly ‘growing up global’ in a connected world — where those of us in North America regularly chat with others already in “tomorrow”, where inspiring Korean commercials can be viewed on YouTube around the world, and global projects like the Travelling Rhino project see students in classrooms around the world all working to help solve the very same issue.

As educators create and conduct more and more new global activities and projects, and as we invite world-wide student participation and collaboration, what are we learning about the effects they are having on our students’ values and beliefs? Am I just acting on some blind belief or vague assumption that these things are good for my students?? Or is there some solid body of evidence which proves this is true? What can we do to monitor and provide evidence of what is happening as a result of these global connections — if indeed, there even is any change?!?

They say that when the astronauts sent back pictures of that first human view of Earth from space, it forever changed our collective perception of Planet Earth as “Home”. And I have to wonder: like seeing our planet from space for the very first time, will ‘growing up global’ also leave an indelible mark on the human psyche? Will growing up globally connected help to create a new generation who take it for granted that we are all one connected people who must resolve our differences to work and live together as we journey through space and time on this tiny blue planet?

As our population increases and our access to resources decreases, will growing up global and learning in a connected global classroom make any difference at all to the human ability to overcome fear and hate, and to solve problems together?

What can we do to help make it so?

There are no magic answers, no miraculous methods to overcome the problems we face, just the familiar ones:  an honest search for understanding, education, organization, and action …inspired by the hope of a brighter future.

~~Noam Chomsky

 

Discussion Questions

Please join us as we discuss these issues in our next #globalclassroom chats –  this weekend!

Q1. In what global activities have your and your students participated?

Q2. What did you hope your students would gain from participating in them? Were attitudes and beliefs are an expressed part of your goal?

Q3. Did you observe any evidence of changes in your students’ attitudes and beliefs about different cultures? If so, how?

Q4. As global educators, how can we contribute to the collective knowledge and research about the effects of connected learning?

 

Schedule

Chat 1 ~ Saturday, May 10th, 10:00 – 11:00 UTC

  • 11:00 London, 12:00 (noon) Cape Town, 15:30 New Delhi, 18:00 Perth, 20:00 Sydney, 22:00 Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Chat 2 ~ Saturday, May 10th, 18:00 – 19:00 UTC

  • 11:00 Los Angeles, 14:00 New York, 19:00 London, 20:00 Cape Town, 06:00 SUNDAY – Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Chat 3 ~ Sunday, May 11th, 01:00 – 02:00 UTC (Saturday in N & S America!)

  • Saturday night – 18:00 Los Angeles, 21:00 New York
  • Sunday – 06:30 New Dehli, 09:00 Perth, 11:00 Sydney, 13:00 Auckland
  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Building Global Partnerships: Part 3 – Developing Intercultural Understanding

A little while ago, we came across a thought provoking blog post from Jennifer Klein, exploring the sometimes complicated, but rewarding world of global connections and collaboration.

With Jennifer’s permission, we are re-publishing the post as a three part series, with the intention of starting a conversation with the wider #globalclassroom community. We hope you will take the time to read through, and share your answers to our reflection questions in the comments below.

If you missed the earlier posts, you will find Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. This is the third and final post.

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photo credit: A30_Tsitika via photopin cc

Remember that communication will take patience and inter-cultural skills, particularly in cases where teachers don’t share a common language.  

While language differences can slow down the initial steps in a global partnership, teachers have an opportunity to develop–and model–the kinds of inter-cultural communication skills needed for culturally-responsive global engagement.  By making use of local expertise–among colleagues, students and parents–we can help spotlight the gift of foreign language proficiency among members of our community, and can help students see the value of learning another language in real terms.  By testing (rather than avoiding) the technological tools available for translation, we can also help students become more discerning about their value and better at identifying accuracies.

My suggestion is usually that teachers communicate in their native language and use resources (people, translators, etc.) to understand what they receive, but there is great value in trying and practising your partner’s language as well–and there is little more valuable for young language learners than seeing the example of adult learners taking risks with a new language.

Be thoughtful about how you handle inter-cultural and personality differences that pose challenges along the way.  

Other nuances of communication can also pose challenges, and differences of tone and communication style can often cause more difficulty than pure language use.  I’ve seen teachers from culturally aggressive countries inadvertently offend teachers from more culturally submissive regions, I’ve seen teachers from “nice” cultures politely agree to things they have no intention of doing, and I’ve seen teachers from argumentative cultures create conflict without meaning to.  The best advice I can give is to be transparent.

To meet in a face-to-face setting like Skype can be a huge help, but more importantly transparency means letting your partner teacher know when you hit a road bump.  Try to engage in dialogue rather than avoid confrontation if you’re struggling with an element of the project or communication–let your partner know if you’re bad at answering emails around exam times, let them know how you respond to stress.  Just as we want our students to lean into discomfort and learn to collaborate effectively in spite of–perhaps even because of–our differences, we need to do the same ourselves.

Read what’s out there and learn from what others have tried; more progress happens when we stop reinventing the wheel.  

There are far too many good publications for global educators to list them all, but I’ll name a few I’ve been exploring lately–and liking.  I hope readers will add to the list by commenting about books, articles and other resources worth exploring.

Books:

Blogs:

  • Suzie Boss (Regular Edutopia blogger with expertise in Project-Based Learning who often shares stories of successful global partnerships and projects)
  • Silvina Tolisano’s “Langwitches” (Varied Global and Educational Technology Topics from a Classroom Practitioner, The Graded School, Brazil)
  • Kristen Goggin’s “Stories from the Garage” (Global PBL in Middle School Math from a Classroom Practitioner, Town School for Boys, California)

World Water Day 2014 – March #globalclassroom chats & Projects

WWD_2014_logo_EN

This coming weekend marks the celebration of World Water Day 2014, held on March 22 each year, and it promises to be a wet weekend at The Global Classroom Project.

1) World Water Day International LinoIt Project 2014

For the past three years, the WWD LinoIt Project has given students around the world the opportunity to share their thoughts, photos, and experiences of water conservation with the wider world.

This year’s project will run from March 19-25, and will be jointly hosted by Class 5, from School 1302 in Moscow, Russia and Robyn Thiessen’s Grade 4/5 class in Canada. We are also looking forward to working with Project Purus, who are raising to provide clean water for school children in Nepal. 

Please bookmark the 2014 LinoIt and share with your class using this link – http://bit.ly/worldwaterday2014.

2) March #globalclassroom Chats – March 22/23

See the UN World Water Day website for more!

Discussion Questions

  1. What does water mean to you and your community?
  2. What global water issues are you aware of, or experiencing in your country?
  3. What opportunities can we provide our students to take action on water issues in their local region?
  4. Can students raise awareness and make a real difference globally? Can you share some examples?
  5. What activities and teaching resources would you recommend for exploring World Water Day issues with your class?

Schedule

Please double check the time in your region, particularly if you have recently moved to/from DST

Chat 1 ~ Saturday, March 22, 10:00 – 11:00 UTC

  • 10:00 London, 12:00 Cape Town, 15:30 New Delhi, 18:00 Perth, 21:00 Sydney (AEDT), 23:00 Auckland

  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Chat 2 ~ Saturday, March 22, 18:00 – 19:00 UTC

  • 11:00 Los Angeles, 14:00 New York, 18:00 London, 20:00 Cape Town, 07:00 SUNDAY – Auckland

  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Chat 3 ~ Sunday, March 23, 02:00 – 03:00 UTC (Saturday in N & S America!)

  • Saturday night – 18:00 Los Angeles, 21:00 New York

  • Sunday – 06:30 New Dehli, 9:00 Perth, 12:00 Sydney, 14:00 Auckland

Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

Building Global Partnerships – Part 2: Taking the Time

A little while ago, we came across a thought provoking blog post from Jennifer Klein, exploring the sometimes complicated, but rewarding world of global connections and collaboration. With Jennifer’s permission, we are re-publishing the post as a three part series, with the intention of starting a conversation with the wider #globalclassroom community. We hope you will take the time to read through, and share your answers to our reflection questions in the comments below.

Part 1 of the series is published here

PART 2

Don’t expect immediate success–deep, constructive global relationships require a marathon, not a sprint.  

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photo credit: kaneda99 via photopin cc

The challenges of global partnerships are many, and teachers have to develop the same inter-cultural skills as they hope to foster in their students in order to be successful.  The learning curve can be long–and that means global partnerships are rarely efficient, easy to organize, or completely successful the first time around.  The worst thing you can do, however, is jump from partner to partner in search of the “perfect” pairing–the best partnerships are rarely perfect to begin with. 

The moral of the story is to work at it, to think of the partnership as a long-term relationship which will improve with time and effort, and to expect things to be messy for the first year or two.  Whether it’s navigating time zone differences (east to west), school year differences (north to south), trouble-shooting differences in technological access, or just trying to communicate regularly and well, you can expect this relationship to take effort–and to get richer and deeper as you put in that effort.

It’s essential to accept the limitations of technology and work within its potential, but it’s also important to think beyond technology as well.  Global communication and relationships reach their deepest level through in-person experiences–and no matter how much technology has done for the global educational field, it will never replace the value of international travel for teachers and students with relationship-oriented organizations such as World Leadership School.  Whether this is a teacher traveling to connect personally with their partner teacher(s) or students traveling to connect their communities, there is no question that deep relationships–especially on the level of sister schools–require more than email and Skype calls.

Keep your expectations realistic in year one–consider small successes, significant successes, and build something bigger from there.  

It’s reasonable to say that most teachers go into global partnerships expecting too much their first time around, largely because the prospect of a global collaboration is so exciting and we have trouble controlling ourselves.  Much of the time, however, when teachers try to accomplish too much too quickly, they leave the topics students find most relevant.  By creating a space for less content- or standards-driven dialogue about favorite movies or day-to-day life, we can help build the foundations for much deeper dialogue later by helping kids see what they have in common. Bigger successes and deeper virtual events on global issues and perspectives might come later, but small successes count in the meantime.

Just knowing how to connect Skype doesn’t mean there will be a deep and meaningful dialogue between classrooms; in fact, navigating the awkward silences and discomfort of the first few Skype sessions is often what turns new teachers away from global education. I’ve seen huge, high-tech global events go to heck in a hand basket on million dollar equipment, and I’ve seen a no-budget Facetime call change students’ lives.  Remember that deep global experiences aren’t about fancy technologies and big events–they’re usually about small accidental moments which occurred because the teachers created the right context for dialogue and didn’t push the kids too far too fast.

I’ve had many experiences where a simple, seemingly innocuous question in a video conference drew out something meaningful and helped students connect with the world authentically; if you’re hungry for examples, see “Creating the Conditions for Accidental Learning: Dialogue with Syrians, Palestinians, Canadians… and Wookies.”

Consider building smaller experiences and “one-offs” with individuals to fill the gaps while deeper partnerships develop. 

Sometimes it makes best sense to supplement the developing partnership with a few Skype sessions with relevant individuals who can help to take the conversation deeper.  People all over the world are involved in creating change in their homes, schools, communities and beyond, and most are so passionate that they’re thrilled to engage with classrooms and inspire the next generation to become leaders in their fields.  Especially in the first few years of developing a deeper partnership with a classroom or school, these one-off experiences can really help globalize the dialogue in your classroom immediately, and speakers can be found in non-profits, non-governmental organizations, and even your alumni directory.

Particularly among higher-level teachers, I’ve noticed a tendency default to Skyping with semi-famous or major “experts” in a given field, and this makes sense when an expert can answer student-generated questions better than a young person can.  However, I’ve found that sometimes more important connections happen when kids get to meet an individual who’s closer to their age and not yet considered important for their efforts.  For example, I often connect classrooms with Yasser Alaa Mobarak, a young Egyptian photographer who has done a great deal of work with iEARN.  He shares his photography, talks about what he hopes viewers will see, answers questions from the kids, and then invites students to continue the photographic dialogue and sharing in a private group he’s set up on Facebook.  Honestly, no number of experts in Middle Eastern politics could ever impact kids as much as just one of Yasser’s photographs because they’re real, raw, and relevant.  Most importantly, connecting with someone like Yasser demonstrates that young people don’t have to be famous to make a difference through their individual efforts and passions.

Reflection Questions

  1. How can we best share our experiences to support new and emerging global educators, so they learn from our mistakes?
  2. What advice would you give to an educator / colleague starting out on their global journey?
  3. Can you share anecdotes / stories of how small incidental questions have led to unexpected global learning outcomes?
  4. Would you be interested in being mentored by an experienced global educator? Or would you be happy to be a mentor for another international teacher? (See the Global Classroom Mentoring Project)

“Delving beyond the tip of the iceberg” #globalclassroom chats (Feb 22/23)

As global educators, we are faced with the challenge, and incredible opportunity, of rethinking how we teach and learn about other cultures, religions, and countries.

In the words of Australian blogger and inquiry educator Edna Sackson (@whatedsaid);  

“Culture is often compared to an iceberg which has both visible and invisible parts. The tip of the iceberg represents the elements of culture which we can see, such as food, language and customs. Those elements which are less obvious, such as values, beliefs and worldview, comprise the much larger portion of the iceberg underwater.”

… By starting with the human qualities, finding what we have in common, we can more easily relate to and connect with people of different cultures.

(June 13, 2010, Retrieved from http://whatedsaid.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/below-the-tip-of-the-iceberg/)

With the help of online technologies and education networks, it is now possible for teachers and students to connect, learn, share, and collaborate beyond their classroom walls. By building bridges through this ‘global classroom’, we can empower our students to delve beyond the traditional ‘meet n greet’ or ‘cultural exchanges; and start to develop meaningful personal relationships with other children around the world. We need to break the ice … and go beyond the tip of the iceberg. But, how?

And its time to return to this question in the February #globalclassroom chats.

Discussion Questions

1) How do we define culture? What aspects of culture are suitable for inquiry?

2) How do we start to build trust and relationships between international partners which endure over time?

3) What learning opportunities foster discussions about similarities and differences across cultures?

4) Can you provide examples (projects, blog posts) which demonstrate the power of delving beyond Flags, Food, and Festivals?

Times and Schedule

Join Michael Graffin for the 9:00 GMT  Keynote at the OZeLive Conference, immediately prior to #globalclassroom chat 1.

Chat 1 ~ Saturday, February 22nd, 10:00 – 11:00 UTC

  • 10:00 London, 12:00 (noon) Cape Town, 15:30 New Delhi, 18:00 Perth, 21:00 Sydney, 23:00 Auckland

  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

 

Chat 2 ~ Saturday, February 22nd, 18:00 – 19:00 UTC

  • 10:00 Los Angeles, 13:00 New York, 18:00 London, 20:00 Cape Town, 07:00 SUNDAY – Auckland

  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.

 

Chat 3 ~ Sunday, February 23rd, 01:00 – 02:00 UTC (Saturday in N & S America!)

  • Saturday night – 17:00 Los Angeles, 20:00 New York

  • Sunday – 06:30 New Dehli, 09:00 Perth, 12:00 Sydney, 14:00 Auckland

  • Click here to find out when this is in YOUR timezone.