Global Education

The end of my school’s academic year is barely a month away, and I’m looking in two directions. Firstly, backwards, to the recent past of learning, planning, collaborating, failing and succeeding (probably in equal measures). Secondly, forwards, to the future: the next academic year and beyond. Looking back at the previous sentence I realise it won’t sound as good as Buzz Lightyear’s mighty line but, hey.

So what does the future contain?

Image by fss8info (flickr)

The 2012 Horizon report is yet to be released; however, its recently published communique repeatedly uses the word “global” in its overview. The preview highlights ten areas in which education and learning are being most consistently affected, focusing on “truly international” trends in technology.

The references to “a rise in informal learning” (#9) and the creative solutions to “challenges of access” (#7) particularly capture my attention. If I am to step into my next academic year, and step into the future with my students, I want to connect them with other students around the world. If it is to be a truly “global” collaboration, I believe it to be more beneficial that they connect with as wide a variety of learners as possible.

A long-distance 'thank you'. Image: my own

One of the first steps will be to consider where global collaboration is needed. This year I’ve taken encouragement from students making connections beyond their immediate world. This has been achieved through their blogging, as well as the opportunities for community interaction that our school provides.

Earlier this year a connection was forged from an unexpected need. My Grade 11 class were studying the novel ‘Purple Hibiscus’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. After several discussions and arguments regarding the correct pronunciation of characters’ names, we decided to find out for ourselves. One student emailed the author, another conducted online research, and I emailed a colleague’s contact at a school in Nigeria. Despite not using email, the teacher painstakingly handwrote each name phonetically. This was scanned by the school principal and sent to us. In return, my class created and signed a ‘thank you’ card representing the purple hibiscus flower. This small exchange changed the way the student interacted with the text: suddenly there was meaning beyond the page, and a need to reach out to another country.

For effective global collaboration, not just connection, I would draw upon Kim Cofino‘s comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide to Global Collaborations. I also intend to make the most of the extraordinary range of international events that my school is hosting next year. Students can learn so much from each other, just as there is so much I can learn from colleagues around the globe.

Further reading (viewing!): watch an excellent conversation with Alan November: The Myths and Opportunities for Technology in the Classroom (New Learning Institute on Vimeo). His points about the student as a contributor to the community resonate with me.

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3 Responses to Global Education

  1. What a fantastic example of connected learning. I think most of these types of global collaborations will come out naturally from our established relationships and our curriculum. This is a great example of how connected learning doesn’t have to be forced, but can make learning so much more powerful and meaningful. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Chie Mizukoshi says:

    Hi Madeline,
    I always thank for your beautiful post, whose subject I am particularly interested in. In my every day life, I feel that global connection/collaboration/ education is much more real than what was 10 years ago.

    Even without any e-mail devices, there are ways to reach out to other countries/people, and thanks to those ways we could get connected and learned each other.

    Your point made through your students’ passions finding the correct pronunciation of characters is the whole point that what a real global communication means to us.

  3. Grace Yamato says:

    What a great example of global collaboration from your own experience. Thanks for sharing. I also appreciate you taking the time to give your reader’s more sites to look at in order to learn more. I will definitely bookmark Kim’s Step-by-Step Guide to Global Collaboration for me to look at in depth. Thanks for the tips.

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