THINK Global School & Virtual Classroom Collaboration
Part of my daily routine at work is browsing through websites of other international schools. This is a good way to sneak in to see what these schools are doing, what kind of activities or new implementations are being worked on. Thanks to the technology for making this at ease experience! What I like about checking other school websites is that I often find ideas or be inspired by what others are doing and can adapt them to what I do at my school. Earlier this week, I came across the website of a school called “Think Global School” (http://thinkglobalschool.org/) and I must say, apart from a nice looking, well-organized website, I am impressed how this new school is shaping itself in all levels to become the 21st century School.
After a quick read through all the pages, I find myself convinced that THINK Global School is the ideal school for the 21st century. Their goal is to “prepare students to create and collaborate in the interconnected world of the 21st century. The school’s unique multicultural experiences will empower them to be the next generation of innovators and leaders”. Reading through the expected experiences that students will receive, I am persuaded that this school will train true global citizens as the students will get to live, study and work in different countries (12 countries, 12 trimesters – they are now in Chiangmai!) throughout their high school education/college preparatory years. In addition, it is interesting how they are outright that they are big on technology and that the use of technology is the crucial ingredient for creating 21st century students. Each student gets equipped with a Macbook pro, Iphone, Ipad and spot (a.k.a. social learning environment…Think portal, blog, calendar, social network etc. all in one!) http://thinkglobalschool.org/academics/technology/
THINK Global claims that they are offering a new model for education, a 21st century curriculum and this comes at a high price tag of 125,000$ a year inclusive of tuition, room and board, and all fees! They strongly advocate the concept of a mobile school and that what they offer is beyond study aboard program as they are turning the world into their students’ classrooms. From a marketer standpoint, the school is targeting a niche market of very wealthy and affluent families from all over the world. This is a good opportunity for students if parents can afford. It is like sending the children to the Ivy League of 21st century.
The reality is not everyone will have that privilege….but there is a cheaper way teachers can do through using technologies to engage students with the opportunities to learn about global issues, cultural differences etc. All these can be done in this digital era through ‘virtual classroom collaboration’. I recently worked with Sharin Tebo, the IT teacher at Berkeley, to put together an article recapping what she does with different grade levels in IT classrooms to promote lifelong learners and global citizens. Read the article to find out how Sharin is using ePals, youtube and some other tech tools to connect Berkeley students with students in the US.