A few months ago Julie Lindsay inadvertently started a new meme about a day in the life of a global educator. Silvia Tosolino joined in and tagged me way back when, and somehow, I never found time to post. But, lately I’ve been thinking about that meme… I have a pretty good idea of what a day in the life of a global educator looks like, but what does a day in the life of a global student look like? Or, more importantly, how can we help our students become global learners?
I’m thinking about all of those skills that we, as global educators, use every day: investigating, evaluating communicating, collaborating, creating, and reflecting. How are we incorporating these 21st Century skills into our classrooms to enable our students to be as global as we are? If we are practicing these skills every day, through the use of new and emerging technology, we have to make these tools and skills readily accessible to our students.
So, my new philosophy is this: If these tools help me learn, then most likely they will also help my students. Therefore, if these tools are a seamless part of my daily routines, then they should also be a seamless part of my students’ daily routines. As Justin and Dennis, so eloquently described in their curriculum 2.0: “It is our goal in developing an integrated curriculum to ensure that the way students learn with technology agrees with the way they live with technology.” What benefits us, can also benefit them, but they may need to be taught how. Sure, they all know myspace, but do they know how to develop a personal learning environment with their own blog?
So I’ve started changing my daily classroom routines over the last few months, but I still have a long way to go. Next on the list is social networking – if I’m benefiting from using social networks like the Global Education Collaborative, Classroom 2.0, NextGenTeachers, etc to make contacts with other like-minded educators, why shouldn’t my students have a social network to allow them to more easily communicate and connect with their international partners around the world? I’m thinking something like the Horizon Project Ning – a protected community, allowing only those who have been invited to participate, to keep the students safe (sometimes I get “friend” invites on Ning from very strange sources).
Certainly my blog will always be my hub, and maybe as adults, these networks (or groups or whatever) are not quite as important, but what about students that don’t have an audience on their blog and that don’t really understand, yet, how to develop readership? Or what about students that are blogging for school, but haven’t made the connection to their personal life yet? A Ning network might be a great way to open communication in a safe, easy environment that would allow students to explore not only blogging, but also sharing media, discussion forums, and those connections that naturally arise from putting yourself “out there.”
Today I asked my students if they would like to connect more with other students around the world. They answered with a resounding “yes!” But when I asked them how they can do that during the summer, without me to set it up, and they had no idea. They need a hub too, but they might not be ready for that on their own. A Ning network might be that perfect intermediary step they need to get started.
Anyone interested in testing it out with me?
Image 1: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/41/91118309_ba65b9806e.jpg
Image 2: http://www.risktaking.co.uk/images/skydivers.jpg