Monday, July 19, 2010

Global education

“Providing relevant and engaging global content and connections, schools can both improve scores on required standardized tests (U.S.) and give students global knowledge, skills and perspectives that will be important in the 21st century.” (Curriculum 21, Jacobs)

Connecting with classrooms across the world by collaborative writing, problem solving, debating, multi-media production and sharing, skype, wikis, blogs etc. have the potential to make global and cultural education come alive in our classrooms. We need to give our students the skills, attitudes and knowledge to compete, connect, collaborate, create and cooperate. Part of the challenge in this for classroom teachers is making the connections with teachers and classrooms on-line. Many options are available for this such as skype in schools, teachers4twitter, facebook for teachers, meetup. classroom 2.0, e-pals, takingitglobal, kiva, etc. Sites like the have a myriad of options for learning and connecting with different organizations such as NASA.

In Jacobs' book, they list the global trends affecting education today. They are:

1. Economic- the rise of India, China, Brazil, Russia and others as major economic and educational players on the world scene and the connecting of the world with fiber optics and wireless communication (The World is Flat, Friedman).

2. Science and technology- global collaboration in science and technology. The best example is “innocentive” which is a site that harnesses brainpower to solve problems in science and technology. One year innocentive gave a $1 000 000 payment for the scientist working on a project on Lou Gehrig’s disease. Interestingly solvers for innocentive were more successful when they had less experience in the relevant discipline (Crowdsourcing, Howe).

3. Demographics- the increasing numbers of ethnic group immigration such as Hispanic, Asian, etc. into Europe and North America.

4. Security and citizenship- the rising importance of security and citizenship in a changing world.

5. Educational- the changing face of education due to global forces. For example, 50% of U.S. high school students study a foreign language.

Whatever the curricular topic in our classrooms, we need to ask our students to look at things globally and to connect, collaborate and compete.

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