Going Global Goal - My Thoughts Confirmed at ISTE!

Some time ago I posted about my new goal for technology in our district - that of "Tearing Down the Walls" of our campus and using technological tools to connect our students to others outside our building. That theme resonated loud and clear at this year's ISTE conference.


On Monday I was fortunate to hear Alan November speak about "global empathy." Alan stressed that we need to teach our students to take a more global perspective when looking at issues. He stressed the importance of students needing to know how to search the internet for sites created in other countries to gain different view of important ideas. (By the way, it as easy as entering a text string and then sites:followed by a countries two character code and here's a list of country codes.)


My favorite quote from Alan during his talk was "wshould connect students to real people on the ground when things happen rather than letting them get filtered information." (See this great video about filtered searches that Alan showed us.) Alan often asks teachers, "What countries connect to your curriculum" - getting them to begin thinking about how to connect kids to firsthand resources outside their four walls. Furethermore, he stressed that these global connections should be happening in every grade level in every subject area.


Then on Wednesday, I got to see these ideas in action. Two great elementary teachers, Linda Yollis from the U.S. and Kathleen Morris from Australia have joined their classes and others together through blogging. Their fascinating journey stared when Linda stumbled across Kathleen's class blog and left a comment. That simple act led to a great international relationships with kids connecting to kids around the globe.


To me, their most impressive project (among many impressive projects) was a fundraising effort for students in Uganda called the Uganda Global Project. Together with several other classes, they raised $20,000 for students in Uganda (who were also involved in the project). It's an incredible example of what's possible when we hook kids up globally and use technology in meaningful and engaging ways.


I'm so ready to tear down some walls!

Image from: http://www.joeyrodgers.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/going_global.jpg

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