Connecting Across Spaces
Post submitted by whole child blogger Caroline Newton, a sophomore at Temple University. Newton is studying journalism and writes for Jump: The Philly Music Project magazine.
"How can we prepare our learners for the future? How can our learners cultivate global competence?" Heidi Hayes Jacobs of Curriculum21 asked in her ASCD Annual Conference session. The topic of the hour? Connecting the classroom and the school to the global world.
To help students gain this global knowledge, Brandon Wiley of Asia Society introduced the Global Competency Matrix model, which highlights the following principles:
- Investigate the world. Students explore questions of global significance, relating local to global issues.
- Recognize perspective. Students seek to understand their own beliefs before understanding those of others.
- Communicate ideas. Students talk to foreign students and clear up misconceptions and then use that new understanding to spread information.
- Take action. Students are encouraged to take an active role in the society and work to eliminate passiveness.
In addition, content knowledge is crucial for students to make informed decisions about the world. Jacobs and Wiley presented four case studies of schools from around the world that have successfully implemented this approach to global learning.
First, they introduced Instituto San Roberto in Mexico. The school's goal is to create "compassionate and engaged world citizens" by involving teachers, students, and staff in the impoverished community that surrounds the school. Students have already seen results.
Victor, a student of the Instituto San Roberto, took time to video chat with the audience. "It's incredible," he said, "how much students have done in five years to help other people."
At Number One Middle School in China, the students were involved in an experiment called The iPad Program, which replaced textbooks and paper with the tablets.
"What I think is unique [about the program] is the ways our kids are receiving language," said creator Stephan Wilmarth over Skype. "[It's] immersion in information."
The ultimate goal of The iPad Program is for Chinese teens, through the global access that technology allows them, to have the opportunity to travel to the United States for higher education.
At Papatoetoe South Elementary School in New Zealand, Jacobs shared that students are encouraged to explore and be proud of their own heritage. In a place where the Pacifica culture runs deep, Papatoetoe wants its students to explore their own beliefs and perspectives and apply them to the world in which they live.
Porscha, a student of Papatoetoe, explained in a video chat that she is excited to share her Maori heritage with other people, but that she is also excited to learn about other cultures.
Schools in other countries aren’t the only ones exploring this new kind of education; the International School of the Americas in San Antonio, Tex., is making similar moves. Students there work in individual and collaborative projects and are taught from authentic curriculum.
Although connecting globally may seem daunting, presenter Silvia Tolisano said that the best way to get started is to reach out to existing global projects. Tolisano, who was using Skype to present remotely, suggested building personal learning networks through Skype, Twitter, and blogs.
"Personalize the global," Tolisano concluded.
View More Session Presentations
ASCD streamed 21 dynamic sessions live from its 2012 Annual Conference & Exhibit Show, held in Philadelphia, March 24–26. You can now watch the archive of those 21 sessions. The experience includes
- More than 30 hours of content, featuring presenters such as Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Charlotte Danielson, Robyn Jackson, and Doug Reeves. See all sessions.
- Access to Virtual Conference session handouts and resources.
- Interviews with presenters and special guests and commentary from our on-air host and cohost.
- Access to the archived recordings for all sessions until September 2012.
- Social networking activities, points, badges, prizes, and more.
Access the Virtual Conference archive for just $129 for ASCD members and $159 for nonmembers. That's less than $8 per session!