Digital Literacy & Global Competency
Global citizenship must walk hand-in-hand with digital literacy/citizenship. With technology so prevalent in all parts of society our students must learn to navigate the uncertain and constantly changing landscape of online participation. The global competencies are supported on a foundation that requires good digital citizenship. The projectlooksharp.org article did an excellent job of outlining in a very concise and simple way the many aspects of digital citizenship and how our understanding of what we learn from online sources, how we judge them and their validity and how important it is for us to be educated before we use information we find or put our media and content out there. The video Examining Credibility and Bias on Websites is an excellent example of how teachers can facilitate student learning by allowing students to use their own deductive reasoning skills to recognize how people can easily skew information for their own purposes, and also how to recognize reliable sources. I have already shared this resource with my colleagues.
My school has been a one-to-one laptop school for almost 12 years. In that time we have experienced many, if not all, of the possible pitfalls and downfalls that teachers and students can experience when trying to incorporate digital literacy and Technology into our lesson and unit plans. I'm sure, if you asked a cross section of the teachers at my school what their feelings are about having so much technology at our fingertips, many would roll their eyes and groan as the journey has been wrought with so many ups and downs. By now, however, most have settled in and figured out which technological opportunities and digital tools are best suited for his or her particular curriculum.
I appreciate the wisdom of the capital SAMR model. It is so easy to fall into the trap of, “Get out your laptops and take notes.” I have learned over the years that students want to explore and that I need to let them. It has taken me years to figure out many of the software applications and platforms that my students use regularly in my classroom. It took great bravery the first time I asked students to make an iMovie about a particular topic, knowing full-well that I had no clue how to make an iMovie myself. I was delighted to learn that I didn't have to know. Given the opportunity, the students took on the task and figured it out all by themselves. (One thing I learned about the movies… one must limit the length of the final project, otherwise you will have full-length motion pictures turned in. Not such a bad problem to have, I guess, but upgrading them is a bear.)
When I run into issues, such as needing more bandwidth (and I still have no idea what bandwidth is) to accomplish something or a file being too large to email, (the list could go on for days), I am forced to find the people at my school who have the answers to these problems. As colleagues we help each other and learn from each other in a continuous ebb and flow of assistance and ideas
I have become a huge proponent of project-based learning. One trick that I have discovered that works very well with students is to create a hypothetical situation that the students need to solve. For example, in one of my social justice units I have created a company that is trying to come up with a way to provide a village with clean water. My students must research the area using online search tools and databases from our Library to determine what water sources are now being used in the Village and what options might be available to improve the situation. Using MLA format and noodletools.com to help with that formatting, students must cite all of their sources, come up with a plan of action, establish a budget, determine how the work will be done and by whom, and create a wiki project site to demonstrate their new knowledge. They use Google Docs to collaborate throughout their research and before posting finished work in the Wiki project. Of course, I have access to all of this technology so that, as they work ,I can keep track of what they're doing, post comments along the way, and to grade the final project. The small groups are required to present their wiki project in front of class and we often video that presentation to be shown to the entire junior high at a later date. In the past we have had a contest and the group that comes up with the best and most economical plan to bring water to this village wins a casual day and donuts in class.
Digital citizenship is taught beginning in about the third grade through our English department and our library services department. Students and teachers use a digital learning platform called Haiku, on which teachers can create digital tests, games, textbooks and other content for student use. Useful information to remind students and help them navigate the uncertain and often confusing world of digital content online is posted here. This platform also provides a digital portfolio into which students can upload their work, which can be accessed throughout their high school years and presented in student-led parent conferences and college interviews.
Needless to say, we are blessed. Schools that do not have these advantages, however, can access online platforms that operate in much the same way and offer similar advantages. (See below links) I was happy to see many of them in the Sara Krakauer interview written by Emily Lester. As I mentioned before we often have to just be brave, dive in and trust that our students can figure out the technologies that we can't even begin to wrap our brains around.
https://www.edmodo.com : a free platform for teachers and students very similar to haiku mentioned above. We used to this platform exclusively before our school purchased haiku. Some of us wish we had never changed as Edmodo.com offers much bang 40 bucks.
http://www.emergingedtech.com/2014/12/25-ways-to-use-qr-codes-for-teaching-learning/ : only a few ways to use QR codes on your campus and in your lesson plans.
Culture? What's that?
My students hear the terms global citizenship and globally competent often, beginning from the first day they enter my class. Since I teach social justice as a part of my curriculum, I frame global citizenship as a way for us and all people to recognize, take responsibility for, and understand that we are each called to make the world a better place. From the lens of social justice and human rights that responsibility usually falls under our Christian responsibility to sure that all people are treated justly, and have what they need to live a happy, healthy, an sustainable life, no matter where on this planet they happen to live. Social justice themes of the Catholic Church are very explicit and teach that each person on this planet is a citizen of the world and humanity, regardless of what country, tribe, religion, socioeconomic standing, etc. etc. The Church's teachings focus on making special options for the poor and vulnerable, the assurance that people can move and live wherever they choose for what ever reason, that workers rights are assured, that humans have responsibilities to participate in local, regional, and national debates and politics to make sure that all people are assured their basic human rights. The church also teaches that it is our responsibility— all human beings — to take care of this planet. So these precepts begin my students’ understanding of the world.
I quickly tie in cultures, similarities and differences, otherness, and project after project in my classroom we explore different countries and their cultures to get a better understanding of how people live in other parts of the world. I frame the word culture as the traditions, Celebrations, Beliefs, music, Artistic expression, and stories that are beloved in each country to each person individually. Culture should not be thought of in stereotypical terms. Culture is a montage of who we are as a people and by learning about cultures in other parts of the world our understanding and appreciation of the people themselves is deepened and enriched.
As I ruminate on the videos and articles we have read for this weeks lesson, I must first address the two TedTalks. First, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain was eloquent as he explained that people do not have to give up their national pride or their dedication to their nation in order to become a global citizen. His explanations of the many, many ways countries must be globally competent in order to take on the huge issues, such as climate change and nuclear proliferation and terrorism, poverty and inequality, made a case for how important it is for all nations to come together and to be globally competent global citizens before it's too late. PM Brown explained, “So, you've got to have a healthy sense of patriotism; that's absolutely important. But you've got to realize that this world has changed fundamentally, and the problems we have cannot be solved by one nation and one nation alone.”
Hugh Evans TedTalk, “What does it mean to be a citizen of the world?” Was so moving that he made me cry. (And that doesn't happen very often!!) His passion in his years and years of working so hard to explain global citizenship to the world was one of the most inspiring stories I've ever heard. But as he talked I could not help but think that teachers need to come together and bond by the same passion for global competency and human rights. I'm sure that within the membership of his multinational organization there are teachers. But since our educational system is in such dire straits and in need of a major reorganization and overhaul, if the teachers, (probably dragging administration along kicking and screaming,) could organize in such away that our voices would be collective, our passion evident, our determination so strong that even the highest educational Directors in Washington would not be able to quiet our roar, real, positive change could be achieved. I am skeptical that a few passionate teachers like us will be able to do much in our individual schools to create that much passion and determination. But if we, all of us and the alums who have already been through this program band together with a directed effort to change the minds of the powers that be, we might be able to bring about some positive change. Surely, we would need voices who could preach it from the mountaintops, inspiring with every word and syllable, and who could communicate effectively the power and enlightenment of understanding and accepting multiple perspectives, all the while creating a sense of wonder and curiosity about our world that will inspire the same in others and create within them the passion to want to take action in our world, but more immeditely in our schools.
On the downside, I disagree strongly with many points in the Washington Post article. “A global community or citizenry cannot exist, because to love everyone and everything is to love nobody and nothing.” Are you kidding me? This writer has some serious issues and was not very convincing in his argument against global citizenship. I could speak for days about the negative tone of this article but by the time he said, "According to a global-citizenship education guide issued by Oxfam, it is important to teach students that the world is unfair and unequal, and that they can and need to change it. Those terms are, by and large, empty vessels to be filled by the holder of power or the ideological flavor du jour, but most often they refer to a version of the argument that the North is richer than the South and this social injustice (another common term) must be addressed,” I was seething. I searched for some redeeming factors, but since his views were so opposed to mine, I just gave up. Lastly, his jab about Global citizens knowing to only drink fair trade coffee lattes sent me over the edge. Yes he has his right his opinions, However, they were not opinions with which I agree.
I will end this post with a question about this national (specifically designed for US education system) teacher movement to bombard, convince, and insist that global education and global competencies be taught in all schools so that our students will be prepared for jobs that don't even exist yet and will most certainly be multinational positions that will demand globally competent individuals to take on those challenges… Yes, I realize that wasn't a question. The question is : Can we do it? Is that what this is all about? Are we the movement? Or, I guess I should say, are we the tiny flicker of the movement? I'll be interested to hear your comments.
What is "Glocal?"
I cannot express how honored I feel to have been chosen to participate in the Teachers for Global Classrooms Fellowship. We are only in our third week of the coursework and already my understanding of the global citizenship and global competency is evolving.
Learning to use the digital dictation software on my computer has been a challenge, but I am finally getting the hang of it and realize that proofreading is essential before posting anything. Last week, as I was dictating quietly while my students worked independently, one student asked, "Mrs. Schuster may I go to the restroom?" And I responded. "Yes, but be sure to come right back." As I proofread my discussion post for that week's assignment, those exact words had typed themselves into my lengthy discourse about global competency. It was both comical and frightening. I will now proofread every word.
This week we are looking at our local community and/or nation to better understand the term "Glocal." One of our readings was fascinating and very enlightening. Here is the link if you would like to check it out.
The following is my discussion post response to that article.
I am repeatedly drawn back to the global competencies of being able to effectively communicate thoughts and ideas and having the ability to recognize, appreciate and understand multiple perspectives. Yes, a globally competent person explores and investigates the world and takes action to make the world a better place. But if we first cannot communicate our ideas or grasp multiple perspectives our investigations and desire to take action we'll fall short and be ill-informed.
I was moved, in many ways, by this week’s readings, especially the segment from, In My Father’s House: the African Philosophy of Culture, and Cosmopolitan Patriots by Kuwame Appiah. His father's sentiments to remember that we are all citizens of the world and that we should “be a great lover of mankind, to have an abiding desire to see mankind, under God, and fulfill its highest destiny” in me a sense of hope, as all profound statements should do.
As I moved along in the readings, my understanding of the United States grew. I recognize that so many of the, let's call them European descendent Americans, react to immigration and the influx and multitude of different cultural ideas, religious ideologies, etc., that they don't understand and have no desire to understand, comes from a place of fear. Fear of losing their majority, fear of the unknown, fear of losing control, fear of change, and from a place of isolationist desires and ignorance. This group of Americans does indeed want an American culture, a fantasy tribe, defined by them, that every American must abide by, accept, and profess, of shared values, beliefs and ideals. They fail and have no interest in appreciating or understanding any other perspectives, much less multiple perspectives. They feel threatened by change and have cemented their ideas of what America should be on a foundation of fear. This resistance to even recognize other perspectives limits their ability to communicate effectively, thereby creating walls of resistance.
Appiah’s explanation that, “our democratic traditions require us to engage respectfully with our fellow citizens who disagree with us,” supports his assertion that America's political values should have a weight of their own. By focusing our attention, not on my fantasy culture, but on our political values we can then accept and abide by its laws, debate our differences and come to a better understanding of our country as a whole embracing its uniqueness and upholding the political values on which we can all agree.
TGC week 2
My understanding of global competency is evolving and changing by the minute as I read and process the resources we are using in the TGC program. The EdUtopia article, “A Look Inside the Global Classroom,” was especially interesting as it outlined the skills that globally competent students must have to succeed in the 21st-century and beyond emphasize the use of case studies and project-based learning to explore different aspects of our world. I was impressed yet again that an appreciation of cultural differences and an ability to understand and consider multiple perspectives were listed at the top
of their most important skills. I believe that these two skills must precede and be embraced before a depth of understanding of our World and its complexities can be achieved. When I think of a child developing his or her global competency from early childhood through12th grade, I recognize that helping young children develop the cultural appreciation and multiple perspective understanding is a key building block for a well-rounded older student. https://www.edutopia.org/blog/look-inside-classroom-of-future-dana-mortenson
In the article, Call to Global Citizenship Education, guest blogger William Gaudelli, impressed me with his complex understanding of global competency through the lens and our misunderstandings of time. I will actually have to re-read that section of the article many times and contemplate the fullness of its meaning as its complexities were a bit over my head. His use of Martin Luther King's quote, "All life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly...before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you've depended on more than half of the world,” reminds me that the need for global competency is nothing new. Instead, in our country especially, our education system has chosen to put its resources and focus in other directions, such as an unhealthy attachment to testing and more testing, depriving our students of the much needed and essential skills that will take them into and help them succeed in the 22nd century. I love Kings quote so much, I may have to use it at the end of all of my emails.(I collect quotes and use them often to remind me that wisdom is offered to us from those who have gone before us. All we need to do is be open to it when crosses our path.) https://www.edutopia.org/blog/look-inside-classroom-of-future-dana-mortenson
The Dan Rather interview was very interesting. I am aware of how other countries, such as, Finland and Thailand, have transformed their educational systems and are doing such a wonderful job preparing their students. I recognize their dedication to global competency education, but one cannot ignore that a huge reason for their excellence is that they only accept the most highly qualified teachers. They have made great strides in changing and improving the perception of the teaching profession. Teachers are now honored for their contributions to forming the whole child and preparing students, not only academically, but in life skills and the pursuit of personal fulfillment and happiness. These school systems help students recognize their own talents and gifts and discern which career path best suits their abilities and personality. Every child is not suited for college or white collar professions. These countries embrace the artistic trades and have raised what we often referred to as blue-collar jobs to the realm of craftsmanship expertise. I am not sure how they have managed this transformation in understanding, but I applaud their efforts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtYszdSU1Yg
The Department of Education's International Affairs Office article seemed a bit simplistic to me, but I recognize that it is only a small part of a website. I will take more time to explore the whole site. However, their Framework for Developing Global and Cultural Competency illustrated in the article seem to be a good starting point. Its emphasis, once again, on cultural understanding and developing skills to recognize multiple perspectives meshes well with the other viewpoints.https://sites.ed.gov/international/global-and-cultural-competency/
I am left with many questions, including: Would our educational system benefit more from one overall plan of action, or the development of a curricula that everyone can easily use in their schools and classrooms? Or is it better to allow state or local school systems to develop their own global competency curricula, taking into consideration their demographics, geographical location and diversity, etc.? I do not work in public education, but I can see how developing one plan of action for all schools might turn into a huge mess. Much to ponder. Also, how can we as Americans who have long been focused on every child going to college change our perception of the artistic and craftmanship trades?