Global Education Day bursts to life at ISTE 2014

GEC collaboration

 

Is global education ready to hit a critical mass in our education systems? If today was any sign, it may not be long.

The fifth annual Global Education Day at ISTE 2014 burst to life with a filled-to-capacity room that overflowed into the hallway with educators eager to connect, share and learn. The fast-paced Ignite sessions and animated roundtable discussions stretched around the world and back as we exchanged ideas, resources and contact information.

As Vicki Davis said in her Ignite session: It not just about 21st century skills, it’s 21st century connections.

Read entire post on the ISTE Connects Blog.

Partnership for Global Learning Conference 2014

 

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Dr. Ed Gragert, Craig Perrier (via Skype), and I leading a session on the Lesson For All, a set K-12 units focused on the right of education and the barriers that youth around the world experience when trying to access that right.

VUCA. Anthony Jackson, Vice President of the Asia Society, introduced the Partnership for Global Learning conference with his view of  world we are living in. VUCA: Volatile,  Uncertain,  Complex, and Ambiguous.  With dynamic world leaders like Dr. Tererai Trent, the conference plenary keynote speaker, we are challenged to look beyond barriers to prepare our students for a VUCA future. Born in Zimbabwe and  denied an education, Dr. Trent went on to earn her PhD and now challenges us all to see: It is achievable.

A couple take-aways from this empowering conference:

  • Columbia University is offering a graduate level certificate for educators called GCC,  Global Competence Certificate. Teachers College, Asia Society PGL and World Savvy are the collaborating partners.
  • Leadership is action and not position (Dr. Trent)
  •  3 major shifts in the Common Core ELA Standards  if we look beyond the controversy (Maryann Woods-Murphy in Making the Shift to Global Content Using Big Ideas)
    • Building knowledge though content rich nonfiction
    • Reading, writing, and speaking & listening grounded in evidence from text, both literary and informational
    • Regular practice with complex text and its academic language
  • Avoid the risk of the single story by offering a variety of viewpoints and perspectives (Woods-Murphy)
  • There are amazing schools leading the way into the VUCA world. Check out the International Social Studies School Network, ISSN.

I have been part of the moment toward empowering our students though global understanding for years… and for the first time, I felt that we as an education system were really starting to see the value and act.

Information on the Lesson For All,  the presentation we did in the photo above, can be found here. I have written posts about it the past, they can be found here, LFA.

‘The Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning annual conference is dedicated to preparing students to be globally competent and ready for college. The event connects educators, business leaders, policymakers and resource providers to share best practices, build partnerships and advance policies to ensure the next generation is ready to lead in an interconnected world. ‘

 

 

So, What DO they Remember After All of That?

 

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Nearing the end of the fast paced, often crazed, multi-layers of multitasking…planning and grading, teaching and re-teaching…what is it that kids remember of their school year with you? What do they find meaningful and lasting from your time together?

It’s worth stopping to see, because it’s the glue that holds all the rest together.

I had that opportunity when Mrs. Patterson, a retired teacher, took over my 5th grade class when I went to a meeting. She had my students write me a thank you/memory letter. And just what is it that really made an impact after our nine months together? The hours spent putting together that cool project? Those math lessons taught three different ways until they all got it? No…my black boots with the blue zippers!

Here is one comment pulled from each letter.

  • I like when you freak out when something good happens.
  • You are not grumpy, like if someone says a word to you, you won’t shout “GET BACK TO YOUR SEAT!!!”
  • I still remember the bunch of times you said, “I can’t follow you around your whole life.”
  • You played a huge role in teaching us how to be good human beings and the ways that we can do that.
  • I truly didn’t even know what a web 2.0 tool was before this year.
  • You aren’t so quiet and boring. You are kind of loud actually.
  • I think that you are funny, and I love that about you.
  • I let my brain run free and have a say!
  • You know how to keep people going, and you don’t give up on yourself. I never gave up because of you.
  • You always make it seem like we are a team
  • I loved watching Carl on CNN Student News.
  • You always like to swing at recess.
  • I love being able to do stuff that my sister, brother, dad, and mom can’t do on the computer!
  • You are very funny, but in a good way. Thanks for making us laugh.
  • Our classroom feels like home to me.
  • I love blogging, can we still do it over the summer too?
  • You have great taste of style! I love your black boots with the blue zippers.
  • I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard of some of the places in the world that we worked with or skyped.
  • Even though you won’t be there personally, you will always be with me.
  • Well, I only have a minute to gather my life and get to the bus so…THANK YOU!
  • Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

Does knowing this help me with all of the work ahead for next year? No…but it sure puts things in perspective. You may want to give it a try before they’re gone for the year.

A re-post from last year.

Our Classrooms Dancing Around the World!

Follow us as we dance from the Prime Meridian going east…around the whole world!

Classroom 2.0 LIVE!

What an honor to be chosen as the Featured Teacher for Classroom 2.0 LIVE! If you are interested in Project-based Learning or 21st Century Learning, here is the recording.  Here’s the Livebinder link to all of the projects and resources mentioned in the presentation.

Make sure you visit the Classroom 2.0 LIVE site and check the calendar for upcoming events and archives. They are always a great resource for cutting edge education ideas and resources.


What’s the Most Valuable Trait in Learning?

If I was to choose one single quality that helps people the most, not only with success in school but also with happiness throughout life, it would be internal motivation.

Internal motivation is what drives passion. It drives the quest for knowledge, it drives interest and it drives repeat exposure to something…which in turn creates expertise. Some adults never possess that in their lifetime, and I think it has a lot to do with how we structure our teaching…therefore our learning.

I have a niece who is brilliant by all standard and practical measurements. When she was about 16, I asked her if she had any thoughts about college. She told me that maybe she’d like to major in guitar. Now don’t get me wrong, I deeply value music…both of my kids are musicians, and although my niece plays guitar, it isn’t her biggest strength by a long shot…it isn’t even something she loves to do or is particularly good at. Of all of the many interests she has ranging from science, medicine, social justice, engineering, economics, literature and the like…why guitar?

The question really is: why is it when we think passion we think extra-curricular? I think it’s because those are the times that we can be internally directed. It feels like playing, and when we become so engaged in what we’re doing, we do more of it, and become more skilled.  It’s like a powerful ongoing circle of interest, learning, practice and skill.

Many of the great inventors, scientists, writers, artists, whatever… the greats in any industry…many of them approach their craft like play. The motivation comes from within. They follow their interests and curiosities as they weave in and out…they follow the winding path as it leads to new understandings and possibilities. They are often the people we call geniuses after the fact. If our goal in education includes helping produce successful, accomplished, empowered, productive human beings…we need the cultivation of internal motivation as part of our learning culture.

If we want to create a system that supports internal motivation…and invites passion in science, math, literature, global issues, as well as music, athletics, art, theater and anything else….we have to start creating and supporting a system that includes 21st century learning such as innovation, choice, relevance and  self-direction.  Maybe you don’t think it’s possible to do that while teaching content. Many teachers, schools, and districts already do. A quick internet search with terms such as Project based learning, Problem based learning,  21st Century Learning, STEM, Genius Hour, or 20% Time will start to point you in that direction. 

Here is a related TedXTalk by Scott McLeod, author of Dangerously Irrelevant.

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21st Century Learning. What exactly is it?

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The buzz about 21st Century Learning is everywhere, but what exactly does it mean? It’s often linked to technology, but that is only a small part.  In fact, much of 21st Century Learning can happen without the use of technology. If technology is available and used in the right way, it can provide powerful tools for authentic learning and integration of 21st Century skills, but unfortunately, that is not always what we see in our classrooms. Purchasing equipment does not automatically create better learning.  We watch our classrooms fill up with technology, but we often see no plan in place to use it to benefit student learning. This requires a change in teaching.  With no change in teaching and learning, computers are often used for mainly word processing and Google searching. As an educator, this concerns me.

Let’s start with what 21st Century Learning means. It is the marriage of content and skill. Teaching content is what we are familiar with in our education systems: learning states and capitals, mathematical equations, historical events, scientific discoveries, and countless others.  21st Century Learning takes that content and makes it relevant. It not only shows learners how that content can be used to solve problems, construct new ideas, and through collaboration, expand that understanding, but it allows them to actually experience that as they learn.

How many school districts have mission statements that refer to educating problem solvers, critical thinkers, and creative minds? How many of them go farther than words and actually do something meaningful to provide that in their classrooms?

Equipping teachers to lead our students’ way in this takes a lot more than buying computers for schools. Before continuing, let’s figure out how to use what we have to further what many of us believe to be true: the world needs empowered critical thinking problem solvers that have the ability to learn collaboratively and create the solutions to problems that we have no way of knowing exist right now. It isn’t as difficult as it seems.

It starts with a unified vision, the development of a plan to create the teaching and learning environment, and the implementation of that plan. Many have led the way. It isn’t a mystery any more. Schools around the country have embraced this and have left their footsteps to follow. It’s just a quick Google search away!

Here’s a related article by George Couros.

One interpretation of 21st century skills.

One interpretation of 21st century skills.

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