Sunday, February 16, 2014

Building a Global Culture

What Is Our Culture?

As the name of this blog implies and is indicated by the sub-title, this blog was created to share ideas about integrating technology in the classroom. The primary audience is teachers, many of whom take a course I teach, called Computers in the Classroom. Others are invited to participate at any time.

For me, the culture of a school environment today should be about first building support for collaboration and trust among the members of the community. Once that is accomplished, members can then use technology tools to reach a wider audience.

Technology to Reach a World Culture

I encourage students in my courses, as well as others I blog and tweet with, in addition to members of Google Communities to which I belong, to expand their audience and the audience of their students to reach a global audience. Therefore, some of my favorite tools are:

  • #Comments4kids the Twitter hashtag: this feed allows educators to find student blogs for which a worldwide readership is sought for responding. In addition, William Chamberlain facilitates the Comments4Kids blog, which features weekly student blog posts looking for respondents.
  • The Quadblogging project, with information available from this project enables schools to participate in an ongoing collaborative blogging project.
  • The Global Read Aloud, held each fall, unites students around the world based on reading one of the selected books. The brains behind this project is Pernille Ripp, who maintains the Global Read Aloud blog, where you can find more information about the project and upcoming plans for fall 2014.
  • Skype in the Classroom, which provides a way for students to connect for Skyping around organized topics. There are also the Mystery Hangout (452 members as of 2/16/14), Google Community and the Mystery Location Calls, Google Hangout (483 members as 2.16/14).
  • In the fall, I also like to encourage participation in International Dot Day. This project enables students to get their creative juices flowing and to connect with others. I have watched students in my home state of Connecticut Skype with students in Maryland and Louisiana after participating in this project and showing what they have done to celebrate the event. 
Skyping to Connect on International Dot Day:

These are just some of the ways I work to create a culture of sharing and globalization. I believe the culture of our schools once firmly established with a level of trust built in within the classroom or school is greatly enriched by globalization projects.

Going Beyond Classroom Walls to Build Community 

I have listed just a few ways that I advocate for global learning, and welcome responses from readers to learn about projects in which you participate. I realize the Blog a Month Challenge is just one of these, a way for us to connect beyond the walls of our schools.

Culture to me today means knowing one's own culture, but also encompassing within that culture a world view, and we need to do this for students, whether it means reading newspapers online from around the world, visiting online museums and historic sites from around the world, or traveling the globe via any one of the fashions now available to us through the Internet. But most of all, it means interacting with others and having meaningful understandings to develop a humanitarian world view of caring. 

Reaching Out to Others

What are some of the ways you work to build an environment in your school that invites others in and allows your students to communicate and share globally?

For additional information on how I envision creating a culture of globalization within the school to reach beyond the school, see these posts that I have created:
  • International Dot Day: 
  1. Connecting the Dots
  2. Skype for Dot Day
  3. Still Wondering What Dot Day Is
  4. International Dot Day Coming Your Way
  • Skype: 
  1. Skype in the Classroom
  2. Connecting Students Across the Globe
I am also creating a blog for an audience of middle school students in Iowa (Blogging with Iowa Students). I live in Connecticut. I write posts, and they write replies. My students (teachers) and I have been reading and responding to blogs written by students in this teacher's class (Scott Boylen) for more than two years.

Another activity to consider is attending the Building Learning Communities, held in July in Boston, MA.

With so many online virtual opportunities open to us, we would be remiss if we didn't work to build a culture of global understanding and interaction. Do you agree? What has worked for you to build a spirit of globalization within your school culture?

1 comment:

Monica Taggart said...

Great post about building a global culture. I love hearing about teachers who go beyond the four walls in their classroom. Twitter is also a great way to connect your students to a global community. My student tweet at @MsTaggartsClass and share their learning with students from around the globe. We also started blogging and I've been so impressed with my first graders' reflections!