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What does global learning look like?

How are teachers using technology to better introduce their students to the world? What tools and resources are available to help take classrooms global? This chapter provides a step-by-step guide to utilizing the tools and resources offered by TakingITGlobal, an online charitable organization which serves youth worldwide through a multilingual online learning community (at www.tigweb.org) and innovative education programs (through www.tiged.org). We will explore the importance of integrating global issues and perspectives into teaching and learning, and provide inspiring examples along the way. A practical approach is taken so that educators will come away with concrete action items for making enhancing their global education practice. Class or subject area: Global education (interdisciplinary) Grade level(s): Teachers and administrators of K-12 students Specific learning objectives: Enhance their understanding of global awareness and citizenship, and its importance in teaching and learning for the 21st century; Become familiar with TakingITGlobal (TIG), a technology-driven non-profit organization that serves youth 13-30 through a multilingual social network for social good and innovative education programs; Explore the tools, resources, and opportunities available to through TakingITGlobal for Educators (TIGed) to support future-friendly teaching and learning; Be introduced to a five-step approach to establishing successful global learning projects; Learn how other educators have employed e-technologies to take their classrooms global through the power of online collaboration.

Author Biography: Kate Gatto is the Program Manager for TIGed. Kate brings a passion for global education and literature, and an interest in global perspectives to TIGed from a Master of Education program at Brock University, . Sara Hassan coordinates one of TIGeds global programs, DeforestACTION (www.deforestaction.org). Sara holds a BA in International Development Studies and an MA in Globalization Studies. Katherine currently acts as a communications, fundraising, and programming consultant for the organization. She holds an undergraduate and graduate degrees in International Affairs from the University of Northern British Columbia and Carleton University Activity Summary

Anniversary Book Project

5th

The TIGed Program


A Model for Taking Classrooms Global

By: Sara Hassan, Kate Gatto, and Katherine Walraven Creative Commons License: CC BY Author contact: education@takingitglobal.org

TakingITGlobal is one of the worlds best examples of how N-Geners are using digital technologies to transform the world around them. ~ Don Tapscott, author of the best-selling book Wikinomics Introduction Climate change, poverty, conflict these are some of the pressing global problems that young people have inherited. To shape a better common future, students must be empowered to think and act as global citizens. This is the founding logic of TakingITGlobal (TIG) -- an organization dedicated to using technology to help youth shape a more inclusive, peaceful, and sustainable world. TIG works at the intersection of three important global trends the rise of the youth demographic, increased interdependence and globalization, and a revolution in information and communication technology revolution to empower young people to understand and act on the worlds greatest challenges. It serves youth aged 13 to 30 around the world through a multilingual online learning community and innovative, action-oriented education programs. This chapter provides an overview of the educational tools, resources, and opportunities available through TIGs informal learning community and its education platform, TIGed. It then offers a step-bystep guide for educators who are interested in embracing the power of technology to bring the world into their classrooms through collaborative global learning projects and partnerships, complete with real-life examples from the field of technology-enabled global education. TakingITGlobal: A Social Network for Social Good Often described as a social network for social good, the award-winning www.tigweb.org offers a diverse set of educational resources and action tools intended to inspire, inform and involve. Available in 13 languages and supporting any character set, the TIG site is the webs most multilingual platform for young people worldwide to share ideas, experiences and aspirations.

Tools for self-expression and dialogue include online publications, a digital art gallery, discussion boards, blogs, art contests, and more. TIG connects youth to resources, opportunities and action tools related to their interests through databases of organizations and events, as well as academic and professional opportunities. It also facilitates local and global dialogue and action through featured issues, as well as databases of youth action projects and collaboration tools, and provides a wealth of information about a multitude of local and global issues. Since being founded as a charity by two young Canadians in 2000, 40 million people have accessed the website to learn, grow, and realize their potential, and the network has grown to include over 400,000 members from every country and territory in the world.

TIGed: Taking Classrooms Global

TIGed empowers teachers around the globe to utilize technology to facilitate transformative international learning experiences for their students. TIGeds offerings engage learners in collaborative education that builds leadership skills, environmental stewardship, and global citizenship. The TIGed website (www.tiged.org) hosts an international community of globally-minded educators, a database of global education resources, a customizable virtual classroom and collaboration platform, and a variety of free global learning programs.

Community Currently, the TIGed community comprises over 7,900 teachers at over 3,000 schools in 134 countries. TIGed members search for program partners and collaborators in the community database, and read each others educator stories for inspiring examples of how others have used the TIGed platform to facilitate global learning experiences. Resources The TIGed resource database offers activity ideas and lesson plans for a variety of grade levels and subject areas, contributed by community members, partner organizations, and the TIGed team. Featured here are several thematic classrooms online learning spaces loaded with interdisciplinary, interactive multimedia activities and resources addressing a range of important global issues. Virtual Classrooms TIGeds virtual classroom and collaboration platform provides educators with the learning management features they need in a secure and ad-free environment. Teachers choose which tools to integrate into their virtual classrooms, based on what is most appropriate for their students, learning objectives, and projects. Available tools include blogs, podcasts, maps, image and video galleries, maps, discussion boards, live video chat, online file and bookmarking spaces, and more. Global Programs TIGeds free global programs in global citizenship, environmental stewardship, and student voice give classrooms around the world pathways to collaborate with global peers to learn about and act on issues that matter to todays students. For example, the Global Encounters program brings together students from across the globe through live video conferences that explore global issues and the potential youth have to shape a better common future. With new programs developing every year at TIGed, there are always exciting opportunities for classes to get involved. Take Your Classroom Global in Five Easy Steps Starting a global collaboration can be an intimidating goal for many teachers. However, with the five easy steps outlined below, theres no need to fear the unknown. Take it one step at a time! Whether you are just beginning to facilitate online global learning experiences or are modifying an existing program, the following guidelines may be of use.

Step 1: Identify Your Needs Understanding the needs and wants of your students is critical to developing a learning project. Work with your students to identify what issues, technologies, and countries interest them, and to develop project ideas and goals. Your project goals will depend on the needs of your classroom, your community, the requirements of your district, and many other factors. Next, strategize the best ways to achieve your goals using the technologies available to you and develop a plan for meeting your immediate and long-term objectives. Case Study: Rural School Connections Elementary school teacher Dave Meehan from Greytown, New Zealand, identified the need to connect the often-isolated rural schools in his region and employed the TIGed platform as a means to achieve this goal. Children from different rural schools in the region connected online in a TIGed classroom, and worked on an action project about the quality of local waterways. After the rural schools in his own region became connected, Meehans project expanded to include cross-cultural exchange between his online regional community of classrooms and rural youth in other parts of the world. Reflecting on the project, Meehan said that it is really important that these kids can find other like-minded youth so that they can begin to see themselves more as world citizens, How TIGed Can Help: Discussion Board Polls The needs of your students are at the heart of your practice. In the discussions section of the TIGed virtual classroom platform, you can get to the bottom of what issues are of greatest concern to your students. Having a vote on the direction of a global project empowers student voice and increases buy-in and ownership for the project among classes. Step 2: Know the Technology The best way to learn about technology is often just to start using it. Most online tools and applications are designed to be user-friendly, and you can come to understand and apply them after an hour or two of hands-on exploration. Online tutorials and other support resources are often available to help answer questions you might struggle to resolve on your own and to deepen the capacities developed through self-directed use. You may also find that your students are able to teach you a lot about new online tools. Case Study: Survivor Galt/Survivor Uganda A TIGed classroom connected a class in Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada, with students attending an orphanage community school near Kampala, Uganda. Teachers Jennifer Meagher and Zimbe Moses took the time to create several online classrooms to explore the capabilities of their students in the online space before embarking on an interdisciplinary, experiential learning relationship. When the Canadian class learned of the poverty experienced by their Ugandan peers, they were inspired to raise funds for the orphanage through a 30-hour online marathon of Skype conversations called Survivor Galt/Uganda. The fundraiser worked because the educators were comfortable with the technology. Your program can truly fly, shared Jennifer, if you put your structures in place and do your research. How TIGed Can Help: Customizing Your Classroom TIGeds virtual classroom platform is designed to be flexible and functional across a spectrum of

browsers and connective capabilities. Getting to know the virtual classroom and customizing it to suit your specific needs is an important first step to facilitating a global project. Before creating your own classroom, you can explore a demo sandbox classroom to get to know the features available. The TIGed User Guide and TIGed team are also available to help you work through the tools so you will have control over the technology and not the other way around! Step 3: Empower Your Students Voice! Todays students are engaged when they are actively involved in designing and driving their learning. They should not only give input into the initial development of a global learning project, but have opportunities and responsibilities to contribute from beginning to end. Supporting and strengthening student voice and agency is critical to preparing students to learn and lead in the 21st century. Having meaningful opportunities to share their ideas, opinions, and actions within classrooms and schools gives students the experience-based self-confidence they need to be effective and active global citizens in a troubled world. Case Study: DeforestACTION Students from schools across Southeast Asia and Australia involved in TIGed DeforestACTION program are collaboratively learning, sharing ideas and developing meaningful dialogue on the economic, environmental and political implications of deforestation. Empowered to direct their online learning into offline action, students are focused on implications of palm oil cultivation in Indonesia and its related destruction of orangutan habitats. Students arrived at this decision after consulting with experts through the program, sharing findings and voting on this issue as the focus for action. Projects included petitions, conferences, and peer-led workshops to raise community awareness. To date, over 17,000 youth around the world have engaged in DeforestACTION initiatives, and over 90,000USD has been raised to support on-the-ground efforts. TIGed Can Help: Student Expressions With TIGed, you can encourage your students to express themselves in a variety of ways in the virtual classroom. Blogging, posting artwork, uploading videos, and writing poetry are just a few possibilities. Involvement in the larger TIG community is a great opportunity for students to become published artists, poets, and bloggers, and to get feedback from a global community of peers. Step 4: Build Partnerships Education today is about building partnerships within and beyond your district in order to make optimal use of resources and technologies for your classroom. Finding guest speakers to share their expertise with your class and creating innovative collaborative online projects that appeal to your students are important steps in building a global classroom. In addition to your schools capacity and technology, you will need to think about the needs and limitations of the classrooms you connect with. Lower-income schools and schools in developing nations will need to be able to view and interact with all of your content, or the partnership risks breaking down. Case Study: Flat Classroom Project In the Flat Classroom project, students and teachers in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Georgia, USA, collaborated to create a truly flat classroom where two classes worked as one. The project expanded to include numerous classrooms and shared projects around the world. Project creators base their classrooms on the ten flatteners found in Thomas Friedmans bestselling book The World

Is Flat. The project is featured in a chapter whose title, If its not happening its because youre not doing it, expresses the individual power educators have to employ online tools for good. The project is also the subject of Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, by the two global educators leading the Flat Classroom project, Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay. How TIGed Can Help: Collaborations The TIGed virtual classroom platform is designed to support international collaborations between classes. Collaborations can be as formal or as informal as you choose. You might want to connect with another class or group of classes to over the course of a unit through the use of a TIGed thematic classroom, or arrange to have ongoing video chats or online discussion on a range of topics that interest the participating students Step 5: Make it Sustainable It is crucial to provide proper training for teachers involved in global learning projects, especially for those who may be resistant to new technology. Make efforts to be aware of the resources available to you, and be sure to share them widely. Forming partnerships and joining networks is a great way to ensure that your project has access to a reserve of energy, collaborators, and fresh ideas as needed. Case Study: Appleby College Appleby College, in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, is investing time and energy into making global education at sustainable and school-wide. Professional development for individual teachers and grade-level and discipline teams has helped bring authentic global perspectives and international partnerships into teaching and learning there. Appleby partnered with World Leadership School and TIGed to deliver professional development for its teachers, and is a member of Round Square, a worldwide association of 90 schools on 5 continents that participates in international service learning trips and is embarking on virtual collaborative projects. Rob McGuiness, Assistant Head of School at Appleby College confirms that The TIGed platform is enabling a number of our classes to engage in authentic learning collaborations across international networks, expanding the perspectives our students are experiencing. The potential for this to grow and further enhance a rich global education is truly great. How TIGed Can Help: Sustainable Programming Use of the TIGed virtual classroom is free of charge, contributing to the sustainability of projects that use the TIGed platform and encouraging long-term involvement from partners from all over the world. A section of the TIGed website devoted to support ensures that you can always find help when you need it. TIGed also offers comprehensive professional development options in global citizenship, environmental stewardship, and student voice to support educators in making the best use of the tools and resources available to them. With a variety of online and in-person options, including graduate-level accredited e-courses and in-service workshops on a range of topics, you and your colleagues can learn more about the important issues facing the world today, and how to address them through innovative teaching and learning.

Conclusion Online global classrooms empower educators to leverage the power of social networking to create curricula that is more interdisciplinary, effective, and relevant to students lives. An effective online global classroom brings students from diverse geographic, cultural and economic backgrounds together to share information, resources and experiences, preparing them to become effective, compassionate leaders in adulthood. The global classroom represents the future of learning and the future is now.