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Author Biography: Honor Moorman is an educational consultant and online network facilitator with the Asia Societys International

Studies Schools Network. She previously served on the faculty of The International School of the Americas as an English Language Arts teacher, Internship and Service Learning Coordinator, and Dean of Instruction for English and Social Studies. Honor is a National Board Certified Teacher, a Google Certified Teacher, a Discovery Education Network STAR, a Flat Classroom Certified Teacher, a National Writing Project fellow, and a reviewer for She has presented at numerous professional conferences and her articles have been featured in a variety of educational publications. In 2010 she was awarded second place and a teachers choice award in the PBS Teachers Innovation Awards and was named Teacher of the Year by her colleagues. Site: Blogs: and Activity Summary
This paper is about the imperative for networked learning as a key dimension in students development of global competence. Class or subject area: All Grade level(s): K-12 Specific learning objectives: Global Competence 21st Century Skills

Anniversary Book Project


Students Rights to Networked Learning in the Development of Global Competence

By: Honor Moorman Creative Commons License: CC BY Author contact: @honormoorman

In The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Friedman states that In the future, how we educate our children may prove to be more important than how much we educate them (p. 309). That future is now. We are in the second decade of the 21st century. Globalization is a fact of our daily lives (see Figure 1). Technological developments are advancing exponentially (see Figure 2). All students today deserve a global education, which includes access to the Internet and opportunities for networked learning. Vivien Stewart agrees: The future is here . . . Teaching students about the world is not a subject in itself, separate from other content areas, but should be an integral part of all subjects taught. We need to open global gateways and inspire students to explore beyond their national borders. (Stewart, 2007, pp. 8, 10). Global competence can be defined as the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to understand and act creatively and innovatively on issues of global significance (Council of Chief State School Officers [CCSSO], 2010). These skills include investigating the world, recognizing perspectives, communicating ideas, and taking action (CCSSO, 2010). A global education means not only learning about the world, but also learning from the world and with the world. In order for students to investigate the world and recognize perspectives, they need access to multiple sources of information. Fortunately, learning in schools need no longer be confined to the monolithic textbook as the sole source of content. Internet connectivity allows teachers and students to access an ever-expanding volume and variety of information, representing voices from around the globe. Global competencies and 21st century skills (see Figure 3) flourish hand-in-hand. Students develop critical thinking skills when presented with multiple perspectives, helping them see that texts are not neutral and encouraging them to ask critical literacy questions such as Whose voice is represented here? Whose voice is silenced? Is there another point of view? (see Figure 4). An Igbo proverb states Until the lion tells his side of the story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. Similarly, in her TED Talk, The Danger of a Single Story, Chimamamnda Adichie says, When we reject the single story, when we realize there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise (TED, 2009). And as the mice learn in Seven Blind Mice (based on the Buddhist parable of The Blind Men and the Elephant), wisdom comes from seeing the whole (Young, 1991). In order to emerge as global citizens, students must not only investigate the world beyond their immediate environment and recognize their own and others perspectives (CCSSO, 2010), they must also be able to apply cross-cultural understanding (Asia Society, 2010) as they communicate ideas and take action (CCSSO, 2010; Asia Society, 2010) based on what theyve learned. These goals are best achieved when students have authentic audiences and purposes
Figure 1. The 21st Century Context. (Oxfam, 2006).

Figure 2. Did You Know? We are living in exponential times. (Fisch & McLeod, 2007).

for their work, when they see that what theyve learned and what they have to communicate about that learning matters in the real world beyond the teachers grade book and the four walls of the classroom. Here again, global citizenship skills and digital citizenship skills can be developed most effectively in concert with one another. Given the costs involved in travel, students are most likely to connect and collaborate across boundaries and enact global solutions (CCSSO, 2010; Asia Society, 2010) via the web. Internet connectivity creates unprecedented access to diverse global audiences; social media and Web 2.0 tools provide new modes of communication and collaboration. Friedman describes the flat Information, Media and world of contemporary society Technology Skills as the global web-enabled Information Literacy platform for multiple forms of Media Literacy sharing knowledge and work ICT Literacy irrespective of time, distance, Life and Career Skills geography, and increasingly Flexibility and Adaptability even language (2005, n.p.). Initiative and Self-Direction Internet technologies enable Social and Cross-Cultural individuals to learn, create, Skills Productivity and Accountability and collaborate with others Leadership and Responsibility around the world twenty-four hours a day, seven days a Figure 3. Twenty-First Century Student Outcomes. (Partnership for 21st Century week. In the developed world, Skills, 2009a). todays young people have grown up surrounded by digital technology and Internet connectivity. These youth are often referred to as digital natives, the digital generation, or the net generation, (Palfrey & Gasser, 2008; Prensky, 2005/2006; Tapscott, 1998, 2009). They are not only comfortable with Web 2.0 tools, they are also emerging as prosumers (Tapscott & Williams, 2008), able to produce and publish online content just as easily as they are able to consume it. Three-quarters of teens, compared with two-thirds of adult Internet users are Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes Global Awareness Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy Civic Literacy Health Literacy Learning and Innovation Skills Creativity and Innovation Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Communication and Collaboration

networked creators: 55% share photos, 37% contribute rankings and Who wrote this? ratings, 33% create content tags, 30% share personal creations, 26% What was the authors post comments on sites and blogs, 15% have a personal website, 15% motive for writing this? are content remixers, 14% are bloggers, and 13% use Twitter (Rainie, What is the authors experience and expertise 2012). in the subject? The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE, What has the author to gain from writing 2007) asserts that as new technologies shape this? literacies, they bring opportunities for teachers at all Is this true? levels to foster reading and writing in more diverse What research evidence supports the and participatory contexts (2007, p. 2). Media authors claims? studies expert Henry Jenkins defines a participatory What do other experts in this field say? culture as one with relatively low barriers to artistic What are we not told? expression and civic engagement, strong support for Which questions are not asked? creating and sharing ones creations, and some type Whose opinions are we not hearing? of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the Is this fair? most experienced is passed along to novices (2009, Is there another point of view? What is the authors underlying message? p. xi). How has the author positioned the reader? The notion of a participatory culture privileges Figure 4. Some Questions to Ask of a Text. (Wilson, community over individuality and highlights the 2002, p. 128). importance of collaboration and networking skills (Jenkins, 2009, pp. xi-xv). And teens are finding ways to break down the barriers so they can participate in this culture. In a joint project of the Pew Research Centers Internet and American Life Project and the University of Michigan, September 2009 data show 93% of teens using the Internet (up from less than 75% in 2000) despite the fact that 12% of families with teens either do not have a computer or do not have an Internet connection in the home (Purcell, 2009). Predictably, teen Internet access is highest among teens with white parents, collegeeducated parents, and higher household Figure 5. Correlation between Internet users and Income per person shown on incomes. On the other Gapminder ( hand, cell phones leapfrog connectivity barriers for low income, minority teens; 23% of young people ages 12-17 and

Develop proficiency with the tools of technology Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments

Figure 6. The NCTE Definition of 21st Century Literacies. (National Council of Teachers of English, 2008).

31% of 14-17 year-olds own smartphones (Lenhart, 2012), 75% of teens have a cell phone (Rainie, 2010) and teens in the lowest household income categories are the most likely to connect to the Internet this way (Purcell, 2009) yet another reason schools should not only allow but encourage students to use these powerful tools in their pockets for learning. Of course, the digital divide is still a concern. Thats why all students especially those with little or no connectivity outside of schoolshould have opportunities to use the Internet as an integral part of their education and as a tool for investigating the world, recognizing perspectives, communicating ideas, and taking action. And as global digital citizens of the future, students should also be given opportunities to examine the issue of the digital divide itself. In fact, Jean-Francois Rischard identifies the digital divide as one of the twenty global problems of critical importance to the future of the world in High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them (2003). There is a direct correlation between Internet users

Figure 7. Characteristics and Relationships among Learning Theories

and income per capita (see Figure 5) and almost four out of five people around the world believe that access to the Internet is a fundamental right (Internet, 2010). In June 2009 Frances highest court concurred with this opinion, declaring that the Internet is an essential tool for the liberty of communication and expression and that free access to public communication services is a right under the French Constitution (as cited in Brichacek, 2009). Likewise, Finland has already become the first country to make broadband Internet Figure 8. The network is more powerful than the node. access a legal right for every citizen Cartoon by Hugh Macleod. Posted in Simon Phipps [and Hamish (Finland, 2010). In the United Newlands] web log message, September 26, 2007. Creative Commons license 1.0. Retrieved from States, a students right to free public education should include not only Internet connectivity, but meaningful opportunities to use that connectivity for communicating and collaborating with peers and adults through networked learning. Preparing students for active citizenship and engagement in this participatory culture of the flat world requires that we teach them the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully participate in online communities by integrating social networking skills and experiences into students learning. Social Learning Consultant, Steve Hargadon defines social networking as the aggregation of Web 2.0 tools into a community and content creation environment (2008, para. 8). Educational networking, then, can be defined as the use of online social networking technologies for educational purposes. For the 73% of online teens who already use social network sites (Rainie, 2010), this is mostly a matter of helping students refine their networking and social media skills to apply them to new, more professional and academic, contexts. When I first introduced educational networking to my own students in the fall of 2008, I found some of them took to it immediately, while others needed a little more coaching. One of the most prolific bloggers [from] the beginning [was] Mario . . . When I asked Mario why he liked writing on the Internship Ning so much, he said, Writing an essay just feels like something youre doing for a grade, but writing a blog post feels like a normal conversation . . . its almost like Facebook or MySpace, but its school-oriented. (Moorman, 2009, p. 8) Marios comment highlights a key strength of the using social networking for educationthe connection between in-school and out-of-school literacies. Young people typically view their online personas as natural extensions of themselves and are adept at negotiating between the conventions and community norms of various online spaces (Williams, 2008, pp. 682-684). Adolescents do not see online communities or social networking sites as separate spaces, but as an extension of everyday life (Boyd, 2008, p. 107). Richardson argues that the future of networked learning is

already here and that educators need to respond to this online reality by doing more to address the skills students need for networked literacy. These skills students need include: handling hypertext, critically reading information, critically reading people, writing for an audience, writing in multiple modes, organized sharing, and engaging diverse voices (2009). Literacy has long been understood as a set of social and cultural practices shared by a particular community. Given the richness and complexity of online communities and digital communications, the 21st century demands that participants develop a new set of literacy skills (see Figure 6), which are multiple, dynamic, and malleable (NCTE, 2008). There is a growing consensus among scholars and professional organizations about what students need to know and be able to do in the 21st century. Central to these new literacies are the abilities to create, communicate, and collaborate using digital technology tools (Burkhardt, et al., 2003; International Society for Technology in Education [ISTE], 2007; Ito, et al., 2008; NCTE, 2008; Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2009a). Many of the specific 21st-century skills and competencies that comprise the new literacies are explicitly connected to the importance of participation in learning networks (American Library Association, 2000; Burkhardt, et al., 2003; Davidson & Goldberg, 2009; ISTE, 2007; Ito, et al., 2008; Jenkins, 2009; Johnson, Levine, & Smith, 2009; NCTE, 2008; Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2009a, 2009b; Rheingold, 2002; U.S. Department of Commerce, 2002). As Jason Ohler argues, [b]eing able to read and write in multiple forms of media and integrate them into a meaningful whole is the new hallmark of literacy . . . and students need to be able to use new media collectively as well as individually (2009, pp. 9-10). The learning theory that best supports the integration of networked learning is that of connectivism. Connectivism is an emerging learning theory that builds on an epistemological framework of distributed knowledge and incorporates the well-established theories of behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism (see Figure 7 for characteristics and relationships among the learning theories). According to connectivism, learning takes place when the learner connects to a learning community or clustering of similar areas of interest that allows for interaction, sharing, dialoguing, and thinking together (Siemens, 2003). When that learning community or node is connected to other nodes within a network (see Figure 8), knowledge is distributed across the network. Downes concept of connective or distributed knowledge (2005, 2006) corresponds to Siemens theory of connectivism (2005). They both view knowledge as composed of connections and networked entities (Siemens, 2008, p. 10) and define learning as the ability to construct and traverse those networks (Downes, 2007). Put simply, the learning is the network (Siemens, 2006, para. 39). As Kathleen Yancey points out, with digital technology and, especially Web 2.0, it seems, writers are everywhere and our impulse to write is now digitized and expandedor put differently, newly technologized, socialized, and networked (pp. 4-5). When students write for each other and for other real-world online audiences, their attitudes are more positive, their motivation is stronger, they care more about their work, and their work is of higher quality (Hemmi, Bayne, & Landt, 2009; Kitsis, 2008; Richardson, 2003; Stevens et al., 2008). Being able to publish their work on the Internet gives students a wider audience for their writing, one that extends beyond their classroom and school walls and has the potential to include audience members from around the world. This is very motivating to students, especially when they receive feedback and positive responses from their readers. In addition, digital publishing allows students to engage in collaborative projects and to create multimedia publications.

Students must have Internet access in schools because this access will play an increasing gatekeeper role in three components of our rights as humans to realize our full potential: freedom of expression, democratic participation, and economic livelihood (Bernasconi, 2010, p. 6). They must have opportunities for networked learning because digital social networks [are] the biggest game changer in learning and what it means to be educated (Wilmarth, 2010, p. 85). Only by networking with others around the globe cans student truly learn to connect, communicate, and collaborate globally. Given the increasing influence of the Internet and online connectedness, networked learning is not only timely and relevant, but an essential educational practice in order to help students develop as global digital citizens, ready and able to actively participate in the world of ubiquitous connectivity they will inherit.