Making the World Smaller for Our Students

This is the third post in the “Innovative Teaching Challenge” series.

The world just got a lot smaller. It shrunk when nations started sailing across the seas to faraway lands. It shrunk again when companies began to go international: manufacturing, buying, and selling products around the world. And it shrunk again when individuals were able to communicate and collaborate with one another through the internet.

If you’ve read Thomas Friedman’s book, The World Is Flat, then you understand—we are living in a different time. Yet, many of us still teach as if the world is not accessible…as if connectivity (not just information) is not at our fingertips.

I confess that I taught this way for a long time, before I took the leap with my students and joined the Flat Classroom Project (created by Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay). My students were able to connect with their peers from three different continents – working to understand big issues, solve problems, and collaborate on wikis. We eventually did more global projects like “Project: Global Inform” and Net Gen Ed.

That was 5 years ago.

Now, connectivity really is everywhere. Students play video games (and make video games) with their peers around the world. They compete for college scholarships. They apply for the same jobs. And they talk on social media about the same shows.

The question is, “How can we as educators, make the world smaller for our students at school?”

In this challenge the Global Read Aloud founder, teacher, and author Pernille Ripp explains how her class made the jump from local to global by taking small steps. I really enjoy listening to Pernille talk about what the global classroom looks like, and how to do something with your class today!

Here is the video from Pernille:

Innovative Teaching Challenge #3: Look at your class. Think about what they have to offer the world! What small step can you take this week to get them connecting with students in other places? Maybe it is starting a class blog or twitter account. Maybe it is joining a global project or the Global Read Aloud. Maybe it is doing an old-fashioned pen-pal exchange (this time through email). Whatever it is, take the step…and watch how this type of interaction pushes your students forward.

Check out Pernille’s new book, Passionate Learners, for more ideas on how to take the global jump!

Join 76,000 other learners (and teachers)

And get new posts every week by email.

Powered by ConvertKit

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Karen says:

    How cool that you would post about making connections! Just found out today about the Global Read Aloud project coming in October and shared with teachers in our district – tweeteed it, Google+ed! Hoping lots of teachers take advantage of the opportunity!

  • Tracy Brady says:

    OK, so challenge 3…and I’m already on it! We did a collaboration this past fall with a local school and a school in El Paso, TX (we’re in Central NY). We’ve been tweeting all year, and one of our pictures just got retweeted by a teacher in Ireland! (Yay!!) We’ve blogged with Peace Corps volunteers in Africa, and written letters to a class in Nicaragua. Next year we’re trying to step it up with a Virtual Megaconference, hopefully growing our connections!

Leave a Reply