Here are five benefits to the global classroom!
Let’s face it, we all can’t know everything. In these days of tightening budgets, field trips may not be an option. Why not let an expert share his/her knowledge with the class. A perfect solution is to bring an expert to your classroom via Google Hangouts or Skype. Utilize a Google Community, such as Connected Classroom, to find academic learning experiences for your students. Whether you participate in a Google Hangout with other students from around the world, explore a museum by a virtual field trip, or bring in an expert to your students, you will see direct benefits from the experts. You and your students will be learning with people around the world. Here is a link to Connected Classrooms so you can learn more and join.
2. Multicultural Awareness
The second best thing to actually traveling to a new country is to connect with that country via a video conference. Having a class discussion with two classrooms in different countries increases student perspective and allows all students to gain new insight. It is one thing to read about culture or watch a video and a completely different experience to interview people from another country, sometimes talking in another language. In addition, students gain a global perspective, understand time zones, can identify cities and countries around the world, and enjoy a first hand learning experience. Connected teachers often take a few moments to drop a pin on a map to all the places the classroom connects with. This map becomes a great talking point and an excellent way to keep track of all the connections made throughout the school year.
3. Authentic Audience
What is the value of an audience beyond the classroom teacher? Motivation! I have witnessed students blossom into incredible readers and writers with an authentic audience waiting to read and comment on their work. Globalizing your classroom with blogging is powerful. Suddenly, not only does writing matter, but word choice and grammar matters too. Our students have enjoyed being partnered with sister blogging classrooms. With blogging partners, classrooms takes turns in the blogging/ commenting process. One day your classroom comments, next you write a blog post! It is incredibly validating for writers to receive meaningful comments from around the world. An easy way to start blogging with students it to use http://www.kidblog.org . Amplify your student work and join with other blogging classrooms using the hashtag #comments4kids on Twitter.
4.Cooperative Learning and Collaboration
Global classrooms foster cooperative learning experiences for students. One such global classroom idea is Mystery Skype / Hangout. Students participate in a class challenge to determine the location of the other classroom. Mystery Skype is global geography game. By asking a series of yes/no questions, students narrow the location of the mystery classroom. The first classroom to guess correctly wins! The students gain confidence in their mapping, geography, and questioning skills as they partake in more and more of these activities. To get learn more, register and connect, check out Mystery Skype at https://education.skype.com/mysteryskype . Follow #mysteryskype on twitter too.
5. Curious and Magical Classroom Environments
The ARCS model of technology integration says lessons that are novel, surprising and out of the ordinary stimulate a sense of wonder and maintain interest. The global classroom provides daily opportunities that raise curiosity and create magical learning moments. One such magical moment occurred when author / illustrator Jena Ball joined our elementary classrooms and showed students how to illustrate puppies. The children were thrilled to share their illustrations! Another magical moment was when two high school English classes connected to discuss a novel. The students faces said it all. As their faces appeared on the screen, it was as if superman himself showed up! They were curious about one another, eager to share, and open to learning new ideas from a classroom over 1500 miles away. It is nice to have global learning activities on the calendar so students can look forward to the next time they travel outside the classroom walls.
Globalizing the classroom gives your students access to the world’s expertise, an increase in multicultural awareness, an authentic audience, cooperative learning opportunities, and a magical learning environment.
Challenge yourself to participate in one global learning project this year. Let's celebrate global classroom success stories. Share your global classroom experiences as comments to this post.
Written by Ann Feldmann