Friday, February 13, 2015

5 Benefits to the Global Classroom


Connecting is common place for students today. Students connect to people everyday via social media, gaming, and YouTube   Why not tap these connectivity tools for your classroom.  Globalizing your classroom is beneficial because it allows you access to experts, raise multicultural awareness, give students an authentic audience, provide opportunities for cooperative learning, and create a magical classroom environment.   


Let’s look at five benefits to the global classroom.

1.  Expertise
Let’s face it, we all can’t know everything.  In these days of tightening budgets, field trips may not be an option.  A perfect solution is to bring the experts and experiences to your classroom. Allowing students to connect with experts not only allows them to hear what they have to say, but to be inquisitive and ask questions.  Whether you participate in a Mystery Skype, explore a museum by a virtual field trip, join a global project, or bring in an expert to your students via a Google Hangout,  you will see direct educational benefits from the learning from their experiences.    

2.  Multicultural Awareness
The second best thing to traveling to a new country is connecting with a 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.  While literature and videos are great ways to learn about new cultures and different languages, there is no replacement for face time with individuals actually living a different culture and speaking a different 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 hang a world map in their rooms and track their hangouts with thumbtacks. This map becomes a great talking point, is a visual reminder of their experiences, 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 do too.  Our students have enjoyed being partnered with sister blogging classrooms. With blogging partners, classrooms takes turns in the blogging and commenting process.  One day your classroom adds comments, and the next day you write blog posts!  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!  This activity taps into deductive reasoning skills, collaboration, and previous geography knowledge. The students gain confidence in their mapping, geography, and questioning skills as they partake in more and more of these activities.  You can read more about Mystery Skype in a previous blog post here.

5.  Curious and  Magical Classroom Environments
The ARCS model of technology integration says “lessons should increase students’ focus by using novel, surprising and out of the ordinary and uncertain events.  Effective techniques should stimulate a sense of wonder and maintain interest.”  The global classroom provides daily opportunities that raise curiosity and create magical learning moments.  One magical moment was when two high school Spanish classes connected for genuine Spanish speaking practice.  As the other students appeared on the screen, it was as if a UFO landed in front of the classroom. They were glued to the new people on the screen. Students fired off questions in Spanish and began a dialogue back and forth. They were curious to learn more about each other.  This created an authentic speaking environment with a classroom over 1500 miles away.  Suddenly grammar and vocabulary mattered.  It is important to have global learning activities on the calendar so students can look forward to the next time they travel outside the classroom walls and connect with others.

Globalizing the classroom gives your students access to the world’s expertise, an raises multicultural awareness, provides an authentic audience, allows for cooperative learning opportunities, and a creates magical learning environments.

Challenge yourself to participate in one global learning project this year.  Use these resources as a springboard to connecting your classroom globally.

  • Join a Google Community such as Connected Classroom

Let's celebrate global classroom success stories.  Share your global classroom experiences by adding a comment to this post.

Written by Ann Feldmann

@annfeldmann1

35 comments:

  1. Amazing post, Ann! Global connections is what true learning is all about. Taking curricular objectives and connecting outside the walls of your classroom makes learning relevant and engaging to students. Love your statement about a "magical learning environment" - so true!

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  2. This really gives me an insight to some benefits to expanding the learning beyond the classroom and beyond the city in which they live!

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  3. These are all great ideas to enhance learning, and to keep students engaged and motivated. Thanks for the information!

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  4. Great post about the importance of a more global classroom! Thanks for reminding me of the benefits and posting some great ideas to have a more global classroom!

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  5. Using technology for virtual field trips and bringing experts is a good, cheap use of the existing technology. I hadn't thought of the implications before as to how many resources are out there to be used in this way.

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  6. These ideas would be beneficial for my fifth grade classroom. Especially having a skype conversation with a person that knows a lot of information of an event in American History.

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  7. Wonderful post! I would love to find a way to incorporate this into kindergarten and preschool classrooms.

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  8. It can be difficult to keep students engaged and interested in learning. There are so many benefits for enhanced learning through the global classroom!

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  9. Love this read! I feel I am somewhat new to utilizing the idea of a global classroom. This is a great way to use the curriculum and engage students in many different ways. Students today are surrounded by technology and thrive in it! Making connections to students experiences and their surroundings will greatly enhance their learning.

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  10. All of these ideas are very insightful and discuss the importance of having a global classroom. These ideas could also be motivation for students to earn as rewards and take their learning to a new level!

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  11. Great post! These are all great ways to get students even more engaged. I love the idea of virtual field trips. Taking students to places that they may never be able to see would be a wonderful thing!

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  12. This is a great article! Excellent reasons to consider going global!

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  13. Thank you for the excellent resource on the Global Classroom. I am looking forward to trying these within the classroom. Virtual field trips and mystery skype sound like a wonderful way to create a thrilling Global Classroom!

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  14. I am excited about trying to connect with a kindergarten class in another country to see that while we have some differences we are really more alike than different.

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  15. Looking forward to trying out the hangouts with kindergartners!

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  16. You are absolutely right, these are 5 excellent benefits to the Global Classroom
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  17. Got to sit in on a Google Hangout in 6th grade last week. A guest speaker at LL was able to reach students at multiple schools via technology. It was a great experience!

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  18. Great article and what a great idea to get students to go global without leaving the classroom. I would like to try a few things just to see how the students will react to it and how it will all work.

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  19. Good Read, so many different things we can do right at our fingertips! To expose children to the world is amazing!

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  20. Outstanding blog. This is a great way for our district to add content to the curriculum without costing money.

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  21. Thanks for sharing! These are great ideas to get students engaged and involved.

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  22. Thanks for sharing...many good ideas

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  23. Great blog post! Going global not only enhances our students' learning, but makes is meaningful!

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  24. Very good article. Many secondary students have a level of skepticism toward their teachers. Utilizing a global classroom lends credibility to the teacher improving both student understanding and teacher acceptance. Why wouldn't a teacher want to go global?

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  25. This brilliant must-read article provides the key to the Global classroom, Global classroom experiences, Global classroom success & Magical learning moments.
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