3 Steps to Help Students Become Global Citizens

3 Simple Steps to Help Students Become a Global Citizen

Like squirrels in a sack, we can choose to coexist or we can make life miserable for one another. We are all a global citizen whether we realize it or not. Parents and teachers are building the bridges today that tomorrow will walk across.

Let's be clear about something. Because of the way students form their opinions, if you're not building a bridge, you're building a wall. There is no middle ground here. Which are you?

Have a Big Mind

When I was in eighth grade, my grandmother sat me down and said she was taking me on a trip.

“You might live in a small town, but you need a big mind. You have to get out of the small town and see the world.”

Not every student has a grandmother who sees the world this way and can afford to take them on a trip. But now, I can help my students see the world through the doors of Internet technology. The price is only a little time but the payoff is huge. Connecting and collaborating across the world is easier than ever.

More teachers and students gather together in China. All of these educators had first met online. You can connect yourself and your students in powerful ways. It isn't hard. Every educator's story is different.

More teachers and students gather together in China. All of these educators had first met online. You can connect yourself and your students in powerful ways. It isn’t hard. Every educator’s story is different.

More teachers and students gather together in China. All of these educators had first met online. You can connect yourself and your students in powerful ways. It isn’t hard. Every educator’s story is different.

Global Citizen Rising: Not just one way to connect.

There’s no one size fits all answer here. As I shared in Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, students are the greatest textbook ever written for each other. I’ve done this many ways in my classroom, from the simple Mystery Skype to full fledged global collaboration with other students and people of all ages. We connected with Kid President to celebrate awesome girls — that was just around a hashtag. We talk to CEO’s and share with friends around the world on Skype or Google hangout. Every time we connect, my kids are astounded and excited about the big world out there.

The Arab-Israeli Conflict simulation out of the University of Michigan is a powerful way to connect and learn and so are ePals, iEarn, Taking IT Global and many transformative organizations. Skype and Google Hangout have made the world a closer, more intimate place. But so have hashtags.

But to me, the best way to engage the classroom in a global conversation is to help the conversations become part of the classroom. And certainly embarrassing things happen. (Once, on a Skype call with Sweden, one of my students said – I know what you make — a Swiss Army knife! Oh my!!! But don’t look down on my students! One time, my students were Skyping with education leaders in California. One of my students mentioned having going to Qatar. One of the adults said to her, ‘what’s a qatar?’” We all have a lot to learn!)

While in my book, Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, we go through seven steps to create global projects — here are three simple ones to get any educator started. Every classroom can help their students join the global conversation.

Here are some pictures my students took at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai in March 2015. After we started connecting online, we began traveling the world and connecting face to face. Connecting online truly opens a world of possibility for kids and helps them become global citizens.

Here are some pictures my students took at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai in March 2015. After we started connecting online, we began traveling the world and connecting face to face. Connecting online truly opens a world of possibility for kids and helps them become global citizens.

Here are some pictures my students took at the Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai in March 2015. After we started connecting online, we began traveling the world and connecting face to face. Connecting online truly opens a world of possibility for kids and helps them become global citizens.

3 Simple Steps to Help Students Become a Global Citizen

Step 1: Connect Yourself

So, the first thing educators do to help engage their classrooms in a global conversation is to engage themselves. A connected teacher is a prerequisite for a connected classroom.

The social media network can be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or just about anything, although the sheer numbers of educators on Twitter is astounding and becomes quite useful. When you go to conferences, meet other educators. Teachers are making their own connections and don't need anyone to help them create their own projects and experiences.

[callout]TIP: Join private Facebook groups or consistently join a weekly Twitter chat to “get to know” the other participants. Engage in conversation to make connections. Check out Jerry Blumengarten's educational hashtag page. [/callout]

Students can reach the world and each other when they become global citizens. Here is a group of students meeting and connecting at ASB Unplugged in India in 2012. The teachers in this picture first connected online before bringing their students together here as part of a larger conference at the American School of Bombay in Mumbai, India.

Students can reach the world and each other when they become global citizens. Here is a group of students meeting and connecting at ASB Unplugged in India in 2012. The teachers in this picture first connected online before bringing their students together here as part of a larger conference at the American School of Bombay in Mumbai, India.

Students can reach the world and each other when they become global citizens. Here is a group of students meeting and connecting at ASB Unplugged in India in 2012. The teachers in this picture first connected online before bringing their students together here as part of a larger conference at the American School of Bombay in Mumbai, India.

Step 2: Build Your Personal Learning Network (PLN)

Then, connect yourself to other educators by building your own personal PLN. While books like mine and Connecting Your Students with the World by Billy Krakower, Paula Naugle, and Jerry Blumengarten help you find and join activities easily, the best opportunities are viral and spread through social media. You learn about them and join in.

I predict that educators with a PLN will become more valuable to schools than those who don’t learn online. It is by following hashtags and reading blogs that the best educators find the once in a lifetime opportunities that spring up unexpectedly.

[callout]TIP: After you build your PLN, help your students build theirs. Here are my lesson plans on PLN building using Feedly. [/callout]

Step 3: Help Your Class Share What They Are Doing with the World

Finally, connect your classroom by sharing what you’re doing. The now defunct but well known Flat Classroom Projects began when another teacher wrote a comment on my blog and I responded as we discussed what our students were learning about Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat.

But connecting classrooms globally is happening around the world. Karen Lirenman’s first graders tweet what they are doing. Kathy Cassidy’s kids blog. The Global Classroom Projects connect kids and teachers around the world. Audience improves learning. A global audience supercharges it.

[callout]See Social Media in Schools which is chock full of ideas[/callout]

Scared to let kids connect?

Some may fear putting kids “out there” via blogging or other means, but kids are already out there. When you go ahead and share, you’re helping kids build a positive portfolio of work and helping them understand that people are watching and that in many ways, all the world’s a stage.

The global conversation between students is happening — with or without you. While you can’t do it every day all the time, you can connect sometimes and when you do, you can expect powerful outcomes. Perhaps one of the best things we can do to shape our future is to connect kids today. We’re building the bridges today that tomorrow will walk across.

 

Never miss an episode

Get the 10-minute Teacher Show delivered to your inbox.

Powered by ConvertKit
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

All Posts »

2 comments

LMS January 12, 2016 - 6:31 pm

Agreed! Teachers & adults responsible for the education & security of our students & children have a responsibility to teach them about digital citizenship. Being part of the conversation and modeling good habits is one thing, but we have to LIVE it ourselves.

Reply
Vicki Davis January 13, 2016 - 7:55 pm

Agreed, we do have to live it ourselves!

Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere