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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Global Connections: I believe this is the next phase of Education

One of the things I really like about teaching in this day and age is our access to experts beyond the classroom. Through the use of the Internet we can almost find any resource we need to create a stimulating and engaging lesson a success. However, many of us have found that this connection to content was a single stream of information and students did not have the ability to engage with and discuss with the stimulus the deep questions they may have had.

As a result of this concern we have seen the growth in classrooms and educators participation in blogging and social media. My good friend Craig Kemp quotes "It is pleasing to see the focus in education on blogging over the past 5 years is paying off, with almost 55% of educators utilising blogs to support global connectivity and learning in their classrooms. It is also pleasing to see 50% of educators utilising Social Media to connect and engage their students.” (Kemp, 2015) Behind this drive is a desire to offer our students a better, more engaging and authentic experiences, one that deepens their experience of the world and the global issues we face.

One of the recent trends in this global connection has been enabled through global hangouts or skype calls. To be honest in an educational setting I am relatively new to using this; however, in the last six months I have successfully connected my school with classes in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Singapore, America and Hong Kong. My class have had the opportunity to speak with founders of the #Notperfecthatclub movement author Jena Ball from America and producer Marty Keltz from Canada. I have run a staff meeting from the comfort of my lounge room, a team teaching session in different parts of our campus and a parent teacher interview. I have also been able to attend mentoring sessions with educators from many different parts of the world. The ability to meet face to face in this environment is incredibly beneficial, you can see body language and hear changes in tone as you would if you were in the same location. You and the students can engage with the expert and the expert can engage with you.

Brett Salakas (2015) writing for wrote an article titled Global Connected Classrooms – Using Technology to Connect Humanity. I believe this is a very appropriate idea for the next phase of education, capitalising on the power of websites and videos but also harnessing the potential of blogs, social media, video conferencing and virtual excursions. In doing so we move ourselves out of the classroom and into a virtual space where students and teachers engage with the wider world.

Kemp, C. (2015) Global Connections Survey Results. 
Salakas, B (2015) Globally Connected Classrooms – Using Technology to Connect Humanity.

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