Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Global Awareness - Not Just a Buzzword

21st Century Skills Framework
For several years, our district has been talking about 21st Century Skills and how they should be incorporated into all areas of learning.  We have shared the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) Framework with staff and have focused on components of that framework in our Information and Technology Plan and professional development.

During the last several years our district has focused on Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity.   They skills are not just educational buzzwords, but they are the 4Cs in the Learning and Innovation Skills.  In addition these skills are strongly represented in the Common Core Standards and are a good place to start when preparing students for success in college, career and life.

In reviewing some data from a Future Ready survey, our district team found that while we are aware of the 21st Century skills we do have some gaps in the implementation of the skills.  To begin closing these gaps, I plan to highlight some of the skills and themes in this blog.  As we prepare for Digital Learning Day and our theme of  "Making Connections" I thought I would begin with Global Awareness.

In the green area of the 21st Century Rainbow, you will find the Core Subjects and 21st Century Themes.  This area demonstrates that our core subjects are essential and that there are some 21st Century themes that can be woven into our key subjects.  Global Awareness is one of those themes along with Civic Literacy, Health Literacy, Environmental Literacy and Financial Literacy

One definition of Global Awareness is to "come to understand other perspectives and cultures". While most of the time we think of Global Awareness as connecting with others across the globe, we do not necessarily need to go that far.  Here are some questions to consider when planning to focus on this theme in your classroom.
  • How can I connect my students to others?
  • How can we connect to our local communities?
  • How can I help them learn from or work collaboratively with people from all backgrounds, cultures, and religions?
  • How can I encourage a spirit of mutual respect?
  • How can I help build an understanding of different nations and cultures?
Not sure where to start?  Here are some web resources that provide project ideas or resources to help students connect to others locally and around the globe.

Global Project Resources

Google Arts & Culture  - Google Cultural Institute encompasses three impressive sites that bring the world to students

Projects By Jen - Creative Projects for PreK - Grade Six for Classrooms Worldwide

Skype in the Classroom - an online community that connects thousands of teachers to inspire the next generation of global citizens.

Free Rice - Answer questions on topics such as geography, English and Math. For every correct answer, the site donates food to a country in need.

Sites Alive - Linking adventures & expeditions to K12 Classrooms

iEARN - iEARN enables students and educators worldwide to design and participate in global projects as part of their regular classroom and after-school programs.

My Hero - The mission of MY HERO is to use media, art and technology to celebrate the best of humanity and to empower people of all ages to realize their own potential to effect positive change in the world.

Next Vista for Learning - Global Views Collection of Videos