Julene Reed states right off at the beginning that “Today’s students face a future where boundaries are abstract and global learning is critical. Tomorrow’s citizens must be global communicators, must be able to participate successfully in project-based activities, and must have collaborative skills.” So as a teacher of young second grade students I am carefully considering how to increase these types of learning experiences for them.
Similarly, Howard Gardner says in his fifth chapter of Five Minds for the Future, called “The Respectful Mind”:
“...it is necessary to confront directly the value of respect, the costs of respect, and the infinitely greater costs of desrespect...During the early years of school, such issues are best approached through experiences in which members of different groups work together on common projects, come to know one another first-hand, deal with differences in an amicable manner, and discover that a perspective may be different without being deficient.”Both of these authors are advising to give students opportunities to learn by working together on group projects. To help develop respectful and ethical minds these groups I would include different members for each time new projects are done. Such flexible grouping will allow all students to work with each other and experience the differences everyone possesses. The students should also be given different roles for different projects to understand the responsibilties and challenges everyone must incur at different times.
To further enhance the respectful and ethical minds of my students I would use some of the technology that Julene Reed lists at the end of her article. One way to do this is to choose a topic that we are studying that would have some type of impact or connection to a class in another region. Our latest science topic is rivers, lakes and marshes. We could contact other schools from other states or countries via email and invite them to study similar bodies of water in their region with the understanding that we want to share our information with them and have them share theirs with us by creating digital stories, digital storybooks, by using digital photos or digital video. Then we would work collaboratively collecting information and meet live occassionally, using instant messaging, Skype, or web cam and video conferencing. Then we would create a blog or forum for both classes to post our progress and add new information to it. We would set up a wiki that both classes would use to store our documents on and to share with each other so we can all access all of the documents. We could create podcasts by recording sounds of birds, frogs, or any other such animals that we might be able to encounter near our bodies of water. Perhaps we could just record ourselves reporting on information we have gathered or discovered. The podcasts can also be stored on the wiki to share.
This type of global collaboration would allow us to learn and experience the differences and similarities in our physical regions, in our classrooms, in the ways we think and share. This could be done with many different topics of study. When planning out the themes of study for the year, teachers should evaluate the topics to determine which would be useful for collaborating outside of the local community. Then the teacher should try to find other teachers around the globe or country who would like to participate on this. These digital resources are very effective tools for helping to develop respectful and ethical minds of students.
Reed, Julene. (2007). Global collaboration and learning. (article). Ed Tech Magazine. retrieved from: www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2007/09/global-collaborative-and-learning
Gardner, Howard. (2007). Five minds for the future. Harvard Business School Press. Boston, MA.