Global Education Conference 2010

Global Education Conference 2010 Europe Africa Map Global Education Conference 2010 Americas Map Global Education Conference 2010 Asia Map

With 397 sessions given by educators from 62 countries, this free, online conference exploring the theme of global education is a bold and innovative initiative that seeks tosignificantly increase opportunities for globally-connecting education activities.”

We’ll have the opportunity to participate in this conference. As we discussed last week, we will not meet this week but rather, each of us will attend a minimum of two sessions of our choosing from the online conference, blog our reflections on our experiences here and respond to each other’s posts. Please include the session title and presenter names in your post and link back to the session and any additional online content you reference. I look forward to our discussions here!

Over the Thanksgiving break please continue work on your wiki entries, your classroom project presentation and your blog entries. When we next meet on December 3rd, (no online session on the 2nd) Melina, Niko, Carsten and Eleonora will present on their classroom projects!

Advertisements

41 Responses to “Global Education Conference 2010”

  1. carsten01 Says:

    I visited the Global Education Conference session “Internationalizing the Classroom Without Leaving the Room” Presented by Betty Tonsing
    Betty’s idea is to bring students of different cultures together in order to dismantle myths, preoccupations, and stereotypes we all have in one or the other form. First doing this by physically going to places, Betty added technology and by doing so, she replaced the physical part with an virtual one. Doing that she provides to a greater range of students the opportunity of interacting with foreign cultures. Students might not have the chance to go abroad, due to money, time schedules etc. On her website http://www.globalvisits.com/ she gives information and first contacts to get started.
    How to adapt that to a language classroom?
    The focus was more on cultural exchange and understanding of very different cultures like the US and Lebanon. But I think it is also very valuable for cultures that are –arguably- not that far apart, as for example the U.S. and Germany.
    Getting in contact with people of another culture can be very motivating and informative. Not only can learners practice their language skills, but also they could be in a café in Berlin or at a breakfast table of a Swabian family which provides them with the opportunity to learn “live-culture”. Through such a “cultural informant” learners would gain little pieces of insight, which might be enough to spark greater interest.
    The fact that she gave hands-on help made me somewhat reflective. We all are now working to implement technology into our classroom. We all use by now some specific tools and have gained experience in using them. We all came up with so many great ideas to connect continents -for example Eleonora’s skype project. The more we accumulate, the more it becomes crucial that we share so other teachers can gain from our experience and help their students to better learn and understand; just as we did/do.
    In short, the more we accumulate the more we need to create communities of practice.

    • Eleonora Boscolo Camiletto Says:

      I think this a very interesting idea. Understanding the target culture and the differences between cultures is a very important step that is usually not covered in a language class or at least not enough. In a language class this would also give the students a purpose or goal to learn the language

      • Barbara Says:

        Why do you think this is the case? What makes it difficult to help students develop intercultural competencies? Is it the students? The course materials? Teaching methods? Time constraints? The knowledge and abilities of the instructors? Current instructional paradigms?

        • Eleonora Boscolo Camiletto Says:

          Well, in an average language class there is just enough time to study the language itself, it is hard to combine both (language and culture) in an activity that captures the interest of the students. This idea would serve a practical purpose in the study of both language and culture.

          • Barbara Says:

            I wonder if and how global collaborative learning environments that foster communities of practice as we’ve discussed here and using project-based learning, gaming, and service learning can change that.

            • carsten01 Says:

              I think we are able to change that to a great extend. By placing content more into context, by using more online tools and tasks we motivate our students more and use structures they use. However, “it takes two to dance tango” i.e. we can only go that far to motivate.
              As important as it is to create a creative classroom environment, we need to leave the classroom and make students aware of the benefits and needs to study languages. We have to connect languages with other disciplines and make our students aware that in a globalized and globalizing world, languages in connection with other fields is the way to go. Only then, I feel, can we change the paradigm of “how can I motivate my students” to “what can I do for my students because they ask me for more.”

              • claudiopi Says:

                I guess that International(izing) is the keyword for most of us as foreign language teachers… I think there is still a very rooted approach (no matter who gives or receives education) that sees language as something not more dynamic than a role-play or in-class games. We can’t blame it all on the teacher. I would love my students to know that Italian culture is so different from the Italian American culture… that there is so much more to know about than just know how to say hi, I feel like I’m provided with no means to do what I ideally would like. So there are paradigms that are quite fixed and some that probably aren’t… I’m wondering if leaving the book aside in class would help getting that taste of Italian(German/…)-ization.

              • jarcastillo Says:

                I think one way in which we are already trying to provide content into context here at UConn is through the Linkage Through Language (LTL) program. Of course the motivation is already in those students that enroll in an additional course for the sake of practicing a target language. From my experience with LTL, students can benefit from personally from the language-learning experience by bringing their own interests into the course. For example, this semester I’m leading an animal science LTL (which has nothing to do with anything that I research or am personally interested) where we have discussed specific vocabularies and scenarios from the field of animal sciences where Spanish would be beneficial to them. One of the students has started researching internships where she could put into practice the information we have discussed in our one-hour discussion groups. This only works after students have gained a basic level of competence in the target language so that we can organize our classes around their needs.

    • aljarrash Says:

      Focusing on culture exchange and understanding a different culture is a very nice idea developed by Betty which helps students when learning a language.Cultural awareness should be viewed when speaking a language .Everyday language is tinged with cultural bits and pieces “a fact that most people seem to ignore”.I agree with Eleonora that we almost focus on the language which we teach from the books and don’t have enough time to spend in teaching culture as it is difficult to combine them all in one activity.On the other hand ,I think a language teaching is a culture teaching because when teaching a language ,we don’t teach only who talks to whom and what’s being said ,but we teach when ,what,how and where the communication proceeds.For example ,if some one is studying Arabic ,he is not merely studying the linguistic aspects of Arabic.He is studying how do people pronounce words,use the language with each other and what body language is integrated with the spoken one.He wants to know how natives use the language in their everyday routine deals.I saw that students mostly show a desire to get the language while immersing themselves into the whole culture of the language .I am really interested in the idea of Betty and it is worth a try in the future.

      • melinaanne Says:

        I agree that immersion is really the key to learning a foreign language, which is why I think the whole learning paradigm in place at higher level institutions is so frustrating to us as language teachers. We would all love to be able to create a completely authentic learning environment and make the students feel as if they’ve been transported to the country or culture in question. Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to create those kinds of do-or-die, survival situations that motivate language learning in a regular classroom, especially when most of us have to cover a significant amount of grammar by the end of the semester in the relatively few hours a week we spend with the students. We would love for students to really feel what it’s like to order their own coffee in the chaos of an Italian bar or ask directions in a foreign city. Role-playing is effective but has a built-in safety net–they can always ask how to say something, and the minute it is over they can talk about the experience in English. The positive thing is that global communities such as are suggested here could be the closest thing to a “full-immersion” environment we can get without leaving the country. I’m sure that Eleonora’s Skype project has made an indelible mark on her students’ experience with Italian–they will always remember the conversation they had because they were active contributors in an authentic exchange. They were able to speak with an Italian other than their teacher and truly engage with her. That is so motivating, and so satisfying. If students can touch something themselves, and feel personally affected by something, their learning experience (and thus their motivation) is ten times richer.

        • beatebirkefeld Says:

          Not to praise my own project too much, I do think that combining language and culture is feasible. Most of you have heard of my project. I have my student research cultural events of 20th century Germany and jump into the role of ficticious characters. Even though I try not to tell my students it too much, I let let them know that I am more interested in them playing around with the words and vocabulary than using accurate grammar. Getting myself used to the idea was certainly more difficult than convincing my students of it, but I strongly belief that content comes before grammar. By that I mean that the goal of the cultural project should be the number one priority before grammatical correctness. What I do plan on doing is for example: “Ok, for Monday, please write 50 words about your character’s childhood using 5 relative clauses.” Teachers have long focused too much on grammar and syntax than content or the use of creativity. Can we start a top-down approach using the knowledge of culture as the ultimate approach and then slowly proceed to grammatical details?

        • Karen Zook Says:

          especially when most of us have to cover a significant amount of grammar by the end of the semester in the relatively few hours a week we spend with the students.

          This is absolutely what “gets” me about language instruction at the college level. The expectation is that the students are progressing quickly (which is fine), with, proportionally, a much smaller number of in-classroom hours than language students in K-12. It really shifts the whole focus from immersion to grammar memorization. In some ways, this works well for dead languages (and I’m going to use “dead languages” to mean “no longer spoken and not taught in a practomimetic way,” because otherwise this comment could be a dissertation), but I can’t imagine how frustrating this would be for an instructor in, say, Italian or German or Spanish.

          • jarcastillo Says:

            I think this is a very important point that Karen makes: “The expectation is that the students are progressing quickly (which is fine), with, proportionally, a much smaller number of in-classroom hours than language students in K-12.” I never stopped to think about why it is (in the case of Spanish here at UConn) we are almost obsessively trying to cover all the grammar we can in 4 semesters, yet the grammar remains isolated. In other words, this semester all we can talk about has to be in the present tense, next semester in the past tenses, or later in the subjunctive and so on and so forth. To further complicate things, a student with a C- at the end of the semester who has struggled to “pass” the course is allowed to continue. It seems as though they are already at a disadvantage. Instead, I think if we changed our objectives from students covering x, y, z in terms of grammar throughout the semesters and focused on practical, communicative situations. I think my students would be better off in the “real world” if they could at least master just the present and past tense, even if it takes them four semesters, specially considering the contact hours we have with our students.

  2. melinaanne Says:

    I attended Anne Shaw’s session on Food and Culture in 21st century schools, in which she presented a global collaborative project organized by her institution. The project consists in connecting two or more classrooms from two or more countries and focuses on what Shaw calls “actual collaboration”, i.e. not your average pen pal exchange of information. There are two main goals: to create both a 21st Century Kids’ Global Cookbook and a Global Children’s Literature Database. Teachers can register on the project website (http://www.21stcenturyschools.com/Food_and_Culture.htm) and receive an invitation to join the wiki. The project coordinators will then put the class in contact with another class or classes in another part of the world. All participating classes are required to read the book Hungry Planet as an introduction to the project. Each class submits recipes, essays, photos, artwork, etc…, as well as a video for the cookbook, and three books from their country to the literature database. The project is based on UN millennium development goals for global competencies. In the course of the project, students will 1. investigate the world 2. recognize perspectives 3. communicate ideas and 4. take action. The project also brings to light real world issues such as globalization, the environment, and social issues. It is open to students from grades K-16. Shaw never mentioned this, but I wonder if the project could also have a linguistic aspect. Would it be possible to unite an American classroom with an Italian one to not only share food practices and literature but also use these cultural aspects as a vehicle to practice language? In any case, I appreciated the idea behind the project to encourage students to study “with” the world rather than “about” it. I am currently taking a course on food in Italian literature, history and art, and if I were to ever teach a similar course in the future, I would like to offer my students the chance to gain a broader worldview on the topic through collaboration on this project. Food is such a significant part of our culture, and the world revolves around it in so many ways. A project like this one would increase their awareness not only of what they eat, but the global implications of their food choices.

  3. melinaanne Says:

    I also visited a session by Dr. Sarah Elaine Eaton from the University of Calgary on Global Trends in Language Learning. She reiterated many of the main points we have made in class this semester, and she even talked briefly about gaming. Her presentation consisted of a series of things that are “out” in language learning, followed by a list of what is “in.” She began by acknowledging that the old saying we have probably heard so often, and that we so often tell our own students (“knowing languages can get you a better job”) is not necessarily incorrect but difficult to prove quantifiably. Rather, these language skills must be combined with technology and leadership capabilities proven concretely by things like eportfolios. The discussion on gaming came into play in reference to another problematic saying (that “learning languages is easy”). Dr. Eaton quoted the work of Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers) and others, acknowledging that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something, i.e. that it takes years to achieve fluency in a language. She claimed that students recognize this need to dedicate time in order to achieve a higher level through video games, as they (perhaps unconsciously) log hours and hours in order to perfect their performance and reach other levels. Just as it is difficult to master a video game in the first try, so it is with language learning. She also spoke about the need to transition from an instructor-centered course to a learner-centered one, something we have talked about at length in this class. She also mentioned placing learning in real world contexts and linking it to leadership skills which could indirectly lead to jobs. Another point she brought up which we have also discussed in class was the need to create asset-based assessments rather than grammar-based written tests. Assessment should be focused on frameworks and benchmarks, as well as being based on the students’ ability to communicate and comprehend. Lastly, she reinforced the importance of using technology in the classroom and indicated that trends show that in the near future students will be doing a great deal of classwork and homework directly on their mobile phones. This session was particularly useful in reaffirming what we have been talking about in class all semester. I did not necessarily receive a great deal of new information from this session, but I felt that is was a confirmation of the fact that our course has put us on the same page as other educators around the world. It was a global reinforcement that we are talking about the right things and looking in the right direction.

    • carsten01 Says:

      I think we need to be careful in determining what is “in” and what is “out”? It might be true that we have a greater oversight about certain trends of skills students need for their careers or that we know more about methodology, however, not all students like these new trends.
      In the German section we consider to purchase a new textbook which would be fully online. But when asked about this, my students said that they prefer having a printed textbook over an electronic one. In similar fashion, this was the case for exams. Some of my students prefer having grammar exams.
      I think that while changing the structures of courses we need to explain to our students why, and make them aware of the benefits. Our students, as we, come from an “old-fashioned” learning structure and benefits of change might not be easily seen.
      How do you think can we make our students aware? Do you think by shifting to hard from the “old-fashioned” model we might loose students? What do you think could be a good “middle-ground”?

    • Karen Zook Says:

      Oh, I love the mobile phone thing.

      Teaching over at the high school, I’m expected to strictly enforce a no-phones policy. It’s almost entirely a charade; the official handbook states that the students aren’t to have their phones on school grounds (which, let’s be honest, wasn’t the case when *I* was in high school, back in the dark ages of cell phone use in the midwest). Several times now I’ve had students ask if they could use their phones to look up something I’d asked them about (my response: “you’re trying to find an additional resource to learn more about this? … how can this possibly be against the learning objectives?”) and, once, to use the camera to take a picture of something they’d done on the board.

      In addition to that, playing off your comment above, it seems there’s some pedagogical value to breaking down the barrier between “school” and “not-school.” If we can make “school” more accessible/less unlike “not-school,” that should help to create the immersive environment we’d find ideal, at least in the sense that the students will eventually learn to apply the concepts they’re learning in a practical setting.

      That’s kind of a convoluted way of getting to my point, which is that making schoolwork accessible via cellphone (or other mobile devices) means the students are going to be thinking about their schoolwork more throughout the day, which is undoubtedly a good thing. It’s also going to let them create the neural pathways they need to access the things they’re learning in a non-classroom setting (that is, to use an overly simplistic example: if they’ve only ever done multiplication in a math classroom, it just might not occur to them to even try it when they encounter a use for it in the “real world.” If they’ve been making those connections all along, however, the skills they’re learning become much more readily applicable, without any additional work on the instructor’s part).

  4. Eleonora Boscolo Camiletto Says:

    The first session I attended was Yvonne Marie Andres’ “5 Powerful Things Teachers Can Do With Online Collaboration”. Professor Andres introduced her work and her project called Global School Net and explained how she has been using online collaborative tools to teach her classes. In this session she went over the 5 things she suggests are the basis for using online collaboration on the classroom. 1) Improve students’ academic performance through content driven collaboration (sharing their work, methods, tools, content, etc. through a social network-based collaboration). 2) Introduce students to collaboration skills they will be able to apply in the workforce (so the teacher will also be a mentor for using tools). 3) Prepare youth to be socially responsible global citizens (through online collaborative projects and competitions). 4) Develop valuable professional connections and 5) Make teaching & learning more enjoyable & relevant experiences.
    I have to say I was a little disappointed by the fact that the session that was suppose to start at 8 actually took place at 9 in a different room for technical problem and the presenter condensed this talk with a different keynote address. This did not allow time for questions and I felt like everything was rushed. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the talk and other than some obvious points, I learned about her work and projects and I think the collaborative projects and competitions are a very good idea.

    • aljarrash Says:

      The five points Andres gave were very important for teachers with online collaboration.Using different tools helps making an interesting class and gets more attention from students.It is really my first time to teach using a network or even with computers here in America but it sounds so interesting.That is what I found when first used my network project with my students .The five powerful things Andres mentioned are good to be applied and gone through for a perfect time control and more advantages for students.I think it takes time to do that but I’m sure we can do that.

  5. Eleonora Boscolo Camiletto Says:

    The second session I attended was Maria de la Paz and Adelia Peña Clavel’s “Video Chat: A Tool to Develop Autonomy in Students of a Foreign Language”. At the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, they have developed a project called Mediateca. This project is based on the use of electronic media to promote autonomy in language learning. Students who decide to participate first meet with a counselor to discuss their learning methods and “learning to learn” in order to find out what is the best way for the student to approach foreign language learning.
    The project uses chat (text, audio or video, but mostly video) to have students teach each other their native language. This means the object of the project is not only autonomy but also reciprocity. The practical video chat sessions are individual or group 50-60 minute Skype chats and the topic is chosen by the students. Maria de la Paz explains how this usually results is a culture topic allowing the student to learn about grammar and culture at the same time. The students can attend as many sessions as they want and they can learn at their own pace and according to their needs.
    Feedback from students demonstrated the success of this project: some say they didn’t think they could speak the language that well until they attended sessions regularly, others say that session by session it helped them learn from their mistakes and that they get to learn about culture and improve their skills with online tools.
    I found this session very interesting especially because after the two Skype sessions I did in my class students started asking if it was possible to do the same thing 1 on 1.

    • jarcastillo Says:

      It’s interesting that you mentioned the process of “learning to learn” as one of the first things these students had to reflect on before participating in this project. Of course “learning to learn” is nothing new, and yet a very important pedagogical shift as we seek to become better instructors ourselves. It made me think of a session I attended hosted by Vicky Colbert de Arboleda entitled “Escuela Nueva: Una Educación Con Calidad y Equidad Para La Convivencia Pacífica.” Colbert de Arboleada, among other things, discusses what skills are necessary for the 21st century. One of them being the ability to “learn how to learn.” This is one of the skills that their “new school” (escuela nueva) implements in their pedagogical shift.

    • Niko Says:

      The Mediateca project sounds very interesting. It is awesome that the students are teaching each other and that they are able to descide when and what they want to learn. I am always fascinated by teachers who focus on Learner Autonomy in the class and the outcomes that they are achieving. Especially because after school they are prepared for a life-long learning on their own. But whenever I read articles or books on this topic, I ask myself how the teacher makes sure that the content is learned. When I read a book by Leni Dam about Learner Autonomy I was so puzzled how her way of teaching worked out with students who are first semester second langauge learners. And here I ask myself the same question again: You say “students can attend as many sessions as they want and they can learn at their own pace and according to their needs.”.. How does she make sure that they reach the goals of the curriculum?

  6. jarcastillo Says:

    I attended Emily Keating’s session Cinemania: Exploring World Film with Youth. Keating discussed a community project she has developed in Pleasantville, NY in collaboration with the Jacob Burns Film Center as an after-school project for 8th graders. The purpose of her project is to develop visual media literacy that same way students are literate in terms of print media. Films from all over the world are chosen that present stories where the main characters are children or adolescents. Some of the films showing this session (2010-2011) are: The Bicycle Thieves (Italy), Offsides (Iran), Max Minsky and Me (Germany), The 400 Blows (France), Rabbit Proof Fence (Australia), and Edward Scissorhands (USA).
    Keating emphasizes her desire to showcase representations that are truthful and not stereotypical caricatures. Prior to showing the film, a presenter gives a brief introduction providing a historical and social context as well as film techniques that they will be seeing used by the director. Keating states that this helps the students develop the necessary vocabulary (read visual literacy) necessary for an analysis of the film. The students hold a discussion after each film screening and are asked to post film reviews on Cinemania’s blog.
    Through the screening of the films and the students’ subsequent blog posts, Keating hopes to encourage the students’ social emotional development as well as establish film connections to their curriculum. The ultimate goal of Keating is to encourage students to become “good digital citizens” by engaging the necessary tools with the appropriate language as they develop cross-cultural competence. For more suggestions of using film in the classroom she suggests visiting Journeys in Film.
    Of course this can also be done at the college-level where we can continue to develop visual literacy either through the many film courses currently being taught at UConn or through the creation of a film club.

  7. aljarrash Says:

    The first session I attended ,Successful Collaborative projects from Hong Kong,by Thomas Beckett.
    He talked about his project “Ming the Minibus ” and its idea.He said ‘it was established in 2007 in Hong Kong’.I asked him about the meaning of the word”ming”,and he said” in China it means to get in to the bus”.Ming the Minibus is a character created to bring the local content readers in to Hong Kong,Chinese and Asian schools.The idea of Ming the minibus is very simple and so interesting.It is basically to email a template of the Ming the Minibus to classrooms around the world to involve students receiving the fold-up template of the Ming the Minibus character which they then make and photograph it in a famous or interesting location near their schools ” near something that identifies its location”.Students can add texts or write about the place .Then they email the photographs back to Thomas Beckett who puts them later into online books and distribute them throughout classes in Hong Kong and China to help with teaching and learning English language .He said that it would be useful with all different ages of students and in different classes if it is used properly by the teacher. Epal provides access to other schools and projects ,too http://www.epals.com/projects
    Difficulties might be faced with this project can be considered as minor ones but important to look for a solution for each.One of the problems and one of the big issues to run this project is the tools you use since you have to put in mind that technology is different in schools and some schools they don’t have at all.Another problem is the text students put on the templates ,sometimes they are hard to be understood .Thomas mentioned all these things with the idea of Ming the Minibus in his website http://www.mingtheminibus.com
    The Ming the Minibus is an interesting idea while it is not a person centered ,just what comes, will be sent to others .

  8. claudiopi Says:

    The first Elluminate session that I have participated in was presented by Wesley Freyer, a professor at the University of Central Oklahoma. He teaches a class called “Technology 4 Teachers” and is also an international learning consultant. His presentation, titled “Education Collaborators”, was very well-organized and gave me the opportunity to know new tools and get new ideas. He started his speech with the right spirit and stated something that has not to be taken for granted: “sharing is fundamental.” He also provided participants with a virtual business card. (You send a text message and you get the person’s contact info via sms. It is done with Contxts.com)
    So, Freyer opened his speech making a distinction between a wiki and a blog, and tried to involve the people asking what we thought the differences were. During the discussion, a wiki was eventually defined as something fast and quick (in fact, wiki takes its name from the adjective quick), a document that can be built alone or with the collaboration of others.
    A blog (let’s recall its origin, that is [web]log) instead is a page with a series of entries showing the date and time and Wesley also talked about it in didactic terms showing examples of educative blogs. One was KinderKids’ Blog, maintained by a teacher in elementary school. The same teacher has a wiki where she uses Glogster as an embedded content for students to practice spelling, reading, etc.
    Freyer talked about other resources that we may have not mentioned in class and these are Class Blogmeister, Ipadio (a New Zealand project that allows users to create phonecast, that is record phonecalls and stream them on the web live). Another very useful one that is worth a more in-depth exploration is Posterous. With this tool you can send an e-mail (attaching anything you want, a picture, a video or a doc file) and at the same time you update all of the social networks you are in (Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, etc. etc.). It is a really great service that saves you time if you work with social networks a lot.
    Great presentation, indeed. If you wish that you attended it, here is a link to the slides that Freyer showed on Elluminate.

    • claudiopi Says:

      The second session I attended was being presented by Maggie Kaiser on Friday, hopefully one of the few interesting presentations on that day. The title was Professional Development 2.0: Technologies that Connect Teachers with Global Knowledge, People, and Resources and this was sponsored by the Primary Source organization, which Kaiser is part of. It is a non-profit organization, located in Watertown, Massachusetts (outside of Boston) and their aim is to provide educators (the target is K-12 teachers) with intensive thematic courses on many world regions (Asia, Africa, the Americas, etc.). To fulfill their purpose they do offer online learning platforms and resources. They also have some special programs and among them is the travel study program, which permit educators from all over the world to travel, meet and learn cultivating their passion for world history (which is the focus of the organization) and cultural exchange.
      During the presentation, Kaiser talked and discussed about several platforms or tools that we have already been going through, such as Moodle, LibGuides, Jing, Delicious. The speaker mentioned that a goal of Primary Source is to model tools for teachers so that they feel comfortable using them in class. And I thought that this was a very important statement, a detail that has not to be neglected. Isn’t it important that the teacher feels comfortable and eager to use a certain means of learning? I think we mentioned this in previous posts where we would reflect on the need of the tool being modeled on the teacher rather than the opposite.
      Kaiser then talked and made a distinction between Moodle and LibGuides. For the first one (very well know as a learning management system) she took their course on Ancient China as an example. There a discussion forum is one of the useful things being featured and students are required to use it in order to have a community of learning. As regards LibGuides instead, this platform is used for sort of mini-sites presenting resource guides on subjects, classes, and also tools, all of them sorted by author or group. It also gets enhanced by the possibility of embedding videos. And it seems like more than 1500 worldwide universities are using it (including Primary Source and UConn, of course!)
      So my question is, could LibGuides be considered as a good way of filtering the information on the web for students or teachers (as in the case of this presentation)?
      In conclusion, the presentation was useful and it was great to see that communities of practice strongly exist and go beyond every boundary. A community of practice is running somewhere on the web and they are there to share it on the 2010 Global Ed Conference. Isn’t that an upper-level community of practice in the end?

  9. aljarrash Says:

    The second session I attended was presented by Brain Mannix,titled “How could War look different?”.Mannix started talking about his project that he established for students to share ideas about wars all over the globe.It is mainly a project on ning which allows people to talk about how to teach warfare,revolutionary war and colonization .He started thinking about this project while teaching in class.He divided the class into two groups and asked them to talk about historical war characters and they did.”It was interesting “,he said and so he created his website http://www.onlinewarfare.ning.com
    There are so many pages in this website in which one of them is the wiki page which so many wars from all over the world are included ,www.onlinewarfare.wikispace.com ,and anyone can create or add to the wiki.
    One of the questions in the session was ‘how is it good for the classroom and what should be avoided when using this website?.Brain Mannix answered that it is good for students to learn about wars ,the causes of wars ,the cultural aspects of the cause of the wars and to learn from each others perspectives as well.It involves students and engage them in a critical thinking that they should come up with something at the end.It is a better way to learn to attain peace by looking at the past wars.
    The teacher is preferably to choose wars from other countries that students are not from to avoid sensitivity among students during the discussions .
    Students can use other websites or tools like google and twitter to get information about wars they like to talk about ,how many troops ,soldiers,the start time of the war,experience and ages and how the technical innovation influenced .They can make a propoganda film ,too.
    it is a very nice idea to teach a language ,but it takes a long time from students and teachers as well to search for wars’ true information before any discussion.

  10. carsten01 Says:

    In his illuminating session on 21st century skills: Learning for Life, Charles Fadel makes the participants reflect on 21st century skills and their deployment in the classroom. What are 21st century skills? How can you prepare students for the new Global Economy? These are the leading questions throughout the session. In a (post-)modern version of Albert Einstein’s quote Imagination is more important than knowledge, Fadel suggests that skills are more important than knowledge.
    What will the world be in 20 years, he asked, knowing that nothing but ambiguity and uncertainty can be predicted with, indeed, certainty. We live in a globalized world which becomes even more globalized each day. Thus teachers and learners have to adapt. Unlike memorized content, what we learn and teach has to be placed in context. This practices to adopt theory onto the “real world” and in addition problem solving strategies. An emphasis on skill acquisition prepares learners to adapt to a world that demands more and more non-routine work, and broad as well as in-depth knowledge about a variety of fields. Skills that need to be focused on are skills that support life-long learning, teamwork, leadership, critical thinking etc.
    There is an overlap between Fadel’s session and our class. The variety of tools in our syllabus allows us to focus on such skills while we teach. These tools let us create platforms for our students and ourselves to create communities of practice and to participate in networks of knowledge. Especially in the languages we need to make our students –if they are not already- aware of the global framework the working world is in. The P21-Program –a partnership between 21 globally operating companies is just one example of the scale of global embeddedness of companies and their benchmark for future employees and leaders.
    The focus has clearly to be on the practical side. How do we place content in context? What products do our students produce when they leave the classroom? To what extent do we help them to meet the requirements of the 21st century? Yet however, theory should not be forgotten altogether. As Fadel argues, there has to be a good balance between practice and theory. Theory can help to understand concepts and to produce individual and creative outcomes. It can help us to understand a problem more thoroughly.
    Most of us appreciate the new challenges –even if we cannot wholly predict them- we are facing and the necessity to implement new curricula. This urgent call is maybe most loudly disseminated by J. Michael Adams, President of Farleigh Dickinson University in his approach to the “Saber-Tooth Curriculum” But the University of Connecticut itself has not been inactive. Its Global Citizenship Curriculum Committee tries to implement what is also on Pres. Adam’s and Charles Fadel’s minds; to educate the student of the 21st century.

    • melinaanne Says:

      I appreciate the notion of finding a balance between practice and theory. I think that, essentially, the goal in all this 21st century talk of teaching and learning is to find a balance. We don’t have to forget about past teaching methods and learning styles–we have to evolve them. We don’t have to stop teaching grammar–we have to place it in context. We have to teach in a way that discourages memorization and encourages being able to find patterns and problem solve. In this way, language learning can be recognized for what it is: an honest, authentic way of interacting, engaging, and making meaning in a global world, a skill that can span the school curriculum and adapt to the unpredictablity of the working world of the 21st century.

      • claudiopi Says:

        Good reflection, Melina. One cannot take over the other. Practice can’t prescind from theory and vice versa. And the aspect of living in the 21st century involves our continuous need of updating our skills as teachers. However, as a matter of fact, educators in most fields always have to go along with time changes, since different generations of students follow one another, and we don’t want teaching to be synchronic, but rather diachronic. The urgent need is now clearly coming out stronger because of the global village we live in.
        I think that we have to consider ourselves honored (!!) to teach a language, because a language involves the understanding of the small world where this language is spoken, which also offers a reflection of the entire world through the lenses of the small one. That is why practice definitely needs to be reinforced. There is still so much theoretical approach and we don’t realize that sometimes it is just the human pretention of fixing a world in motion. I wonder to what extend web 2.0 is going to succeed in helping us change/improve the methods for language teaching.

    • aljarrash Says:

      It is a great idea that theory and Practice should be evolved as there should be a balance between them.I agree with the idea that the time is changing and no one can predict what is coming.Technology makes everything easier and changing faster and makes the human needs grown up.In the field of teaching as well,there is a big difference in the ways,tools and methodologies occur from a time to another.The teacher should keep up-to-date to all what’s new and be creative to meet all what is expected to be met ahead in the future.It is an experience I had it myself in a short period of time .I was a teacher back home and all the tools,method and ways I was using in teaching were different from those I found when I moved in here.Through this course ,I did learn a lot of things which I will try as much as I can to use in the future with my students.I think the teacher needs to search and study more than students do to give something worth.Teaching becomes internationally correlated .The classroom students can navigate through the whole world during the time of the lesson which means that the teacher should have a sea of information and should be able to use tools properly to go with them .Being able to use different tools , relating them to what is taught and making a more interesting class are skills the teacher needs to get.

  11. beatebirkefeld Says:

    I had the opportunity to see the recordings of two conferences on Global Citizenship. Wikipedia defines the term as “a moral and ethical disposition which can guide the understanding of individuals or groups of local and global contexts, and remind them of their relative responsibilities within various communities.” UConn’s Global Citizenship program describes the concept’s value for students “on one hand to help them prepare for careers in the global marketplace/world and on the other hand to help them become reflective, concerned, contributing members of the global community.” In the first talk on Global and Multicultural Citizenship the presenter Gary Shaw talked about the work of the Victoria Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (Australia) and their promotion for creating a multicultural awareness. While the illuminate session was largely dominated by technical difficulties, Gary Shaw’s wiki provides great strategies and examples on how to educate global citizenship. One example is the Miniature Earth project, which describes what our world would look like if it was represented by a community of only 100 people, but keeping the same population proportions as of today: The result is that roughly one third of the world’s population live with less than 2 USD a day, while 6 people own 59% of the miniature community. As a follow-up in-class activity the teacher would challenge their students by questioning their own lives critically. According to that, students would first observe, then think, and finally wonder about the global and local impact of their actions. How do we draw the line to teaching foreign languages? It may be a too idealistic idea, but even a small-scale language classroom can have an impact. When we teach students to apply their FL with native speakers in the native country, indulge in its culture and experience tradition and customs, we can analyze, compare, and think critically. Only if we understand what makes up another culture, we can place our own into a global context and form our own individual stands; who are we and what is our function in the global context. And this can start at the kindergarten age. While in the following example the student did not know a FL yet, she demonstrated her newly acquired understanding of other cultures into the classroom. After learning about students from an African country in class, a Chicago student returned to school one morning with the idea of a schoolbag-drive. She had learned that there are students in other countries who are less privileged than she was and now wanted to send schoolbags filled with school supplies to Africa. She had understood the gap between two children from two different continents and now wanted to make a change from a local to global level. This happened at the Academy of Global Citizenship in Chicago and was presented in the second recording: The Academy of Global Citizenship is a charter school in the center of Chicago that has already attracted nationwide media attention in the two years of its existence. Their mission is to nurture inner city students in order to develop the skills a global citizen possesses. The school primarily creates their own curriculum with students from kindergarten to third grade. Biology is taught through the school’s own vegetable garden. The school has their own chickens, which provide kids with fresh eggs every morning right after their daily yoga session. Lunch is prepared fresh from organic foods and distributed by local farmers. Students take field trips to architecture firms and even planned their school of the future presenting it in art projects and developing maps using their math skills. Number one on children’s wish list was to be connected to the environment: Through the glass roof of the school they wanted to be able to see the birds; they wanted corners for quiet time where they can relax and read a books. The overall echo was that learning does not stop upon leaving the school’s premises. Instead, learning happens whenever we activate our senses. Teachers are primarily the nurturer who constantly feed us with “stuff to explore”. As we have seen in many examples over the course of this semester, we learn best when we are challenged to create in an authentic setting. The teachers at this particular school have set an unprecedented example on how education can work and what kids should really be doing growing up. It is about activating their senses for learning through the environment, observing, thinking, imagining, creating, experiencing, and finally giving students the option to learn collaboratively as well individually. One last example includes a teacher skyping into the classroom from Antarctica. She had received a grant to explore climate change and was now explaining kids why it is so important to be environmentally conscious in order to save polar bears from going extinct due to the melting ice. As a result one student said he/she wanted to become a scientist for animals who might go extinct.

    • Barbara Says:

      Beate, you mentioned that you viewed the recordings for this session. I wonder, is it a different experience for you to engage with a recorded session versus a live session? If so, in what way? If online content becomes a standard component for student learning in the near future do you have any thoughts about what shape it should take based on your experiences thus far both as an educator and as a learner?

      Do you have any ideas for ways we can have our language learners experience, create and collaborate in authentic settings?

      • beatebirkefeld Says:

        I think if online content really does become the primary source for learning in the future we need to find a way to have our students become active contributors in this process. We talked a lot about collaborating this semester and how we need to have a shift from the word “work” getting counted as “contribution”. I listened to the recordings of the two online sessions, but I had no way to participate or make my voice heard. Unless someone finds a way to bring authentic settings (don’t get me wrong, Skype and Elluminate can be counted as authentic, but do not require the use of all our senses) into the classroom or the classroom becomes a global network of learners and educator. The classroom reaching out to a larger community of practice is most likely what will happen in the future On the other hand, we are creating an even larger gap between (Western ideas) education across the globe . Because this Western education had laid the groundwork for the “control” of our planet, I feel even more the need to include the lesser technology advanced countries into the discourse. I’d like to see a middle way between the classroom reaching out and a global network contributing to the smaller classroom/community of practice. The Academy for Global Citizenship is doing exactly that and inspires to bridge such as educational gaps.

      • Niko Says:

        Barbara, I also watched the recorded sessions instead of being part of a live session. There is a huge difference. First of all, you cannot participate and share your thoughts and ideas about the topic. Because of this, you do not really feel like a part of the online community and are more likely to get bored or stop listening. I found myself several times reading something or chatting with my friends while I was watching the recording. This did not happend when I was part of live sessions. There, I paid much more attention and tried to express my opinion. Also, I was afraid to miss a poll or question that is asked.
        This shows that it a challenge for educators who use online lectures to attract the viewers attention and listen to the recordings activly.

  12. jarcastillo Says:

    Martin H. F. Gonser gives an overview of the technologies and tools currently available to teach in a Web 2.0 world in his presentation “Thinking Linearly in a Non-Linear World: R U INter-generational, INnovative, iNterdisciplinary, iNquiry-based and iNteractive 2?” Gonser starts his session with Michael Wesch’s video “The Machine is Us/ing Us” (which we saw in our third session) and posing the question that if we consider how fast and far the tools and technologies have evolved, shouldn’t the 2.0 already be at 48 point something. His overview focuses on four ideas of how “these are not your parent’s (or sibling’s) tools.” Today’s tools and technologies are: (of course) interactive (as the definition of Web 2.0 indicates); users require/expect immediate response and information; they should connect with great resources and primary sources; and be permanent. Gonser glosses over the technology that is available to use in the classroom including readers, tablets, mp3 players, “smart” phones, and interactive tools (whiteboards and smart pens). When asked about how he deals with a school’s policy to prohibits the use of phones. He commented that the use of the phones is outside of school time since they cannot have them during school hours (they are confiscated and parents must pick them up), but uses them for students to establish communities of practice. This reminds me of what Karen had mentioned earlier of “breaking down the barrier between ‘school’ and ‘not-school’. One of the questions that went unanswered in great part because of time constraints was the the accessibility of these tools/technologies (not the web-based per se) to schools and students because of cost. It does not seem fair (or realistic for that matter) to expect students to go out and purchase an iPad or other kind of tablet. Another web-based tools he presented was Nicenet.org, which is a Blackboard (HuskyCT) type of platform where instructors and students can conference, schedule work, exchange documents, and share links. One of the great things about Nicenet (as its mottos states “The Classroom Is Not a Marketplace”) is that it is a free platform with many of the tools of Blackboard. An excellent site that Gonser also mentioned was ANVILL (A National Virtual Language Lab) which can be of great use to use as language instructors. ANVILL allows students to practice their oral skills through web-based audio and videos. It allows instructors to easily incorporate their own audio and video into a lesson through TCast. The great thing about these last two tools is that they are free platforms we can use instead of those that require expensive technologies such as tablets or readers.

  13. Niko Says:

    I attend parts of (and watched the recording of) the session “Universal Design: Giving all Students a tech..” by Kristen Swanson. Last year I attended an interesting Summer Institute by the U.S. Department of State. In one of the many seminars I learned about Universal Design for Learning. During the seminar we focused on how to integrate students with disabilities into the classroom with help of using Universal Design for Learning principles. This is why I was very curious to see what Kristen is talking about.
    Universal Design means “that we give people tools so that are designed to extend access” (Kristen Swanson during the live session). One example for this is closed captioning. According to what I’ve learned last year, with help of the Universal Design for Learning every class should offer Multiple Means of Representation, Multiple Means of Expression and Multiple Means of Engagement:
    Multiple Means of Representation – This principle focuses on the content that is learned and the way it is presented. Information and content should be presented in different ways because students have different ways to perceive ad comprehend information. Some learn better with auditory or visual input rather than with printed text. The more we try to combine those ways f representing information the more likely it is that the students can access the information in an efficient way.
    Multiple Means Expression – Educators should offer different ways that students can express their knowledge. Some students have more difficulties to express themselves in written tests but not in oral speech and the other way around. If we for example want to see if a grammatical structure was learned we should offer different ways to express this knowledge to make sure that the student is able to say Multiple Means of Engagement are essential for stimulating interest and motivation for learning. Students want to be challenged and interested. Offering Multiple Means of Engagement can help lowering the affective filter.

    Kristen presented how to put together a tech toolkit for a classroom according to the Universal Design priciples. She for example introduced firefox-plugins like read it later, google translatorand readability. Readability is great for students who are easily distracted. It removes ads and images from pages and only presents the text that the students want to access. Her favorite tool however is fire vox. It does full text to speech. This is especially beneficial for students who have problems to read. Odiogo makes an automatic podcast out of any blog post you make on your blog.

    Those universal design principles and the tools presented during the session are geared towards students with disabilities. Why is this good for teachers who are teaching in an enviroment without students with disabilities?
    I think that those principles show us again that every student is different. Our students have diverse backgrounds, learning styles as well as objectives. Applying Universal Design principle also to a regular classroom helps to pick the students up from where they are. All students can benefit from it. If you have a student how is an audio-learner he might benefit from some of the tools she presented… and those we got to know during the semester. I do not really believe in text to speech tools but why not working with an audio book in addition to a regular text.. so that students can decide for their way to access the information. Why not offering different way of assessment? Students can create videos and put them on Youtube instead of expression their ideas in a written form.

  14. Niko Says:

    The second session I watched was called „Using Emerging Technologies to Create Collaborative Learning Enviroments“ by Vinnie Vrotny.
    According to Vrotny, there are several stages of collaboration which a parallel to child development. First of all we work and play individually. Then we start working parallel because we might work on the same thing at the same time but we do not share things and think across. After that we begin to associate because we have a shared like and need. We get an awareness of connections between people. The next stage is cooperation. We begin to share ideas and help each other. But it is not a true collaboration because in collaboration there is a give and take on common sets of ideas.
    In his classes he uses blogs, VoiceThread and Skype in the beginning. Later he adds google apps for education with gives access to email, chat, spreadsheets and forms.
    Vrotny criticizes that many teachers do not take the steps mentioned above into consideration when they want our students to collaborate. Students need some time to work parallel and get familiar with each other and the tools.
    It is not only important to collaborate to have a better environment for teaching. It can also be an example for their future life that collaboration is beneficial.
    I think it is very interesting that Vrotny talked about different steps of collaboration. It really is important that the students get used to the tools we are using in class but I never thought about getting used to collaboration itself. It kind of opened my eyes why students in my class in Germany, who never experienced group work before were insecure when I started using it during my lessons. This is something that could also happen when we asks our students to collaborate using web 2.0 tools.

  15. Niko Says:

    The session “Effective Web Tools for Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic Learners” by Amany H. ALKhayat attracted my attention because I thought it is highly interesting to see what kind of tools are out there for the different ways of learning. While the visual learner prefers reading, drawing and studying diagram, the auditory learner learns best by hearing information such responding to lectures they have heard and the kinesthetic learns best when body movement is involves. We need to address all of the learning styles in our teaching to make sure that everybody gets as much out of the class as possible.
    For visual learners she recommended mindmeister, an online mind-mapping tool that helps visualizing thoughts and ideas. Students can brainstorm online, share the maps and publish them on blogs or print them out. Another good way to visualize is the use of graphical dictionaries like visuwords. They create maps with other words that can explain the term you are looking up.
    Auditory learners can profit from audio books. A good source for audio books it the Project Gutenberg site which offers human-read and computer-generated audio books. These are free to be downloaded so that students can listen to them from their portable devices. Also, there are many free podcasts for all languages.
    Kinesthetic learners need to be physically involved and learn through scenarios and situations. Alice is a 3D programming software with which students can learn how to program videos. With Google SketchUp (another Google tool I never heard of?) students can create 3D objects and talk about them in class.
    While she gave very good tips for visual and auditory learners, I was not really sure how the 3D modeling programs can be beneficial. But in general I must say that I really liked that she encouraged the participants to rethink their lesson plans and offer multiple ways of accessing and working with information.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: