2011 Global Education Conference

For the second year in a row, we’ll be participating in the Global Education Conference, a completely free, online conference that seeks “to significantly increase opportunities for building education-related connections around the globe while supporting cultural awareness and recognition of diversity.” As literature, culture and language educators ourselves, conferences such as this must surely find resonance and the open and global nature of this conference will allow us to experience yet another aspect of the communities of practice framework that guides our work together here.

Following on what we did last year, we’ll all participate in a minimum of two live sessions of your choice which you will then blog about here, reflecting on what you learned and experienced. Please extend the learning by commenting on each other’s posts as you’ve done all semester with your previous postings!

We’ve a busy week ahead of us with the upcoming Global Education Conference and our rescheduled session with Ira Socol this Wednesday from 11:30 to 12:30 EST. I’m very glad that Ira has been able to make time in his busy schedule to talk with us. Prior to our open, online session with Ira, please review your questions for him as we will use these as the basis for our discussion with him. Ira has also responded to your questions and you can find his responses here.

UPDATE: The recording of our session with Ira Socol on universal design for learning and assessment is now up.

I’m excited to share with you that Ira has also written two blog posts based on your questions for him:
Suggesting new ways to see school, education, disability, and learning design
Suggesting new ways to see school, education, disability, and learning design Part 2

When you read his posts you’ll find thought-provoking insights and resources that will help you on your journey as learners and learning facilitators.

Our deadlines for our work together for the next two weeks is as follows:
November 14-18: Participation in two live Global Education Conference sessions
November 16: Our online session with Ira Socol
November 18: Our posts and comments on our Virtual, Mobile Connections materials are due
Thanksgiving break: Continue your work on your classroom project and presentation and your wiki work
November 28: Your individual Global Ed Conference posts are due
November 30: Your Global Ed Conference response posts are due

And finally, three past members of our course cohort and I will be sharing the ways in which our course components help prepare us to learn and teach in global communities of practice. We would love to have you share your insights and experiences with us as well if you have the time. We’ll be presenting on November 15 from 4-5 p.m. EST.

Here is the link to our session proposal.

Here is the recording of our Global Ed Conference session.


25 Responses to “2011 Global Education Conference”

  1. edadedebas Says:

    The first session I attended was titled “Teaching Generation Text.” The presenters were Willyn Webb and Lisa Nielsen. The presenters wrote a book with the same title and they have a blog called The Innovative Educator. In the session, they discussed the significance of using cell phones in classroom. Their talk focused on K-12 students but they kept giving examples for the instructor in higher education. There were more than 60 participants and the chat area was very busy. They wanted to introduce 4 tools that enhance learning and could be applied in using cell phones. First of all, they start by explaining how important it has become for young people to use cell phones. Instead of banning them in class, they proposed using several web sites to make them participate in the class. The first tool is Poll Everywhere. They emphasized the importance of instant responses and underlined how students felt themselves more engaged in the class. After introducing Poll Everywhere, they sent a link through chat area and requested us to participate in a poll for the session and make us have the empathy. Their main point was that Poll Everywhere enables you to include parents, siblings and other colleagues in the same poll. Secondly, they discussed Flickr as a tool that enhances learning and then asked everyone to take a photo or a video of themselves and send to a link. They wanted to create a slide show of the participants. Thirdly, they discussed Twitter and creating a hashtag and sharing it with the students. In relation to Twitter, they emphasized the fact that it makes students participate not just in class but all the time. It is more direct and it is not confined to the classroom but extends the boundaries of learning. Since there were a lot of questions streaming in the chat area, they could not really talk about the fourth tool in depth. The last tool was iPadio, an online phone casting system. Generally speaking, I found the session very useful. The content was presented well and they made the participants active explore the two of the tools by themselves.

    • soledadre Says:

      Hello Eda, thanks for your post. I find the use of cellphones a reality that we cannot avoid. Why not using within the classroom something that we use everyday? However, I have the concern that I usually have with individual technologies within the classroom. Not every student has such a good cellphone. For instance, neither my American nor my Spanish cellphone have Internet access so I could not do many of the activities. Moreover, I personally do not mind laughing about the high-quality of my phones (in fact, right now I could afford better ones but I just do not want) but maybe when I was a teenager it could have made me feel in inferiority with rapport to my classmates. I do not know, I really think new technologies are great and that we need to use those technologies our students feel more confident with; nevertheless, I also think we really need to take into account each one of our students, think if everyone will have a equal access to that technology and if its introduction will make someone feel apart, “weird” in this tech society.

      • edadedebas Says:

        Hi Soledad, I share your concerns, too. The presenters had the same concerns. They suggested that having a smartphone could be an option in class or the students can use their laptops in laptops. They also suggested that the smart phones could be loaned from the schools and returned at the end of the semester. I don’t think they will be comfortable by using another phone, a phone that they are familiar with.

  2. marineuconn Says:

    I attended Ms Thi Tuyet’s conference, entitled “Understanding Vietnamese students’ learning approach: An exploration of some possible contributing factors,” on Monday Nov. 14 from 6pm to 7pm.

    Ms Thi Tuyet’s principal goal was to prove that the so-called “passive learning attitude” among vietnamese students should not be attributed to their culture (confucianism) but to the educational context. Students are not passive because they do not think critically — vietnamese students are very active in other contexts like Facebook or the radio –, they are passive because they work in unadapted, rough environments. Classes are crowdy (the average ratio is 1 teacher for 30 students), schools are noisy and lack basic facilities such as libraries. Thus, autonomous study is not encouraged.
    The second argument that the speaker gave is the of over-importance of the MOET at each educational level. Indeed, the minisiter of education controls almost everything: adminsitration, syllabus, exams, etc. Teachers and students have no other choice but teach and memorize as many facts as possible to fulfill the MOET’s expectations in terms of knowledge. Further, teachers lack of qualification, training, and supervision. On top of that, they are underpaid. Teachers usually have to work several jobs at the same time in order to make a living. Thus, they do not have time to look after the students individually nor to prepare their classes adequately. These are the reasons why the teacher-centered way of learning is being “preferred” by both teachers and students. Unfortunately, the minister do not seem to consider any serious change as far as teaching and learning conditions are concerned. I asked Ms Thi Tuyet whether online education or the Internet would change anything in the future. She answered that, because of the context, online education would not be possible on a large scale and students will continue to prefer “passiveness” in order to pass the exams.

    Beyond their tendency to listen and repeat, beyond their obedience to the elder’s views, it is not fair to say that vietnamese students do not think critically when they learn. They are just waiting for other possibilities.

    I think teachers in general tend to employ traditional teaching methods when they are preparing their for a national/general exam. This is what I noted in my own experience at least.

    • soledadre Says:

      Wow, interesting but it seems that sad conference too Maurine. Yes, sometimes teachers and students are really trapped within an educational structure. We see it everyday in the United States, also in Spain, we complain, and our situation is far better that the one in Vietnam. However, although at different levels, the problems are still the same: a structure established by the people above that do not really know what is happening within the classroom; a teaching and learning that is guided by the future exam that is to be passed; a discouragement of creativity since it may cause problems… I really think that those inside the educational system can change it and in fact, they are doing it, I hope it happens too in Vietnam.

      • rosariopollicino Says:

        Hi Marine,

        I found your conference very interesting more than sad. I found it interesting because it reflects the way of living of a different country in a different continent who faces different problems than most of other countries in the world. However the most important thing which made me reflect a while after i finished reading your summary is that Vietnamese students do think critically too when they learn they simply show it in a different way that we, in the western world, do.
        Now as a language instructor if I realize that there differences in cultures counties which may affect the way of learning why should I not consider it also when I teach in an international and multicultural environment we have here at UCONN? We assess our student under different points of view and one of those is also participation during the lesson but maybe this participation concept should be a bit more flexible of what we usually have in mind. What do you think?

        • marineuconn Says:

          Hi Rosario,

          Thanks for asking me such an interesting question! According to what I understood, Vietnamese students do not actively participate in class because:
          – it is not something that students are expecting to do, partly because:
          – they are always focused on getting ready for standardized exams
          – they are too many in their classroom
          – it is true that elder people’s words need to be respected and reminded as is

          However, a Vietnamese student who comes to the US to study will be likely to participate a lot during class. This proves that the absence of participation in Vietnam’s schools is more a question of environment than a question of culture.
          Generally, I think it is good to provide students with a range of opportunities to participate and also to give them the choice: participating online rather than participating in class, doing an oral presentation or a video of themselves, etc. so students have better chance to commit themselves in doing the assignments and succeed.

          Like you I love to learn about different cultures, that is why I chose to participate in this conference and I am very pleased I did!

      • marineuconn Says:

        Hi Soledad!

        I think you are totally right, the structural problems of education look the same everywhere! Even though the speaker was talking about education in Vietnam, I couldn’t help myself drawing parallels with education in France and in education in the US. Isn’t that amazing? I think it would be a very interesting experience to learn more about countries that are well-known for having a great education, such as the Scandinavian countries and Singapore 🙂

  3. edadedebas Says:

    The second talk I attended took place on Tuesday at 4 pm EST. The title of the talk was Internationalizing Curriculum at Home and Abroad: Using Illustrative Example of Global Water Issues. The name of the presenter was Nicole Lamers, who is a Visiting Assistant Professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaigne. Lamers focuses on Global Studies in Education. She collaborated on re-visioning undergraduate curriculums. Her Master’s degree focused on environment, education, African Studies. She is primarily a language teacher. She starts with a general question: “How do we make students understand global issues?” In her work and her focus on college students, she emphasizes the idea of connection and Study Abroad programs. She teaches courses on Global Studies. She presented 5 concepts that are related to Global Studies. These are 1) Historicity 2) Relationality 3) Reflexivity 4) Criticality 5) Imagination. Out of these 5 concepts, I think 3 of them are very important in building a global curriculum. Relationality is important in building connections between ourselves and the rest of the world. Reflexivity, as Lamers explains, is about discovering oneself before discovering the others. I think it is a very important step in personal development as well. Finally, criticality is significant because it enables students to locate ideas in a wider context and to think more critically. In the conclusion part, she emphasizes two important points: 1) Identity has to become a pedagogical tool. We have to create methods and tools that could incorporate different identities. Identity should be the main topic, not a side topic or an addition. 2) Students actually want to comprehend global issues. College students are very interested in thinking about global issues and challenging themselves. We, as the educators, have to take the initiative and give them tools to make them better understand global issues.

    • loisramirez Says:

      I think this session compliments the one that I attended. I believe that learning about global issues is very important, and like you mentioned students at a college level seem to be interested in globality as well. I think that this concept can be introduced at more elementary levels and begin to plant in students the seed of global learning. I think that it is through this method that the students would be able to have a deeper knowledge of their identity as global citizens and go even further once they are in college. I think the sooner you are aware of global aspects the easier it is to approach it with a more broad lens. What I mean by this is that the older we get the stronger are the chances to have a prejudicial point of view on a certain global topic. This is why I think it is very important to start global immersion at an early age.

      • edadedebas Says:

        Thank you for the comment, Lois. I have just read your post on the immersion schools. I think it is better to start with the idea that immersion schools do not hinder learning. I could not make my students think the other way in class. They believed that some subjects such as math and sciences could not be learned in another language.

  4. soledadre Says:

    The talk Web2Where: Online Social and Participatory Media for the Global Classroom presented by Gail Casey spoke about the usefulness of introducing social media within the classroom. At the beginning, the author explained what tools as Wikispaces, Ning or Class Blogmeister, have to offer students and teachers. She and other participants highlighted their usefulness for promoting a more efficient and meaningful learning. With these social media tools, students really become the main characters in the learning; they share and get involved in tasks that will help them in their future.
    One of the most important points of this conference was the notion of global awareness and digital citizenship through the promotion of a global classroom (See One Day One World). Casey has created classroom groups in Ning for sharing and collaborating one with each other, at the same time as they internalize what they learn in a greater framework: that of the world.
    She also offered some key principles in the task of implementing those skills within the classroom: first, identify the environment that you want to use and, then, “plan, act, analyze, reflect” on it; the following step is to make it part of your daily classroom and SHARE. Gail Casey also pointed out that breakdowns may occur so we must always have a Plan B or even a Plan C.
    I found the conference quite interesting; I really share most of the ideas presented and I think it is quite possible that I use some of the tools in my near teaching future (Ning or Wikispaces).

    • rosariopollicino Says:

      Hi Soledad,

      Than you for your summary and have to admit this session does sound like very interesting indeed. I have personally experienced ning and I have to say I liked it very much. I believe it is a great tool to share and communicate within a community of practice in order to achieve all together a certain common goal. But what i found more interesting in your post it is not much the two tool presenter like ning or wikispaces (even if this second one is new to me and I am a kind of curious) but the instruction that the presenter, Gail Casey, gave.
      I am talking about this clear and easy structure to follow “plan, act, analyze and reflect” to share afterwards. This may seem an elementary way of operating however I strongly believe that as educators (language instructors) we do need to be very well organized in our teaching activity and if we organized also our cooperation to improve our methods and achieve the goal all together would simply great.
      It is hard to realize however not impossible now at least we have a kind of way to follow. So it’s just up to us what do you think?

  5. soledadre Says:

    The second online conference I attended was name “Cypris Chat – Virtual World English Learning Community in Second Life”. In this conference, Mike McKay spoke about this English Learning project with women in a University in Japan. First of all, he gave us some indications to use the environment tools and then, some keys to understand what “virtual worlds” are. He also stated his view of “Virtual Worlds language learning” as “a medium for engaging students in active learning otherwise not possible in a traditional classroom”. Second Life is the tool he is using to engage his students in the learning of English and to provide them with greater opportunities to practice the language. McKay and his students have created a virtual community name Cyprus-village where they speak and recreate real situations as celebrating Thanksgiving or ordering in a restaurant. However, in his explanation I would have need a further information about how Second Life works but, as he said, I will only learn by participating, creating my avatar, my “new” personality.
    Furthermore, I think it is important to highlight how he considers Second Life and other virtual words as tools, just tools offering a place to practice and never as a replacement of the traditional classroom. He argues that it offers an adding benefit, providing students with a place to practice the language in an anonymous, motivating, engaging and meaningful way.
    The truth is that Second Life offers an opportunity to practice the language skills in real situations and contexts. Moreover, the anonymity can help shy students to speak without feeling pressured. However, I think it really needs very motivated students (with some tech skills) since it is something that they will have to do on their own. Students are the ones having to engage in conversations and activities and the teacher does not have control over them. I have some doubts about Second Life so I hope soon I will have some time to explore it myself.

  6. marineuconn Says:

    I just attended an online conference on the use of Skype with language learners. What I learned can be re-used by all of you in any teaching/ learning context, with students or adult learners. First, there is a website.
    Practice Speaking a Foreign language via Skype (here is the link for the recording) has been created by Jim Sarris, a Spanish teacher. Jim’s purpose is to make a skype conversation more relaxing, more enjoyable, and more efficient.
    When students are having a class chat with their classmates, they constantly need vocabulary support — words, phrases, expessions, etc. The teacher’s task is to help them by writing vocabulary on the whiteboard. Now, what about a skype conversation? How can students access the vocabulary they need? The website’s resource acts as a substitute for the teacher. It appears below the Skype screen and allows you to choose your native language and the language you are learning, your level, and the topic you want to discuss with your chat friend. A range of boxes respectively contain questions reminders in your native language, question words, verbs, nouns, adjective, and phrases that help you ask the question in the target language. Only a couple of languages already exist. However, as a user, you can customize your own language, your own topics, and even your own boxes (you can change them to “keywords”, “transition words”, “phrases”, etc. for example). You can choose to keep it for you and your students or to make it public.

    To use the website, you need to sign up as a teacher and then have your students sign up — under their regular email address or a common email address with a common password.

    There is a youtube video (a tutorial) that explains the whole process on the frontpage. Note that the website also deals with other chat programs like Google Chat and LiveMocha.

    The website is very easy to use. The most difficult step is to find native speakers interested in communicating with learners. For this reason, I think the project is particulary adapted to highschool students, who usually have penfriends.

    • loisramirez Says:

      This is a great tool and concept. I think based on the description is its very UDL friendly and it allows for the learning and teaching experience to have flexibility. It is also really good that there are tutorials and that the website is collaborative. This is probably the most important part since only those that are truly interested will be editing and collaborating to it, without any monetary incentive. I think that what you said it’s true it can be a great tool for high school students, but adult learners can also benefit from this, specially for those that are not used to classroom settings anymore. This type of setting can allow them not to only learn a different language but to begin to experiment and learn about different tools available online.

  7. rosariopollicino Says:

    The first conference session I assisted is entitled cypris Chat – Virtual World English Learning Community in Second Life. This is the same conference Soledad listened to so I am going to complete her post with mine trying to give other information equally important to understand better the virtual world of Second Life.
    Cypris is a community of learning for student who need to improve their language skills in English as a second language. The concept of community of learning in second life is as important as in the reality. Cypris actually let anyone join their “village” in this “alternative” reality and they do not ask for money or any other form of contributions but only to be active in the life of the village itself. The profile registration actually expiries after 3 months (I believe) that the user has not actually logged into the ciprys village however they require also participation in a very basic way which is to speak and to live this “second life” reality. This is requested as this community of learning is based in sharing and cooperating so if people get there but do not interact the community of learning could not pursue its goal.

    It is important to know now that in Second Life (SL) there are already very famous English as a second language schools where student need to pay to get there. How do these school work? Well the principle is exactly how cypris works . Through as avatar you can join the real life in the virtual world. In terms of ciprys so the English language is used in a real context and there are tutors (volunteers) which guide through the communication and conversation the learners. The private schools they have activities like this as for example going to the gym or play soccer but also have more formal lessons in a class where the avat seat on a desk and there is a professor which does a real lesson in a virtual world.

    I believe that it is important to understand the difference between Cypris and a private language school to understand that, alike the real world, also behind second life we have a great business going on. I do not think I am going to add anything else as Soledad has said the rest however I have been a couple of time in SL and have even an avatar there but my personal experience is that it could be a great tool for practicing a language and even to learn it according to the structure of the course organized but, personally, I believe that SL involves much more than a genuine desire to learn a language. It requires a lot of time to dedicate as a virtual tour take time and also mental and social commitment and so it cannot really works for everybody. It could be instead a good tool for those students also (or maybe mostly) teenager who like the virtual world and video games and could be highly motivated in practicing a language in this way.

  8. rosariopollicino Says:

    The second conference I have listened to was chosen as well by Marine so also in this case I will try to offer a different point of view by completing the information that this conference I and Marine have listened.
    This conference aimed to show how practicespeankingaforeignlanguage.com works. First of all it is important to say that this web site was created by a Spanish teacher Jim Sarris who understand the importance of practicing a language and how with Skype this can be done nowadays regardless the place where we all live. However this internet site do not find partners between schools in order to collaborate so the teacher/professor will have the responsibility to find this partner. It is not difficult at all online there are many foreign language teachers who look for conversation partners for their students however this service is not offered directly. Another aspect to clarify is also that skype remains and independent tool to be used with Practicespeakingaforeignlanguage.com .This internet site created by Jim Sarris aims to give guidance to any foreign language learner when facing a real conversation with someone else who is probably a native speaker or in any case they both using the target language as a vehicular language for an effective communication. This site represent so an helpful tool to overcome fear of not remembering the correct vocabulary or also some grammar word as it could be for a Wh- words when we come to English as a foreign language.

    Practicespeakingaforeignlanguage.com is organized in context of conversation for example holidays, Christmas and so on. In this way the teacher prepares the helping learning material which is decided in section and can be opened an looked at during the conversation in order to give a push in the fluency of it. This tool helps in two main important ways. Firstly it helps the students to have a certain field well identified to prepare for the real conversation. Secondly with the aim to really use those vocabulary those grammar rules, idiomatic expressions and all the rest involved, to talk with a real person I believe this gives an extra stimulus for the student to learn this part of the language. As Marine mentioned, there are just few language pattern available and not many topic developed so cooperation and sharing either for the developing of other language pattern and the expansion of those language present is necessary. I believe that this should be highly considered by us as language instructor and try to include this kind of language practicing with our students. This will make the language learning not a requirement to filled up but a new world to develop for our students.

  9. loisramirez Says:

    One of the conferences I attended was titled World Language Teaching to Language Immersion Teaching: Opening Career Doors. I was curious about this topic because I went to a school that could be considered an immersion school. According to the presenters Shannon Peterson, Assistant Director of Lakes International Language Academy and Kimberly Miller, the main concept of an immersion school is that 50% of the day is taught in the “immersion” or target language. Miller and Peterson said that it was very important for all the instructors to be fluent in the target language in order to teach the language through use and instruction; and in unanticipated situations such as fire drills. Although Spanish has become the most popular target language being taught in these types of schools, they also have begun to incorporate Native American languages as part of the curriculum. I think this is a great idea, especially for areas with a large concentration of a specific culture, it allows for the community to build bridges in between those communication gaps and in the long run deter prejudicial behaviors. Due to the success of these schools there many of them are beginning to open around the country. I believe that this is happening because more and more people that have learned a language in late stages of their lives have realized the importance of knowing other languages especially in a heterogeneous society like ours. I know that this concept is only at the basic level of learning, but while watching the conference I thought that it would be great if more and more schools become immersion schools leading up to immersion colleges/universities. Imagine the advantage that such type of education could bring to our future generations, information gaps would narrow in many fields and it would allow for further collaboration in between students and colleagues from other countries.

    • edadedebas Says:

      Hi Lois,

      Thank you for the summary. I am also interested in immersion schools. Your session seems to be very interesting. I have recently covered bilingual education and immersion schools in my CLCS 1103 W class. Students had no idea that such a school exists. We watched a documentary about immersion schools and they still could not believe that students who attend immersion schools learn better and more effectively than others who attend the other schools. I agree with you that it should be extended at the college level. I am sure we have a lot to learn from immersion schools.

  10. loisramirez Says:

    The conference titled World Savvy students was presented by Charmagne Campbell-Patton. The main idea of this conference was the concept of learning by collaboration. This learning concept is approached in a middle and high school levels, and the main purpose is to build knowledge in relation to global issues or topics. I thought this concept was very similar to that of the history professor we learned about earlier. The program is set in different phases, the first phase is the introduction of the main topic. The topic and ideas on how to introduce it in the different areas is given to the teachers. The second phase is more collaborative, the students decide on which main topic they want to focus (there is a suggested research time of 25 hours) they can do so in school (which is the ideal setting) or at home. The third phase is a regional competition the student that are presenting will have to develop a documentary, a visual aid, an exhibit and a 15 minute presentation. The fourth phase is a national competition and the student will participate online. I think that this learning concept is very interesting since it does allow for students to learn about a culture through different levels. I am not too sold on the competition aspect (I guess it is for motivational purposes) since I believe that this can be done in a smaller scale, allowing for more peer to peer collaboration. Another downfall of this concept was that the school had the option of leaving this as an extracurricular activity instead of fully incorporating it into its curriculum. I know that this would be more work for the faculty members, since they would need to adjust their lesson plans. I believe that if the school decides on a specific topic this issue can be resolved since the teachers can collaborate with each other on developing teaching strategies for this program. This concept is at its beginning stages but it can be tailored to different types of schools, as we have learned through the semester collaborative learning can be achieve with the right tools.

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