Digital natives (Generation Z / the students currently in our schools) are engaged more actively now than ever before, through the use of technology on handheld and personal devices
. This natural instinct to utilise technology on every occasion to support their learning makes it essential that educators are up to speed with how and why students use their devices
I think back to my ‘pen and paper’ education, where I learnt from a textbook and wonder how different I would be if I had the sorts of opportunities
the digital natives are handed on a platter today.
are available around every corner for every situation and I truly believe that if you are not connecting your students globally, they are missing out!
The technology available now makes it easier than ever to connect with another classroom to ask questions
, Skype with an expert or communicate with live online lessons to support in class learning.
The notion of a ‘Flipped Classroom’ allows further opportunities to engage with a community outside of the ‘bubble’ that some students find themselves in (especially in smaller communities).
People can no longer use the excuse that they don’t have a contact, or don’t have access to a particular learning field. Hop on Twitter
and post a question, connect with Skype for Education or chat with your staff and parents. I can guarantee that you will find what you are looking for, or at least get close.
A perfect example of all this is happening as I write this within my school. The Year 3 students (8 year olds) are learning about Space and the students have come up with several questions that they would like to find answers for as part of their inquiry
. They have decided to connect with people at NASA and any other experts that they could find. My role as Head of ICT and Learning Innovation is to support the classroom teacher in integrating digital technologies
into the classroom. I have been supporting this class to get an astronaut and others connected with space from NASA to Skype in and help answer their questions.
We put the notion of finding an expert out through my Twitter account
and within minutes we had potential connections. It was an eye opening experience for the students and teachers to understand how being globally connected helps learning opportunities.
Although we had to jump through several hoops to get the experts on Skype with us, the global connections and contacts made it possible. As a result the students are engaged in the topic and want to learn more. There are, I believe, two reasons for this:
– it is student driven and they are owning the entire experience
It is integrating digital technologies
and they get the opportunity to engage in conversation with experts outside of the bubble that is our learning environment
(or even as an expat living in Singapore)
As a 21st century educator, you can no longer use the excuse of not having a connection, not knowing an expert, not being able to engage students through digital technologies. The ideas are available at your fingertips and support is provided in many different forms. Get out there and get connected. Become a globally connected educator so that your students can get the globally connected education that they are ready and waiting for:
Here are my tips and suggestions to become globally connected:
I can’t wait to hear your responses and see what you create and do. If you are on the journey of becoming a connected educator – let me in and let me guide you 🙂 Have fun with it and enjoy the experience.