Last week I was the closing keynote as part of the Young Learners conference at Future Schools in Sydney, Australia. As part of the build up to this I asked my PLN to take part in a survey to identify the key areas we are doing well and the areas we need to work on when it comes to global connectivity in our schools.
Here are the results:
I had 134 responses to my survey and the results came from people in 22 different countries (amazing!). The most popular countries for this survey were:
USA = 39
Australia = 24
UK = 15
NZ = 14
Canada = 7
China = 6
Ireland = 5
Germany = 4
Singapore = 4
The roles of the educators who took part in this survey were as follows:
60% of respondents were teachers and approximately 10% were principals, it was great to see 15% of respondents were ICT integrators / coaches supporting Ed-Tech in our schools.
These educators work across the following age levels / grades:
Educators felt that there students were already globally connected in the following ways:
It is pleasing to see the focus in education on blogging over the past 5 years is paying off, with almost 55% of educators utilising blogs to support global connectivity and learning in their classrooms. It is also pleasing to see 50% of educators utilising Social Media to connect and engage their students. The concerning area is the 22% of educators that identified there students were not globally connected in any of these ways. Other responses included emailing experts, utilising ‘GoodReads’ communities and pen pals.
This is how educators define ‘being globally connected’:
- Expanding the walls of my classroom by allowing others to wander in and my students to wander out.
- Being able to interact and learn with and from others around the world.
- Collaboratively working with people all over the world to solve real world problems.
- Liaising and communicating with students in situations completely different from our own.
- Communicate & collaborate with experts, students & peers from around the world. It enables one to bring the world to the classroom & gives a wider audience to our students.
- More authentic learning opportunities where children can be the experts and can pose problems/ questions to each-other and gain wider perspectives than they ever could within their own school/ class community.
- Learning from anyone, anywhere and at anytime.
- Enriching the learning experience by sharing research, making connections for professional collaboration and collegiate support.
- Making sure that my learners know that our classroom has no walls, we are not fonts of knowledge, that they need to build and manage their own PLN for independent and group projects, that it is their responsibility to curate and contribute thoughtfully and frequently.
- Being internationally minded and having people to rely and learn from.
- Connecting with Ss and TS around the world – via emails, chats, hangouts, eTV etc.
- Deepening students’ understanding of the world by providing them with experiences to communicate with others around the world.
- Having an understanding of global issues through first hand accounts of people in different places and sharing understandings in different global contexts.
- Being purposefully connected, learning together, caring for our world together.
- Being able to ask questions and find out other people’s stories so we can become more empathetic
- Communicating with and learning from others around the world to illustrate that technology unites and creates a sense of community.
- To be connected and make sure that we are not isolated in reality despite our isolated physical location.
When asked, “If you could give your students ONE opportunity to be globally connected, our educators said that the most appropriate tool is:
The most powerful message here is that many people suggested that only one tool is not a good choice – they are more powerful when used together.
Educators expressed that these are the areas that they need further support:
It is pleasing to see that over 30% of educators feel confident enough to require no support, whilst the main areas where support needs to be provided is using global collaborative projects and connecting via Skype and Google Hangouts.
To conclude, I asked educators to share anything else of importance to them in relation to global connections. The following responses were real openers:
- We are part of the quadblogging project organised by David Mitchell. My prep students love finding out more about the schools we connect with – it’s a terrific opportunity for them to learn about different cultures and to compare Australia with different countries.
- My teaching is richer because of the connections I have made. Learning has become more purposeful and meaningful for both students and myself
- The access to Global Connections through the internet is the most valuable aspect of the Internet. It is more valuable than the access to facts and content. As we can see, society can harness our global connections for the bad, as well as the good.
- At one point I was connected to other educators and their students in Australia, Russia, and Canada. Unfortunately, it was difficult because often times people said that they would carry out certain plans we would make, but because of scheduling issues/school years beginning/ending at different times/teachers being so busy/overtaxed!
- I want to experiment with blended learning and providing fully online courses. I am experimenting with several LMS systems. This should connect people from across the globe and allow them to learn in a flexible manner.
Thank you for reading – I look forward to connecting, collaborating and learning together soon.