16 September 2014

Real Life Learning: Global Opportunities

flatconnections.com
Working internationally for the past seven years has allowed me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. This has helped me to be open to new ideas, beliefs and cultures, as well as ways of thinking, seeing, and perceiving the world. Studying my MEd online with a global cohort has also opened my eyes to the fact that many countries are still very insular about their approach to education in terms of pedagogy as well as content. We simply cannot afford to be this way if, as many schools nowadays suggest, we are offering our learners a 'top class education'.

On today's digital planet, a world class education means we must prepare learners for what the world is now, for life both off and online - that means we must expose them to a daily routine that requires skills in managing devices, accounts and netiquette. If we do not provide learners with the opportunity to organise themselves effectively and appropriately using technology, we are not preparing them for what their true working life is going to entail. 

One way we can help expose learners to how life will be once they leave the protective yet unrealistic 'walled gardens' some schools create, is through online projects. These projects provide the opportunity to learn essential twenty first century skills, collaborate online, meet other learners from around the world and realise that business sometime has to be conducted asyncronously due to time zone differences.

I Project Manage one of Julie Lindsay's Flat Connection projects, Global Youth Debate (formerly Eracism). This exciting project joins schools across the globe and provides essential skills in:
  • research
  • collaboration, and 
  • communication
Debating hot topics asynchronously, teams share resources via Diigo and foster discussion on Edmodo, then battle it out via Voicethread for a place in the final. It provides a chance to use web 2.0 tools to develop a wider global perspective of the planet we all live on; it provides an insight into different cultures and beliefs, and this year's theme is all too relevant - Global Peace and Security. Our topic up for debate is: 
Revolution is a justifiable means to global peace and security
Whilst not every school can travel to new countries in a face-to-face capacity, any school with access to computers and the Internet can flatten their classroom walls and enrich the learning experience of their students. Global Youth Debates allows learners a valuable connection and insight into their peers' lives on a world-wide scale - without having the expense of travel. As a team, we are also here to provide lots of training and support for teachers and their learners in taking these steps into the future of learning. Click HERE to have a look at last year's debate to give you more idea about how the projects operate.

Global Youth Debates is open to all schools and learners aged 10-18. Sign up is open from now through September for debating to commence in October. More information about this year's Global Youth Debate can be found on the website and teachers should read this guide for more information.

If you think your school would be interested, please contact me, +Julie Lindsay or visit the contact page to ask a question. Alternatively, you can email globaldebate@flatconnections.com, or go right ahead and sign up.

Follow the project on Twitter @DebateGlobal or Facebook.

Read more about this and other #FlatConnect Global Projects for all age groups HERE.