After lots of preparation, Global Dignity Day took place on Oct 15, 2014. Global Dignity Day is a celebration to ensure that every human being leads a dignified life.
This year TakingITGlobal has celebrated Global Dignity Day in may ways. To get everyone thinking about dignity and what it means to them, 63 Adobe Youth Voices partner sites and over 1000 TakingITGlobal members were invited to explore the meaning of dignity through photos, video, paintings and stories. These beautiful and inspiring works of art can be viewed in the Global Gallery.
Jennifer Corriero, co-founder for TakingITGlobal, brought the Global Dignity Day celebration to Arviat, Nunavut. She hosted a workshop for the Inuit youth that allowed youth to reflect what dignity means to them through role play exercises and visual art. You can read more about her trip online and watch this video.
Here in Ontario, a couple of TIG staff joined the celebration with Fieldcrest Elementary School students. TakingITGlobal hosted a workshop that allowed students to explore the meaning of dignity through creating short 1 minute movies using the Adobe Voice app. In pairs, students explored the different ways we can ensure that everyone leads a dignified life using photos, music, and movies. You can view some of these 1 minute movies on Mali Bickley’s blog post.
As well as from the TIG office, the staff joined the national video conference to connect and join hands with students to explore the different faces dignity plays in our lives. The main theme for the virtual conference was for students to explore and share what dignity means to them. Some of the answers were love, kindness, ones pride and to be respected.
Three brave students shared heartfelt dignity stories. The story that inspired me the most was a young boy named Joey who overcame cancer and bullying, and started his own charity. His organization helps young children to stay connected with their school friends using technology provided by the foundation. This idea came up when his uncle gifted him a laptop to stay in touch during the time he spent at the hospital. His uncle told him, “think of yourself, make yourself happy to make others happy”.
The conference ended on the note that the world will be a better place because of these brilliant students. Thus celebrate Global Dignity to brighten the world even if it is through a little act of kindness!
Oct 11th marks ‘International Day of the Girl Child’. As a part of our Global Encounters program, TIGed celebrated the International Day of Girl by connecting with inspiring youth and female leaders from around world to hear about their stories. Before the live interactive video conference, everyone engaged in the TIGed virtual classroom and shared their stories about their female heroes. Few of the female heroes mentioned in the virtual classroom Emma Watson, Margaret Thatcher, Anne Frank, and so on.
We started the video conference with Handa who joined us from New Zealand. Handa has over 7 years of work experience working with female youth in Indonesia. Handa shared that girls body is sexualized since they are young and many societies and cultures feel that domestication is a way to protect women. A very bold statement made by Handa was “respect your culture but stand up when there is social injustice”.
Than we had a young ambitious woman Heba joining us from Egypt to share her views on girls rights in todays world. She started by talking about the role of women in ancient egyptian politics. Females always played an important role in politics but the number of female representatives have been decreasing over the years.
Lastly, we had a group of graduate students, majoring in Women’s Study, joined us from University of Alberta. Among the panelist was Ayesha Khan. She clarified the common misconception of women not striving to receive higher education in Pakistan.
Another fun fact that was stated by the panelists was that the labels “girls” and “boys” did not exist until the 19th century.
Overall, I feel that the common message from our keynote speakers and blog posts in virtual classroom was that girls must stay strong and keep trying even if they fail! To fight for women to have a greater voice in todays society.
TakingITGlobal is excited to announce that TIGed is partnering with Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for a second year - expanding our partnership to work with two families of TDSB schools, WR3 and ER19. This year we'll reach 29 Toronto schools and over 100 TDSB educators and administrators!
Building on our work last year, TIGed will be delivering blended learning professional development courses in global citizenship, student voice, and environmental stewardship. These courses will introduce problem-based learning methodologies and innovative ways to integrate technology tools in the classroom. By the end of the course, participants will have created school-based projects or curriculum units or projects that will be implemented in schools across both families. The board has made a serious commitment to transforming education in our city through 21st century leadership, teaching and learning.
On February 5th, TIGed welcomed the WR3 and ER19 family of schools at Northview Heights Secondary School to start the second cohort. The day began with a lot energy and enthusiasm from everyone!
Jeff Hainbuch, Superintendent of Education for the WR3 family of schools, opened the day with his keynote speech in which he explained the importance of this kind of partnership in today’s education landscape. The partnership was cleverly illustrated by a simple equation which was inspired by Jeff’s young son: TDSB + TIGed = Global learning for all.
We also heard from our TakingITGlobal co-founders, Jennifer Corriero and Michael Furdyk, who shared their inspiring stories. Jennifer also opened the floor to the educators to share their stories about a student whom have inspired them.
Later in the afternoon, Jennifer Klein, our resident project-based learning expert, delivered a jam-packed session to introduce everyone to the concept they’d be exploring in depth over the next two months. The afternoon was dedicated to meeting in course groups with instructors and support staff to delve into the content of the courses, and to get to know one another.
The orientation day kicking off our work together in 2014 could not have gone any better - we'd like to thank everyone who made this day an enormous success!
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to present at the Global Education Conference. You may not know this but the Global Education Conference is an entirely virtual conference. This year the conference brought together over 10,000 educators and innovators from around the world to connect, collaborate, and increase opportunities for connecting classrooms. It’s a great opportunities for educators to connect and learn about inspiring collaborating global projects.
Presenting at the Global Education Conference was amazing yet nerve wracking experience. I had the opportunity to share with educators the amazing tools and resources available on the TakingITGlobal (TIG) and TakingITGlobal for Educators (TIGed) website. I also introduce them to ideas on how they can use these tools to introduce important global issues in their classrooms. And most importantly, how educators can utilize TIG and TIGed tools and resources to encourage students to act on critical global challenges.
My presentations were titled Take your Classroom Global, Learning through online education games, One stop Shop: TIGed Thematic Classroom.
Don't worry if you missed this great conference. You can find the recording of all the presentation and keynote sessions on the Global Education Conference website.
Popping the Classroom Bubble
Guest Writer: Mike Lafleur
2nd year Animal Kingdom did me in. As I struggled to stay awake, the prof went on and on about the reproduction of slugs. My eyes became heavy and on that day, I found refuge in dropping my last ever science class and went for a paddle instead.
While canoeing across Cootes Paradise, Hamilton’s largest wetlands, I knew that I was still drawn to ecology and the environment. Don’t get me wrong, I am not here to advocate against the sciences. But for my own discovery, I wanted to be immersed in nature - turning over logs, trampling through mud, and collecting bugs all within the scent of fresh pine. One of my fondest memories of attending McMaster, was parking 45 minutes away on a side street so I could hike the nature trails for my daily chance encounter with a herd of deer. That to me was the true beauty of science.
For me, my best teaching experiences have always been out of the classroom. Early on in my career, I vowed to be as unconventional as possible. I took my first teaching post in Namibia, unbeknownst to where this country was actually located on a map. My passion for teaching and travelling was beginning to mesh and opportunities to do both seemingly came a knocking. I found myself leading study abroad programs throughout Europe and China, facilitating household water treatment workshops in rural Ethiopia, and cruising across the Pacific Ocean on an international exchange program with youth from around the world. Self-discovery by means of travel struck a chord; it invigorated a zest for life and a deeply felt conviction and connection with the outside world.
40 countries later I feel as though I’m just getting started. With each experience abroad, I am kindly reminded of how much there is still to learn as was the case this past July. Leading a group of students across Europe, we had the chance to discover Rembrandt’s Night Watch, Van Gogh’s self-portraits, Borticelli’s Birth of Venus, Pergamon’s Altar and the bust of Nerfertiti. In Berlin, history came alive walking alongside the remaining remnants of the Berlin Wall, the Jewish Holocaust Memorial, and the iconic Bradenburg Gate. In Amsterdam, we walked through the attic of the Anne Frank Museum, the wooden floors creaking beneath our feet and thoughts of innocence and betrayal filling our minds. While in Florence, we stared up at Michelangelo’s David with his sling in hand and his gaze towards Rome.
For the record I have never taken an art history course. Sometimes seeing such art in a textbook just doesn’t do it justice, and I doubt a traditional classroom setting would have sparked my newfound appreciation for this field.
That being said, I am a realist. I realize that not every student will have the opportunity to spend their summers in Europe, gain field experience in rural Africa, or find themselves lost on a subway in Japan. On the other hand, as both educators and learners we should not constrain ourselves to the textbooks, lectures, and readings of traditional teaching. There are many other creative avenues to pursue. Locally, untapped wisdom is all around us. Discovery can be invoked by a simple visit to an organic farm, a historical monument, an old age home, a soup kitchen, a successful business, perhaps a concrete wall laced with graffiti, and wait for it…even the local wetlands.
Technology can also be used to bridge the outside world and help tear down the constraints of the classroom walls. There is no shortage of tools and online communities available to connect cultures, harness creativity and to foster global citizenship within our youth (I take it that on a blog such as this I am speaking to the converted for which I can imagine there is no shortage of commentary on this topic already).
So perhaps the next time you find a student fighting to stay awake in your class you can close the books, and head for the door…there will be no shortage of discoveries waiting for you on the other side!
Mike Lafleur, M. Ed., is an advocate for global and experiential education and is currently a graduate student in Globalization and International Development at the University of Ottawa. He has lead study-abroad programs in Tanzania, China, Tunisia, Malta, France, Germany, England, Netherlands, and Italy. Mike has served as an Education Advisor for the Ship for World Youth, the Child Speak Coordinator in Namibia, and as an Education Program Developer with C.A.W.S.T.