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.
Q5: What more can we all do to keep students engaged, foster their curiosity and creativity, and help them develop a love of life-long learning?
- Engage students through relevant, authentic situations where their learning will connect to real-life situations
- Problem-based and Project-based learning can keep learners engaged and challenge them to use 21st-C collaborative and creative skills
- Place more importance on divergent thinking, risk-taking and flexibility; move up higher on Bloom's taxonomy of thinking so students go beyond simply recalling info.!
- From a teacher perspective, keeping materials student-centered and using students as resources of info. and life experience allows for less teacher prep and more authenticity of lessons (*Ken Lackman is an education consultant whose ideas are worth exploring!)
- Students need to experience failure to foster resiliency so we need to "give kids room to fail". Students need to learn how to self-regulate and take responsibility over their own learning
- Concepts newly introduced to me: "Unschooling" and the quote of the day that stuck with me: "School is getting in the way of my learning"
Q6: How can we use technology more effectively in teaching and learning?
- Main concern: technology is NOT commonplace in education so there are accessibility issues to tackle first and foremost.
- The use of ICT's makes collaboration possible: The world is complex and no single person holds an answer so we need to share and exchange ideas on how to solve the world's problems and we need to learn how to take multiple perspectives and realize the impact of our actions on our global neighbours.
- Teachers and other school staff and parents need more PD so the use of technology is not feared or rebelled against
On September 19th, Shane and I attended the MoE provincial consultation. We met with concerned parents, teachers, principals, corporate representatives but most importantly, current high school students themselves!
Here are the 3 workshop sessions I attended as well as some key points that stuck with me:
Q1: What are the skills, knowledge and characteristics students need to succeed after they completed school, and how do we better support all learners in their development?
-Successful job candidates have autonomy, flexibility, confidence, resilience to failure and are self-starters
-Especially in today's ever-changing and unstable job market, flexibility and problem-solving skills beyond simply knowing the 3 R's will help youth change and adapt to the various careers they may take on in the course of their lives
-Project-based learning will foster entrepreneurial skills and better engage youth to take on challenges
-Informed risk taking involves youth acting as advocates for themselves instead of relying on others to solve their problems; they must also learn where to seek help and know what supports to ask for
-In order to support our youth better, we should NEVER assume that their intellectual abilities are fixed! We must also consider mental health's important impact on well-being
-Not only should it be our moral imparative to foster self-confidence in our youth, research shows positive correlatin between self-belief and student achievement
.....Questions 2 and 3 will be posted as part deux of this blog entry!
Hello! Annyong Hasseyo! Lay Ho Ma! Nee How Ma! Hola! Bonjour!
I am esctatic to be part of the TIGed team! I've been teaching ESL to children and adults for the past 5 years so venturing into the TIG world is very new and exciting for me. I love to learn new things so being thrown into new challenges is great! The best feeling comes from tackling a problem or issue and gaining more knowledge, experience and a higher comfort level with it in the end; I admit I don't consider myself tech-savvy so I am ready to stumble, question and hopefully emerge with clarity in the months to come!
I look forward to exchanging ideas,being rattled with confusion once in a while because predictability is mundane, and indulging in corny jokes....please share some with me if you're guilty of making horrible puns.
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.