Fellow Global Education Enthusiasts, I am excited about two new finds!
Check out these links and share your thoughts here!
1) “Connect All Schools”
This website is just what it sounds like. Citing a line from President Obama’s June 2009 speech in Cairo, the “About” section of the site explains the goal of connecting all schools in the US with schools in other countries by 2016. The website encourages educators to:
1. Read “stories” written by other educators who have successfully “connected” their classrooms,
2. Share their own “stories” of such connections, and
3. Support the effort to get every classroom in the US connected with another classroom internationally.
These connections might take the form of pen-pal relationships (traditional or the e-mail version), sister school relationships, or participation in collaborative projects through organizations such as iEARN, ePals, Global Nomads Group, Skoolaborate, or many, many others. (See their “partners” page or e-mail me for some more examples; I’m keeping a growing list!) Teachers might also arrange projects on their own. The Connect All Schools website has an official launch date coming up in mid-March, but you can see it online already and start contributing your own stories!
2) IONS “Worldview Literacy Curriculum”
First of all, okay, yes I did visit the IONS (Institute of Noetic Sciences) website only because I happened to read the latest Dan Brown page-turner, The Lost Symbol, over vacation. But once I got there, I was surprised to find that this organization, which conducts research into psychic phenomena and global consciousness, among other topics, is also researching the idea of “worldview.” They are even piloting curriculum materials in K-12 schools. The mission statement for this effort includes the idea of helping “youth and lifelong learners understand the fundamental role that worldview plays in their and others’ perceptions and behaviors.” This certainly sounds similar to ideas about perspective and cultural competence that you might hear global educators discussing. I am still working on learning more about this curriculum, but so far I have found out that it challenges students to grapple with questions such as:
- “Where do your values and beliefs come from?” and
- “How do you know what you know?”
Pretty big questions, but perhaps wrestling with them is fundamental to global citizenship. IONS held a training on their Worldview Literacy curriculum last summer. I will keep an eye on their website and see whether they decide to offer another one.
Thinking about both of these new finds, I found myself wondering, Is this all just too pie-in-the-sky? Can we ever really connect ALL schools? Is it too . . . ? What’s the word? Hokey? Touchy-feely? Do we really dare to pose these deep questions about worldviews, ways of knowing, consciousness, and interdependencies?
On the other hand, maybe the global education arena is just the place for visionaries. Perhaps we need to dream big – go ahead and imagine a world in which it is normal and expected for young people to grow up learning about our worldwide interconnectedness and discussing their own roles and beliefs with their peers internationally.
Don’t get me wrong; I still think we need hard data, numbers that will help us speak persuasively about the need for and the impacts of global education. But while we are working on piloting and researching our programs, let’s go ahead and dream big, imagine all schools connected, and ask those deep questions as we actively envision the future we’re working to create.