Final words of encouragement
Technology makes new relationships and new connections possible. As educators and learners we can join together in public and private ways to support global learning for all. The possibilities and potential of global collaborative learning is real and with the use of emerging technologies new partnerships and learning experiences can be designed and implemented. Being a global educator does mean questioning what you think about intercultural understanding and collaborating with the world and questioning the purpose, function and outcomes of global education.
Leadership is important for making the pedagogical shift and to foster a change in teaching, learning beliefs and practices from transmission paradigm to constructionist paradigm. All educators are leaders in this relatively new area of online global collaboration. Consider what you are doing to facilitate or constrain global connections and collaborations in areas of technology infrastructure, curriculum development as well as leadership modes. Educators are encouraged to work through the barriers to global connections and move to co-creation via collaboration. The first order barriers are usually access to technology tools – once that is assured, the second order barrier is teacher attitudes and beliefs (Ertmer, Ottenbreit-Leftwich, Sadik, Sendurur, & Sendurur, 2012). Schools and educators are challenged to change and adopt new pedagogical approaches we need to see in education.
Plan to connect students for deeper and more meaningful global collaborations and find partners that are willing to work on curriculum designs that afford new exciting opportunities for students. Every student at every grade level should have a variety of global experiences built into the curriculum. As students get older consider more challenge-based learning objectives, design thinking, social entrepreneurship and solving problems through global collaboration and action-based outcomes. Consider also student autonomy with global learning and promote student leadership and self-directed global collaborations. Global competition for jobs means that today's students must not only be well-educated, creative problem solvers but they must also be equipped to collaborate globally and work with others at a distance.
Finally, technology must be the bridge, not the barrier to new connected teaching and learning modes. We must shift content to context and move into the age of global collaboration through understanding the importance of learning communities, shared research and collaboration that leads to co-creation of new ideas and products. This will truly change the world and make it a better place for all of us. Good luck!