Educational Technology for the Global Village
The possibilities afforded by instructional technology to build bridges between the diverse peoples of the world seem endless. The technological advances such as the Internet, Skype, mobile telephones, and wireless connectivity are making the world “smaller” by eliminating barriers to instantaneous communication, it is not clear what the moral response to this smaller world should be for citizens who are privileged to have access to this technology.
Educational Technology for the Global Village: Worldwide Innovation and Best Practices is a new book trying to answer this question. Edited by Les Lloyd and Gabriel I. Barreneche, the contributors come from a broad spectrum of academic fields and specializations, the common bond they share is a keen insight into how to use todays’ educational technology in a way that both enhances student learning and global understanding. The chapters in this anthology highlight best practices and projects.
Several relevant terms are clarified here.
In the words of the National Service Learning Clearinghouse, it is “a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.” Or, to quote Vanderbilt University’s Janet S. Eyler (winner of the 2003 Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service Learning) and Dwight E. Giles, Jr., it is
“a form of experiential education where learning occurs through a cycle of action and reflection as students. . . seek to achieve real objectives for the community and deeper understanding and skills for themselves. In the process, students link personal and social development with academic and cognitive development. . . experience enhances understanding; understanding leads to more effective action.”
Service-learning is best described as an experiential learning method that enriches learning by engaging students in meaningful service to their academic institutions and local or global communities. Students involved in service-learning apply their academic skills to solving real-world issues, linking established learning objectives with genuine needs.
It is important to note the distinction that Bringle and Hatcher make between community service and service-learning. The course-based learning objectives linked to the service activity are what distinguish service-learning from the numerous cocurricular and extracurricular service and volunteer activities found on campuses and throughout the greater community.
A broader term used frequently to identify academic activities that engage students outside of the classroom is community-based learning (CBL). In contrast to service-learning, in which students generally are working to address a specific need identified by the community partner, CBL activities are not necessarily directly related to service.
An example of a CBL activity would be language students participating in conversation exchanges with native speakers of the target language from the local community. While the learning activity takes place in the local community (outside the classroom), these linguistic exchange do not necessarily address a community partner’s need.
Connected learning is when you’re pursuing knowledge and expertise around something you care deeply about, and you’re supported by friends and institutions who share and recognize this common passion or purpose. Connected learning is real-world. It’s social. It’s hands-on. It’s active. It’s networked. It’s personal. It’s effective.
Connected learning links the insights of classic research on how youth best learn to the opportunities made available through today’s networked and digital media. These principles of Connected Learning weren’t born in the digital age, but they are extraordinarily well-suited to it since digital technologies have the capacity to engage the widest range of young people in learning experiences previously available to a select few.
Through a new vision of learning, Connected Learning holds out the possibility for productive and broad-based educational change.
Service-learning empowered by technology
From collaborative learning communities and social networks to Web2.0 tools, MOOCs, and mobiles, the book put together 12 stories from experts introducing an array of tech initiatives that teach students to think and act globally while helping to close the education gap between developed and developing nations. Some examples are:
- Service-learning linked to social media and virtual worlds to promote global sustainability
- A transglobal virtual language learning community for ESL and EFL teachers using Skype and PRworks
- Using asynchronous Web2.0 tools to promote language learning and intercultural communication
- From traditional to massive online education: the global health village
- Teacher ePortfolio: links to interpersonal and intrapersonal 21st-century communication skills
- Emerging technology in the schools of Rwanda
The projects described in this book have a couple of common themes. Their authors/ organizers tool a chance on something they believed in and went outside their comfort zones to create a learning experience for their students and a benefit to those they visited. Technology is a common theme, similar projects actually could originate from virtually any campus.
Five technology skills for the global economy
Dan Tyna wrote about “Five technology skills for the global economy“, he stresses that technology is one key to succeeding in an emerging global economy. Here are five key skills to master.
Distance management: If you think managing a team in the cube farm down the hall is a challenge, try doing it across 12 time zones. As teams become more virtual as well as global, IT managers will need to collaborate with colleagues in multiple locations, often working at different times of the day.
Independent thinking: A geographically disparate workforce means more dispersed decision making. Lower-level managers must learn how to articulate a vision, communicate it to their teams, and figure out new ways to implement it, says Thomas Malone, author of The Future of Work: How the New Order of Business Will Shape Your Organization, Your Management Style and Your Life and occupant of the Patrick J. McGovern chair at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Creativity: As mere technical know-how becomes a commodity, design and conceptualization skills rise in importance. “U.S. IT professionals need to constantly push the innovation and creativity envelope if they want to continue to lead the industry,” says Yong Zhao, director of the U.S.-China Center for Research on Educational Excellence at Michigan State University.
Cultural sensitivity: Do you measure objects in yards or meters, gallons or liters? If you ask co-workers in a meeting if they have questions, will anyone respond? Managers will need to understand how cultural differences affect communication and collaboration.
Language skills: A familiarity with Chinese — or any other foreign tongue — may not be essential, but it’s not a bad idea. Don’t expect your vendors, your customers, or even your boss to speak flawless English.
For sure you can see the value of the service-learning infused by technologies which could build the global citizenship and competency for participants.
One Classroom in The Cloud (E4E project)
Spotlight Series on the K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice (Generator School Network of NYLC)
What is Service Learning or Community Engagement? (Vanderbilt University, Center for Teaching)
- What is Service Learning or Community Engagement?
- Benefits of Community Engagement
- Models of Community Engagement Teaching
- Ways to Integrate Community Engagement into an Existing Course
Carnegie Classifications (Carnegie Foundation)
The classification for Community Engagement is an elective classification, meaning that it is based on voluntary participation by institutions. The elective classification involves data collection and documentation of important aspects of institutional mission, identity and commitments, and requires substantial effort invested by participating institutions. It is an institutional classification; it is not for systems of multiple campuses or for part of an individual campus. The classification is not an award. It is an evidence-based documentation of institutional practice to be used in a process of self-assessment and quality improvement. The documentation is reviewed to determine whether the institution qualifies for recognition as a community engaged institution.