Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Transition your classroom from a "walled garden" to a global contributor

In the 21st Century citizenship has changed. We are operating in a globally connected world. Communication, collaboration and information is open, shared and ubiquitous.  The evolution of the web has lowered the barriers of entry for individuals to create, collaborate and contribute. 

Our classrooms must reflect this trend and prepare our students to be global citizens. In many instances our classrooms have not changed much in many years. Yes, we have introduced and integrated technology. Students type instead of write, take online quizzes, create presentations, view videos and contribute to class discussion boards. Teachers recognize the power and flexibility of technology and provide students options for demonstrating knowledge by providing choice with regards to the technology resources they use. Technologies have provided innovative ways for teachers to provide feedback, students to collaborate, and parents to monitor progress. Paradigm shifts in instructional practices have resulted in flipped or blended learning, personalized instruction, and virtual courses. 

The shifts in instructional practices as a result of access to technology has been profound. What still remains in place in many classrooms is the audience. Teachers and students create, share, revise, and consume for each other. Our "voice" is contained to our brick and mortar or virtual classrooms. Our audience, while authentic, is not representative of our globally connected world. 

In order to prepare students to be active contributors to our connected world we must provide students the opportunity to have a voice. Digital authoring opportunities in which students publish their work for a global audience should be an expected outcome. Having students publish their writing on an online portfolio, contributing comments on a blog, publishing lab results to an online community, engaging in discussions with content experts, inviting professionals and content experts into the classroom through video conferencing, or publishing an online publication should be part of our day to day.  Making connections to provide authentic experiences should be part of our routine.

Sites like Open Source Teaching  is an example of a resource that provides a connection to individuals who are experts in their fields. Blogger, Wordpress of Kids blog provide an opportunity for students or classes to publish their thoughts, opinions, research or other class work. Social networking sites provide opportunities to make connections and share ideas. How can you integrate student publishing and sharing into your courses?

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