Global collaboration in the classroom: working together for a better world

We are familiar with the idea of a global alliance among countries worldwide working together to target global issues. We have heard about initiatives like the “Human Genome Project” and the “Paris Agreement on Climate Change” on the news and how they have brought significant changes in the world. I started to wonder, What about students? How can they partake in this movement of global collaboration? Especially in the era of technology that has enhanced our ability to work together globally. In an ISTE blog post, “5 ways students benefit from global collaboration,” Randles highlights the advantages of global collaboration in education. In her blog, Erin Dowd, a global education specialist, points out that global collaboration helps students understand themselves, their communities, and their culture to think about ‘who am I, and where do I fit in this world?’ Not only that, global collaboration helps students develop inclusively broader perspectives about different cultures and enhances students’ communication and digital literacy. Many findings show that global collaboration in the classroom increases students’ desire to become more engaged and motivated learners (Randles, 2018). I wanted to explore more examples of global collaboration projects students can get involved in to target global issues. 

GLOBE: The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment 

GLOBE connects students from different countries to collect environmental data and share their findings. They teach students about environmental issues, help them develop valuable scientific skills, and connect with peers globally. For example is a project like “Trees Around the GLOBE,” where students collect data on trees in their local communities and share it with students from other countries. By sharing their findings, students better understand the global impact of deforestation and climate change. Another example is the “Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP),” in which students collect data on soil moisture in their local communities and compare their findings to NASA’s data. These kinds of ongoing projects provide students with a hands-on learning experience that connects them with students from around the world. 

iEARN: The International Education and Resource Network 

iEARN brings together students and educators from different countries to collaborate on various projects. They have hundreds of ongoing projects to target the UN’s sustainable development goals, such as fighting poverty, hunger, health issues, etc… Not only that, they also engage and connect students at the classroom level through projects like “One Day in the Life” initiative, where students share their daily routines and traditions with students from different cultures. This project helps students develop a deeper understanding of global perspectives and cultures. Many studies have found that iEARN projects increased cross-cultural awareness and empathy among students and improved language and communication skills. 

GRA: The Global Read Aloud 

Once a year, GRA picks a book to read aloud to students. They have a track record of connecting millions of students around the world. In 2020, over 4 million students from 97 countries participated in the Global Read Aloud. According to survey data, 97% of teachers reported their students were engaged in reading, and 92% said their students had a greater understanding of diverse cultures and perspectives.

Overall, these examples of global collaboration projects and their results suggest that they positively impact global issues and students’ engagement, knowledge, and skills. Through meaningful connections with friends from around the world, students grow and contribute to positive changes in the world. According to the ISTE standards; 

1.7 Global Collaborator

Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.

1.7.a Students use digital tools to connect with learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, engaging with them in ways that broaden mutual understanding and learning.

1.7.b Students use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.

1.7.c Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal.

1.7.d Students explore local and global issues and use collaborative technologies to work with others to investigate solutions. 

In addition to the benefits of being a global collaborator, students learn to communicate, collect and transfer data and learn together globally using technology. Technology has accelerated globalization and collaboration. It has played a significant role in bridging the cultural gap and connecting students globally to collaborate for a better world. Finally, it is important to point out that students must develop cross-cultural communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills to be competent in this globalized world. 

References

GLOBE: The Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.globe.gov/

iEARN: International Education and Resource Network. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.iearn.org/

Randle, J. (2018, May 14). 5 ways students benefit from global collaboration. ISTE. https://www.iste.org/explore/Personalized-learning/5-ways-students-benefit-from-global-collaboration

The Global Read Aloud. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://theglobalreadaloud.com/ 

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