Global Learning Projects
Next stop... The World!
A small elementary school, named for its place on the border of Delaware and Maryland, leaps across global borders every day.
Patti Weeg, Title 1 Computer Teacher at Delmar Elementary School in Wicomico County, Maryland, helps her students cross international borders every day, allowing them to make new friends in countries spanning the globe, from Japan and Tasmania to Peru and South Africa. We caught up with her to ask her a couple of questions about her work.
How do you define a global classroom?
A global classroom has no walls and no doors —it is open to the world around us. In the global classroom you will see excited students talking about their friends in another part of the world. You will hear stories of how they are working together on a project or sharing information about their school day, their cities, countries and cultures. Instead of teaching skills in isolation, the global classroom gives them real world meaning. The global classroom provides students with an audience and a purpose for what they do. Online projects provide a place for students to "publish" their work for the world
Why should educators create global classrooms?
Building a generation of students who are aware, concerned and involved global citizens is a challenging task. The future is in the hands of the students sitting in our classrooms - tomorrow's leaders. Teachers who bring the world into their classrooms develop a global perspective for themselves and help their students become more aware of the world around them. Students learn how to understand our differences and celebrate them. In many cases they find that they are not really very much different at all from their online friends in another part of the world. Their hopes, dreams and fears are very much the same. Communicating online with other learners around the world is one small step that can help bring about positive global change and world peace.
A Site with a Global Vision
In 1998, 27-year-old Jennifer Coveny quit her job and sold everything she owned to travel the world. To keep tabs on her whereabouts, her worried mother -- NEA member and 3rd grade teacher Diane Coveny from Moultonborough, NH -- came up with an activity for her class called “Where in the World is Jennifer Coveny?” Students tracked Jennifer’s path around the globe and learned about the countries and cultures she visited through email, digital images, and Internet research.
“Upon my return to the States, I visited their classroom and I was like a celebrity!,” Jennifer said. “The kids were so excited and engaged — and I was completely shocked at how much they had learned about the world just by following my trip and participating in the activities that my mom created.”
Jennifer decided she wanted to share the mind-opening effect that travel offers to kids who may never get to actually experience travel themselves, and she wanted to use the Internet to do so on a wide scale. A year later, TravelingEd.org was born.
Using online curriculum designed around the real life adventures of international travelers, TravelingEd is bringing the world into classrooms to strengthen the geographical awareness and cross-cultural competency of school children with lesson plans, resources and other Web-based educational activities.
TravelingEd.org leverages the power of the Internet to create a global classroom where students can interact, communicate, collaborate and learn from other students and resources not contained in their textbooks or the within the walls of their classroom, allowing for different learning opportunities.
“I believe that creating cultural awareness and opening children’s minds to the real world is hugely beneficial in developing a well-rounded person capable of critical thinking and global awareness,” Jennifer said. “Globalization, a term overwhelmingly discussed and debated these days, affects us economically, politically and culturally in a great many areas of our lives — the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the European Union and NAFTA, cheap labor in China, SARS and the Bird Flu are just a few examples…. The more cultural and global awareness we can develop in children, the more they will be able to compete and thrive in an intelligent and constructive manner in society.”