Model and promote diversity, cultural understanding, and global awareness by using digital age communication and collaboration tools to interact locally and globally with students, peers, parents, and the larger community
Promoting diversity, cultural understanding and global awareness is another monumental task that educators must take on, it is especially important in our current time. Empathy is an essential skill for all of us, but especially for the next generation of leaders. Through my work with students and teachers in the Digital Education Leadership program I worked to promote empathy, and part of that work can be seen in three of my posts from the program. As an Instructional Technology Coach, I continue to work to promote diversity, cultural understanding and global awareness through the use of technology tools in elementary classrooms. This standard aligns well with the strategic direction of my district and relates specifically to the equity of opportunity portion of our district strategic direction.
The reason I equate diversity, cultural understanding and global awareness with empathy is that, in my experience, exposure to those concepts leads to empathy. Additionally, I think we are at a critical juncture in history where increasing the exposure of all Americans to a culture different from their own will better help us to understand each other. Increased exposure and empathy is key because of the diverse cultural backgrounds we encounter in public school and in life.
I have demonstrated understanding of ISTE-C 5c through three different blog posts and projects during the program: my Global Collaborative Project, Mission Statement and my Individual Project: The Literary Essay.
Global Collaborative Project
Through my Global Collaborative Project, students began to understand the ways that technology could flatten the walls for communication across the country. They also were able to see that students in other parts of the world shared similar experiences and a similar cultural heritage. During this project students were able to use Google docs and video to communicate with a class from Denver in a quick and fairly easy way. The timeline limited students form communicating individually, but they were able to get a first experience of what it would be like and how easy it is to contact students in a classroom that is far from their own. I noticed that students in my class were surprised that the class in Colorado had so many Spanish speaking students but that they didn’t receive instruction in Spanish like my students did. This helped them to see the unique opportunity they have, and it may have also gotten them thinking about how they can advocate for more dual immersion programs in other schools and areas of our country.
One other way I’m encouraging teachers to interact globally with peers is through a planned cross-cultural teaching exchange. The trip will give teachers from the U.S. a chance to travel to Mexico to observe public and private primary schools in the state of Guerrero. The goal of the trip is to increase collaboration between teachers from different countries through this learning partnership. In addition to supporting collaboration, the trip will increase cultural understanding for teachers in Mexico as well as for teachers traveling from the U.S. Through this partnership, we will work to improve our practice and improve digital citizenship education for our students.
In my mission statement, I advocate for the need to expose our students to a variety of beliefs, including those from different cultures. Connecting through technology is an increasingly popular way to do that, whether the connection is with local or global peers, parents or the larger community. All options are available to teachers who incorporate technology into their classroom.
It is our job to help cultivate minds and to guide young people to consider differing beliefs. That has long been a focus, now we need to continue that work and extend it to technology and online lives.
In order to engage my students in the authentic use of technology during a writing unit, I modified the unit to include posting book reviews as blog entries and responding to classmates’ reviews. While this project didn’t work out exactly as I had planned due to a tool I wanted to use not being COPPA compliant, the idea could be repeated with school approved tools like Seesaw or Edmodo. The focus of my project modification was allowing my students to engage with each other and the community through posting book reviews online and responding to others’ posts through commenting. I think many elementary units could be adapted in such a way and doing so would allow students to practice digital citizenship in a safe environment, and for most, before having exposure to social media and posting content elsewhere on the internet.
For more information see my complete posts on: