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International Society for Technology in Education
The Global Educator: Leveraging Technology for Collaborative Learning and Teaching

The Global Educator: Leveraging Technology for Collaborative Learning and Teaching

by Julie Lindsay


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The Global Educator: Leveraging Technology for Collaborative Learning and Teaching

Modern learning must be global, providing intercultural understanding and collaboration to personalize learning, achieve curriculum objectives and bring the world to students. Educators must be empowered and learning environments must be connected in order to “flatten” learning around the globe. This calls for a shift in pedagogy, a shift in mindset and the integration of digital and online technologies.

How do we navigate these new waters of networked learning? What model can be developed for globally connected learning that will support classroom teachers, education leaders and higher education?

In The Global Educator: Leveraging Technology for Collaborative Learning & Teaching, author and global education forerunner Julie Lindsay answers these questions and more, illustrating the need for intercultural understanding and collaboration to personalize learning and providing a vital snapshot of a time when the world is shrinking and becoming more accessible to all.

The book includes: pedagogical approaches and frameworks for global online collaborative learning; technology resources to empower educators and education leaders to make meaningful connections; and case studies and contributions from more than 100 global educators who are embedding their practices into curriculum objectives and providing their students with invaluable educational experiences.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781564843722
Publisher: International Society for Technology in Education
Publication date: 07/19/2016
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 498
Sales rank: 349,263
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Julie Lindsay has taught and led the use of educational technology at schools in Zambia, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Qatar and China. Also an educational consultant, Lindsay is a frequent presenter, workshop leader and online teacher. She is the director of Learning Confluence, founder of Flat Connections and an adjunct lecturer for Charles Sturt University in Australia.

Read an Excerpt

This chapter examines the impact of global educators and global education leaders on schools/institutions, students and the community. It also explores goals, barriers and enablers to global connected learning. Some of the
responses from global educators share impacts that are obvious, and others are more subtle—but they all add up to establishing a learning environment that expects and supports global competence and global understanding.
Global Learning’s Impact on the Educator
Apart from the possible extra work developing skills to be a global educator, it is interesting to consider the positive impact of taking a global approach on the educator as a teacher and a learner. According to Brian, USA, “The ironic thing is that anyone who so chooses can be a “Global Educator”. It merely involves a simple decision to commit. You make a decision to commit to continuously asking and continuously connecting to those outside of your current vision. As soon as the commitment is made to take the leap, that is when the real leadership begins and that is also the moment where responsibility, purpose and integrity show you for who you are” (Brian Mannix, @mannixlab). Interestingly, Mulugeta, high school teacher in Ethiopia, shares a slightly different perspective and one that in fact could be applied to all global educators: “I am expected to teach, to solve problems related to education and I am considered as exemplary in every aspect by my junior staffs and students as well as outsiders” (Mulugeta Birhanu).
“Time, space and language are not viewed as barriers to the global educator. They are viewed as opportunities to create authentic learning experiences and develop the intercommunication skills needed in today’s world. A global educator is someone who looks beyond the four walls of a classroom to create bridges between learners, the community, business, and different cultures to find mutually beneficial solutions to real world issues. Technology fast becomes a best friend and an essential tool for learning and interacting with a global professional network. It means you have moved beyond consuming content to being an active contributor and are passing this way of being on to your students. It means you are not afraid to be seen, learn from your mistakes, and never give up because you are always connected to the bigger picture and understand the power of sharing ideas to create positive futures” (Katie Grubb, Australia, @katiegrubby).
Personal Awareness of “Being Global”
A major impact of becoming and being global for an educator is enhanced personal awareness of what it is and what is possible. This personal or individual awareness affects us all, sometimes dramatically, regardless of whether we live in a large city or a small rural community.
Stephanie, USA, tells us that being a global educator is inspiring, but takes work. “In order to effectively model and teach global engagement, the educator must first be deeply well engaged. This process takes time and effort to identify resources, especially given the frequency of change, in order to prepare and execute lessons” (Stephanie Wujcik, @StephWuj45). Edna, also from the USA, says, “The biggest impact thus far has been how these conversations, trainings, and support have given teachers permission to dream and take risks when designing work for kids. The students see this effort by their teachers and appreciate it. The kids love having the opportunity to get to know others around the world. They get so excited!” (Edna Pythian).
Matt Harris, from the USA, now working in Indonesia, is influenced by the term “cosmopolitanism” as it applies to being a global citizen and being able to take a global perspective and work and live beyond the home country. Read more about Matt in Case Study 2.9 in the ebook.
Cosmopolitanism is the ideology that all human ethnic groups belong to a single community based on a shared morality. A person who adheres to the idea of cosmopolitanism in any of its forms is called a cosmopolitan or cosmopolite.
In the context of this book, the Latin roots are “citizen of the world,” referring to the idea of international students and teachers being citizens of a society greater than their country of origin and being part of a true global community.
Enhanced Collegiality and Role Modeling
Global educators benefit from enhanced opportunities for networking and community building and enhanced collegiality with other educators within and beyond their immediate environment.
Moliehi, a head teacher in a local school in Lesotho who, through Microsoft opportunities and global connections, has traveled the world to learn more and bring new ideas back to her school, says, “Many teachers have used the opportunity to learn from me and to improve their teaching and learning” (Moliehi Sekese, @moliehi4sekese). Matt, Australia, tells us, “I am able to draw on a huge well of critical support for my ideas and gather [further] ideas, practices and possibilities from a global network of educators and non-educators. I can then work with others to translate this into our school context and see what works for us” (Matt Esterman,  @mesterman). Suud, from Nigeria, says, “I gain ideas which I will refer to as international ideas because these ideas come from different foreign regions or locations. I use these ideas to expose my students to the wider world” (Suud Hibatullah).
Global educators also become role models within their networks—mentoring and supporting others. The work of the global educator also helps to raise the profile of the school by sharing and exposing new experiences and showcasing extended connections. Although sometimes appreciated by school administrators as merely a marketing advantage, global educators know and understand the real meaning of global learning and spend time and hard work making collaborations work—sometimes to the detriment of other more rigid programs. Jason, Indonesia, tells us, “I am in touch with my PLN constantly mainly via Twitter. If I have a question, wondering, or challenge my first stop is my great network of almost 4,000 educators around the globe. I also share my ideas, thoughts, and knowledge whenever I can. It’s all about helping each other become the best educators and learners we can be. In the case of #pypchat it is sometimes hectic, and so many great ideas and resources being discussed. It is definitely a reflective process” (Jason Graham, @jasongraham99).
Pay it Forward
Although not always understood, often “outlier” in nature, being a well-connected and often well-known global educator provides a license to try out new learning experiences for both students and other educators.
Maggie, now teaching in India, relates “I think one of the impacts I have, as a global educator who has lived and worked in seven different countries, is that I have many connections in those countries for both the teachers and the students. I think our students in India also have very authentic connections with “real life” in India through our CSR programme” (Maggie Hos-McGrane, @mumbaimaggie). Dianne, USA, shares, “Being a global educator has provided me opportunities to learn about our sister community in Shaar HaNegev, Israel, and connect our students to bridge our two communities. The students have been thinking “outside the box,” learning about other cultures, comparing their lives to those abroad and asking meaningful questions. My students are growing up to be problem solvers and critical thinkers” (Dianne Shapp, @dshapp).
Transformation of Learning
The realization that learning can happen anytime and anywhere (using online technologies as a catalyst) has a major impact on an educator. Understanding the importance of living in a globalized world and working toward building a foundation for future global citizens of the world is important and transformative work being done right now by global educators.
Carly, Australia, shares, “[The impact of being a global educator] is making me more aware of how I construct lessons and materials so that they are not only relevant and
“My goals as a global educator and leader are to facilitate transformative, unforgettable learning experiences and human connections between people of diverse backgrounds to show that it is absolutely possible to collaborate, communicate and co-innovate together” (Janice Mak, USA, @jmakaz).
useful for the students in my classroom but also of use to individuals accessing them beyond my classroom” (Carly Damen, @CarlyDamen). Wayne, also in Australia, tells us, “I will be modeling what it means to be a connected, global learner and in doing so create the climate where others might follow” (Wayne Demnar, @wdemnar).
Global Learning’s Impact on the Student
For students, “going global” can become an expectation and a learning habit—a good learning habit! “The impact of being a global educator is that we are providing a foundation for the future global citizens of the world, the well travelled, the active citizens, the artistic, scientific, the nurturers. . . . Being part of the development through education is a privilege” (Jane Ellem, @janeellem). Marzieh in Iran shares, “My students are more interested in my classes and listen to my words more than other teachers that do not have global view” (Marzieh Abedi).
“The change from a local student to a global learner is one I see played out annually and it is always my favourite global adventure” (Andrew Churches, New Zealand, @achurches).
Excitement and Engagement
Bringing the world into the learning environment is exciting and engaging—for teachers and students. While learning to be teachers, educators are often briefed on the “rabbit out of the hat” method for an engaged learning experience—and haven’t we all chased new rabbit and hat opportunities? I laugh to remember as a music educator (before the internet!) my two best “rabbit and hat” tricks were to take apart an acoustic piano to see hammers hit the strings and observe the inner design, or to bring a full drum kit into class for students to take turns learning basic beat (great for coordination, and such fun to take turns). Engagement with these activities in that era for the average middle school student was palpable, and now in a global technology-supported scenario excitement and engagement come from the impact of using digital-technology synchronous communication (such as a live Skype call with video) as well as carefully planned and implemented asynchronous communication (such as sharing class videos and discussing common interests in an online forum). Students love to see what others are doing beyond their classroom. As Karen Lirenman from Vancouver shared with me, when their partner global classroom was not available one day to do one-on-one Skype with her students to read aloud, they insisted on Skyping each other from opposite sides of the room. Fun and skill building, but more importantly the students had the global advantage— they expected a read-aloud activity to be different from the norm. Read more about Karen’s global classroom in Case Study 1.5.
Vicki, from Canada, tells us, “They learn from others around the world and not just myself but we also teach others about ourselves, country, world. You cannot get that experience from any text or website” (Vicki Morgado, @vickiemorgado1). In conjunction with this, Craig, USA, educator in Singapore, says, “Better ideas, more engaged and better opportunities. Student confidence is the most noticeable outcome” (Craig Kemp, @mrkempnz). Mahmud, IT leader in Lebanon, shares, “Students love it
[global connections], this is one big relief from the daily stress in our society. They learn and share with other cultures. They think out of the box, they enjoy interacting with other cultures. It is widely known that students compete to make friends with kids from other countries. They love to learn more about them” (Mahmud Shihab, @ mahmudshihab).
Open-Mindedness and Breakthrough of Stereotypical Understandings
For a student, of any age, participation in global activities and collaborations fosters open-mindedness as they learn to respect the opinions and customs of others. It has been shown that, by doing this, students are able to break through certain stereotypical attitudes and via personal interactions with others gain a deeper understanding of how the world works.
Sophie, USA, tells us that her students “often exhibit an understanding of “big picture concepts” or “big ideas.” They have shown an increased in tolerance and understanding towards others that are of different backgrounds and have learned that the information we receive is often culturally biased. They seek information from multiple sources and question more deeply” (Sophie De La Paz). Stephen in Kenya says, “The learners’ minds are opened up to unlimited possibilities. They also begin to view themselves as global citizens irrespective of any prejudices or barriers, physical or imagined. They begin to emerge from their self -imposed or other-imposed cocoons and express themselves freely for the benefit of all. This results in a more peaceful and loving school environment. There is environmental sustainability because he/she cares about posterity” (Stephen Opanga).
Change Makers
Learning about the world fosters understanding among students of what might be possible to help change the world.
According to Stephanie, USA, students are more aware of what’s occurring in the world around them and more committed to making change. Adam, Egypt, supports students becoming more vocal about issues, and understands that when kids see the big picture and they realize they can actually make a difference, it empowers them. Barbara, USA, reiterates this with, “Global education allows me to impact the future in a positive way. It allows the students to take a leadership role in their communities and realize that they, too, can have a positive impact—even at the young age of en or twelve!” (Barbara Edwards, @jane_edwardsbjh).
“A student once said to me that he thought all schools should have to work together with students from other parts of the world. When I asked why he said that, his response was that it would lead to less wars. His reasoning was that he had made many overseas friends during the project, and why would anyone want to go to war with their friends?” (Chris Betcher, Australia, @chrisbetcher).
Authentic Learning, with Real-World Partners
Students who learn in a global classroom expect to have different (and real) learning partners of all ages. They also expect to have an authentic audience for their products and produce artifacts that include blog posts, videos, images, and more. This is beyond textbook learning—the students become the textbook! What will provide more up-to-date information about a global occurrence, a historical event, or a current issue? A textbook—or interaction and collaboration with others involved in and related to the information being sought?
During the Flat Connections “A Week in the Life” project from February to June
2015 (upper elementary global issues project), a major earthquake hit Nepal. The Kathmandu school in the project, Lincoln School, was naturally affected, and both students and teachers in the project learned by direct contact and conversations about this impact on life and school for that community. This experiential and global learning is profound in many ways.
Pay it Forward
Students who learn in a global classroom expect to have different (and real) learning partners of all ages. They also expect to have an authentic audience for their products and produce artifacts that include blog posts, videos, images, and more. This is beyond textbook learning—the students become the textbook!
Kim, Thailand, tells us, “My students have an authentic audience of other students around the world for their work. They regularly share their thinking with other students in other parts of the world, get feedback on their work and offer feedback on theirs” (Kim Cofino, @mscofino). Tracey, USA says, “A more connected world. Kids work harder when their assignment is meaningful and authentic. I hope kids on both sides of the collaboration learn from one another. I hope the students take charge of their own learning and I merely facilitate” (Tracey Winey, @premediawine). Marianne, USA, also tells us, “My current leadership demonstrates they have little value for my international connections. My students, however, are very cognizant that I am connected with lots of interesting educators and that their work has an international audience. They are extremely excited that a game they developed was played in an Australian classroom. Occasionally, my students present via virtual worlds to international audiences; it’s a huge thrill for them to have their work see that kind of reach” (Marianne Malmstrom, @knowclue).
Ann’s students in Norway learn about social entrepreneurship and how to best help and solve global problems through making vital connections with a school in Lesotho. After devoting a day in Norway to raise funds to help rebuild the African school, seeds of understanding were sown among the students about the rest of world. The reality is that one day of work for a Norwegian can provide a one-year education scholarship for a Lesotho student. The new buildings, including technology, will be done by 2016. Read more about this in Case Study 2.5.
Future Employment
Julio from Venezuela says, “My students begin to discover a world of opportunities. For many of these, school is their only hope. Thanks to our project called Global School, we managed to win at least their hearts so that they can begin to believe that they can have a future” (Julio Rojas). Kevin, USA, states, “Preparing them for the future of work—that should ultimately be a global experience” (Kevin Cojanu).
Interest in Travel and International Study
“Many students become interested in travelling and leaving Lebanon when they see the better options in higher education and work opportunities,” says Mahmud Shihab in Lebanon, while Tina, in the USA, says, “Our connections with other countries have made that country come alive for my students instead of it being just a spot on the map that they read about” (Tina Schmidt, @MrsSchmidtB4).
Technological Savvy
Digital tools and the fluency needed to implement and manage them provide the bridge for students to learn about the frustrations and excitement of communicating and co-creating with people who are different and far away.
Ann, Australia, tells us, “For my students they have been impacted by communicating with people from overseas using technology. They learnt about the frustrations and the excitement of communication and co-creating with people who were new and different, and also discovered similarities in online conferences using” (Ann Rooney, @annrooney6). Felipe tells us, “The company I work for looks after nearly 400K students in Brazil. Being a global mind-set educator enables you to have some interesting insights and to benefit from them too. Recently, through our partnership with Intel Education, we managed to pilot an initiative with Intel tablets powered with a classroom management system of another partner, and it was a huge success. This is one example of the impact you can make in the life of students, we’ve got many others!” (Felipe Mileo).
Global Learning’s Impact on the Community
Attilio, teacher and teacher trainer in Italy, tells us global collaboration “broadens their [students’] perspectives, and provides a means for them to connect with learning within and beyond the classroom. Students and their families understand the importance of living in a globalized world and how the new learning technologies can help them connect to other schools in the world” (Attilio Galimberti). Theresa, USA, says, “Today we had our Open House where potential families come and visit our school. The hosts who walk the parents around visit my room and compliment on the great things we do in the lab and classrooms. They love hearing about how we connected with a school from Germany or they shared what their daily lives are like at their schools. Parents see the value and tell other parents about the things that are done in our school” (Theresa Allen, @tdallen5).
Goals, Challenges, and Enablers to Global Learning
When asked about goals and then related challenges and enablers, global educators shared a diverse range of ideas and influences.
Michael Roemer, USA, Director of Trinity Valley School, Global Initiatives Program, is challenged by the aim to create a culture of dignity and empathy through virtual and in-person exchanges, curricular enhancements with a multinational focus, and faculty development and training. The motto for the program is: OUR WORLD: Think about it, Talk about it, Do something.
Making Connections, PLN Development, and Shared Expectations
For Lara, China, some challenges include staying up to date; time constraints; shared understandings; and awareness of possibilities. Sonya and Andrew, both in New Zealand, also have time zone challenges, being on the far end of the date line! Andrew says, “Timezones, technology and teacher reluctance are the key challenges. In an isolated country like New Zealand our nearest neighbors are two hours different from us. This challenges the strictures of the teaching day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.” (Andrew Churches, @achurches).
Maggie, India, tells us, “It’s important to have really strong links with the teachers you are collaborating with before the students start to connect. I think it’s important that all the teachers and students feel they are getting something out of it and that they are invested in it—not just that they are sharing information that only one of the classes wants” (Maggie Hos McGrane, @mumbaimaggie). Toni, USA, says, “It is also important to find other teachers who understand and are dedicated to the importance of being globally connected” (Toni Olivieri-Barton, @toniobarton). Aaron, USA, shares that the main challenge for him is “working with people with different calendars, time zones, and expectations. The most frustrating piece is the follow through. So many times people drop the ball and after investing a lot of time and effort it falls flat” (Aaron Maurer, @coffeechugbooks).
Marianne, USA, shares that her goals are to learn from others from their personal practice to national policies and share how education is moving forward (or not) around the world. Whereas Marilyn, Australia, says, “I’d like to see all schools in Australia become global learning hubs—places where the process of learning is connected, collaborative and communicated in as many ways as possible, to many interested learners in local, national and global communities, through the use of tools for social learning. Here we are challenged by the availability of reliable connectivity for all global communities, available education hubs for all learners and the proficiency of teachers to enable global and connected learning to take place in their schools. Changes to the traditional thinking behind the delivery of education— the buildings, rooms, the blended learning model, the flattening of classrooms, the pedagogies involved—these are all part of providing a conducive environment for global learning” (Marilyn Snider, @malmade1).
Support and Guide Other Teachers
As the technology coach in an international school in Indonesia, Jane’s goal is to provide learning opportunities that enable students to connect with their environment and global issues and to provide support and guidance for teachers to do this while using technology and maintaining the momentum. Perla, Mexico, says, “Changing minds is not easy, sometimes we [teachers] say that we would like to try global learning but we don’t want to “waste time” learning something new. It is hard to accept that time will be a limited factor always, but being a global learner and risk taker brings a bigger reward” (Perla Zamora, @pzamoraats). Ann, Australia, states, “I also aim to support other teachers to use online learning systems and to connect globally. I am currently supporting a teacher in Nepal and this means limited internet but even limited connectivity helps build relationships so we can empathise with others” (Ann Rooney, @annrooney6).
Wayne Demnar, international school leader, shares, “I love the notion of sharing professional development with an international cohort—there is nothing more stimulating than learning with a coalition of the willing—it is inspiring to share your stories with people beyond your national borders.” Parambir, in India, shares that her challenge is that a global educator or global education leader has to learn from people living at a distance who are teaching and learning in specific conditions and environments. They then have to make innovations to adapt practices to their own infrastructure, environment, and needs. She states, “Presently, I have to motivate and inspire the teacher community of my region for the use of technology in education. Technology has become cheap enough to be adopted by the teacher community but lack of infrastructure at school level is a challenge. I have to make the teacher community learn to use technology to enhance their own competency, learn from the global community, and adopt/innovate classroom practices as per availability of resources at school level” (Parambir Singh Kathait).
For Judy, higher education lecturer in Australia, the goal is to change/nurture as many educators as she can to become global educators themselves! Theresa, USA, says, “I want to be in a position where I can share my experiences and knowledge with other teachers—a much larger group than just my school and Diocese. I want to reach others and show them the importance of global education and how fun it really is!” Her challenge is “being flexible and knowing the outcome may not go as planned. To be structured is to be fractured. You will lose learning time on the little things. If things don’t work out, have a plan B and move on. Get back to it another time” (Theresa Allen, @tdallen5). Moliehi in Lesotho aims to make teachers aware of the importance of integrating technology in the classroom and to help teachers as well as learners in their teaching and learning in all the schools around the country. She states, “The limitation of resources is a serious challenge in my case. I am working day and night to get information that will help teachers and learners to perform their work better” (Moliehi Sekese).
Make a Difference and Effect Change
In New Zealand Sonya shared that her goal is to make a difference, “It is all very well sharing and curating what I do, but my current aim is to make a difference in the lives of the current generation of children. That together we can make changes to policies and laws that affect our daily lives” (Sonya Van Schaijik, @vanschaijik). Emily, USA, says her goals are: “To change the world for the better. To change the education system to be more inclusive and equitable. To make things better for those who struggle in a system that is not often fair” (Emily McCarren, @emilymccarren), while Kevin, USA, wants to, “prepare every student I touch to be a global leader and someone who shares experiences—pays it forward! The challenge is boundaries that prevent sharing and human growth in every economic level” (Kevin Cojanu).
Felipe, Brazil, wants to give students chances of being better human beings and make their lives better, and shares, “I reckon the biggest challenge is to keep up to date with all initiatives and innovations within the market, and also change the mindset of people, or at least make them start thinking about changing their mindset, toward 21st century education” (Felipe Mileo). Larisa, USA, is challenged by leading change and transforming education and wants to “increase participation in STEM disciplines by all students to meet the needs of an innovation-driven globally competitive workforce . . . to enable the next generation . . . to be effective in and with other countries/cultures in solving the problems urgently confronting the world’s populations and working successfully across global cultural differences” (Larisa Schelkin, @Larisa_Schelkin).
In Iran, Marzieh, an iEARN educator, tells us, “I like to make differences. I want to make people think deeply and have peace in their minds and respect to all people with different views. I want to make problems be solved and if every country or school or student have problems and need help and advice I could do something and make good connections among all teachers and students. Iran is challenged by being updated and trying to get new methods and solutions to issues including online access with good speeds, and learner motivation” (Marzieh Abedi).
Technology Issues
So, now we get to some of the issues specifically related to availability, access and maintenance of the much-needed technology. It is interesting to note at this point that a multiple case study research design employed by Ertmer and colleagues (Ertmer, Ottenbreit-Leftwich, Sadik, Sendurur, & Sendurer, 2012) examined similarities and differences among pedagogical beliefs and technology practices of educators using emerging technologies. Results suggest that knowledge and skills as well as attitudes and beliefs (described as second-order barriers), not hardware, software, and networking issues (known as first-order barriers), are the gatekeepers to better use of technology for learning.
Julio shares, “In our country, Venezuela, we face great difficulties, one of which is precisely the technology gap. My society still sees with skepticism the use of technology. My challenge is to demonstrate that technology can open up large and very important experiences” (Julio Rojas). Vickie, Canada, says her challenges are with technology not always working and goes on to list, “Technology not always enough for what I want to accomplish and people being fearful of what I am trying to accomplish due to a lack of knowledge or ignorance” (Vickie Morgado, @VickieMorgado1). In Australia, Sue Beveridge, @BeveridgeSue, is challenged by “interoperability of technology,” and Mike Bartlett, also in Australia, by “funding, technological barriers and the pace of technological change, teacher willingness and capacity to engage with collaborative technologies, ensuring equity of access and opportunity for local students.”
Community Engagement—Closing the Gap
Another major challenge for global educators is fostering positive community engagement. There continue to be stories of communities blocking teachers and schools from connecting with the outside world, for a variety of reasons, including social, political, and religious. One challenge is to engage the learning community in positive global engagement that is customized to their needs so everyone feels comfortable and can be proactive in their support. This is very doable! One size does not fit all circumstances, and we know enough about building learning communities to understand the important role the education leader—the global education leader—plays in this.
Pay it Forward
One challenge a global educator and leader has is to engage the learning community in positive global engagement that is customized to their needs so everyone feels comfortable and can be proactive in their support.
Stephanie shares, “I think the primary challenge is explaining the importance of global education within the context of a traditional history curriculum. I am often in the position of describing to parents or families the rationale for my global education course, as they expect a chronological, historically rooted course underpinned by a textbook. Because my course is so far from that (we do not have a textbook and instead, use contemporary news sources to develop context for global issues), parents sometimes share discomfort, confusion, or distaste for the method of teaching” (Stephanie Wujcik, @StephWuj45). Suud, from Nigeria, states, “Well. I feel I still need more international experience. My goal is to be an educator that helps my nation in closing the gap between my nation and the civilized nation” (Suud Hibatullah), and Jason, in Indonesia, is challenged by getting buy-in from parents, administrators, and staff members through being able to “Convince new parents and admin and maybe other teachers as to the benefits of global connections and why we need to model responsible digital citizenship” (Jason Graham, @jasongraham99).
Finding Global Partners
There is a lot to say about how and where to find global partners, and this is covered later in this book. However, Michael in the USA is challenged by “finding schools to partner with in different regions of the globe; convincing teachers of the value of a global education; creating exchanges that work with current curricula and do not add much to the teacher’s (already) full plate” (Michael Roemer).
Curriculum Development and Change
Global educators need to push the boundaries of global learning and pedagogy and build new learning experiences in meaningful ways.
Sophie, USA, says, “There is no test to “prove” the students are learning something. This type of learning cannot be measured by state standardized tests and therefore it is often used as a secondary curriculum when it could be the main aspect of the learning environment. Schools could implement entire units of study and utilize a PBL approach to reach CCS in various subject areas whilst working on globally themed projects. Unfortunately, these types of projects are often regulated to a computer class project and are not given the importance they merit” (Sophie de La Paz).
Challenges to curriculum development and change shared by global educators include:

  1. To design projects that excite other teachers
  2. Getting people to understand that it’s not “one more thing,” but that it is how you achieve the many things desired for students. It takes upfront work (planning) and maintenance throughout exchanges that take time—and time is what people don’t have
  3. Every school is different. Great ideas in one place don’t always work in other places. This makes it hard to apply things from one place to another
  4. To move beyond just simple activities like mystery Skype or letter exchanges and develop something more long term and deep
Sue, Australia, tells us, “The goal is to build the capacity of teachers to use technology to take their students beyond the walls of the classroom, to embed in their learning programs a regular opportunity for students to collaborate and connect with people and students from other cultures and fields of knowledge. The challenge is curriculum alignment and space within the workday and curriculum demands of teachers to complete complex projects” (Sue Beveridge, @BeveridgeSue). Emily, USA, shares, “My goal as a global educator is to teach children in Mexico and Colombia and Venezuela to be bilingual at an early age and to have the media and materials available to learn. I feel like people that went and got their four-year degree in the United States will talk about Thoreau or Emerson as great novelists, because they are important to Americans. But that doesn’t mean they are necessarily important to people in other countries. My other goal is to be more informed with different writers and novelists in these countries, not just musicians, athletes and actors” (Emily Kibble).
Andrew in New Zealand says, “Teachers are often reluctant to change and adapt their teaching programmes. Most schools are assessment driven and with this restriction struggle to change and seize the teachable moment. Technology can provide barriers and challenges, access to sites and tools blocked by local administrators or national policy; reliability and connection speed all provide obstacles, but like all obstacles they can be overcome and the outcome far outweighs these challenges” (Andrew Churches, @achurches). Matt Esterman, Australia, aims to “test and adopt great ideas that will be of benefit to my students. To connect my students with experiences that they could not otherwise get (or might not think to engage with)” and tells us he is challenged by time to organize and maintain globally focused projects as well as curriculum restrictions.
Inspire Students
Kristina, Australian edupreneur, says she always aims to connect educators and students to social and environmental sustainability with the intention of fostering solution development and is challenged by making the time in structured timetables. Dianne, USA primary-level teacher, says, “I would like to inspire my students to change the world or to at least make a positive difference. They need to be able to interact safely and responsibly online and with each other. The challenge is time to collaborate and invest in these connections PLUS time zone issues” (Dianne Shapp, @dshapp). In Lebanon, Mahmud tells us, “Our main goal at International College is to prepare global leaders. We strive to do that. We are investing in encouraging social entrepreneurship to prepare our students to create sustainable solutions to our world problems. Sometimes we forget our own traditions and we focus more on the others’. This is a main challenge. It is important to preserve our own values and traditions and present them to others while learning the best from others” (Mahmud Shihab, @mahmudshihab).
“Our goal is to widen the horizons of the young and the young at heart. To ensure social integration, peaceful coexistence amongst diverse cultures and racial or ethnic backgrounds. To cause and enhance environmental care and sustainability for posterity. In many places you are ahead of your time, so you will be misunderstood, but so was Plato and Einstein.” Stephen Opanga, Kenya
Further encouragement for global educators comes from Maggie Hos McGrane at the American School in Bombay, India.
Global Connected Learning in Action in India
The International Baccalaureate (IB) mission statement refers to international mindedness as understanding that “other people, with their differences, can also be right.” As a global educator I try to actively model respect, acceptance and tolerance for others’ viewpoints and to open up students to these too.
At ASB we are constantly asking, “What are the purposes of education?” Traditionally we say that education should prepare students for the future. Our Superintendent, Craig Johnson, recently asked “What future?” Are we preparing students for their future here at ASB? For their future in another school, as our students’ families are highly mobile? For their future at university? For their life?
When asked this question, John Dewey’s response was that a teacher should provoke “a continuous interest in learning throughout a student’s life.” In today’s world, we see many national curriculums with narrow standards and high-stake tests that mean that what is important to learn has been whittled down to the things that are easily testable. The impact of this is that many key, creative, subjects such as music and art as well as foreign languages, science, social studies and PE are getting less and less time. I would say that another of my goals as a global educator is to question this and to ensure that there is a broader focus in the schools where I work.
I’m hoping that our students will come to see the power of technology for creating virtual classrooms and learning communities with other students whom they have never met offline and that this will lay good foundations for them becoming responsible digital citizens and being able to create their own networks and learning communities in the future.
Global Educator Case Studies
 s a culmination to Part One: The Global Educator, seven global educators tell their personal stories of the ‘how and why’ of being a global educator. These educators span primary, middle and high school as well as teacher-educator
levels of learning. More importantly these educators share how taking a global pathway has shaped their learning environments and impacted their students and how, despite some obstacles, it is a pathway they take every day with renewed determination. The full case studies can be found in the Global Educator ebook.
Case Study 1.1 Anne Mirtschin: The World is My Classroom
Anne Mirtschin is an award-winning teacher from Victoria, Australia whose most recent major awards are ICT in Education Victoria Educator of the Year and Australian Computer Educator of the Year 2012. She teaches information and communication technology (ICT) from Grade 3 through Year 12 at Hawkesdale P12 College, a small rural prep to year 12 school and is passionate about rural and global education, immersing technology in the classroom. Anne loves collaborating, teaching and learning online; is the Australasian Coordinator for the Global Education Conference, an active member of Flat Connections Projects and live events, a lead teacher for the Global Classroom projects, and has presented locally, nationally and globally.
Anne is what I call a ‘teacherpreneur’ in that she finds and designs opportunities for her students and fellow teachers and brings rich learning activities to the classroom. Anne and I connected online in the early Web 2.0 days through like-minded approaches to global collaboration in the classroom. In 2009 she intrepidly brought students to the first Flat Classroom Conference held in Doha, Qatar. Although at that time other schools from Australia were not allowed to travel to the Middle East, Anne was not daunted.
What immediately becomes obvious with Anne is her facility and skill with the technology—making it usually do what she needs when she needs it, and her absolute love of connecting with the world. Seeing the world through her student’s eyes and facilitating, or rather, in the words of John Hattie, ‘activating’ learning connections and collaborations is what Anne does best through her passion for global learning. She is an ongoing inspiration to many other global educators!
Connect with Anne Mirtschin
Blog: this case study find out Anne’s strategies for connecting with the world, the challenges she faces to global collaboration in the classroom, and how she prepares for and scaffolds global collaboration across the school curriculum. Most interesting is the Anne talks about how global collaboration has changed the learning ecology of her school, and how it has impacted positively on her students.
Case Study 1.2  Kim Cofino: A Globally Connected Educator
Kim Cofino, international educator from the USA, is an experienced, enthusiastic and innovative globally minded educator. She is passionate about empowering teachers to become learning leaders, as well as building strong collaborative teams among teacher leaders. Kim is a COETAIL co-founder (, and an Eduro Learning Founding Partner (, as well as a regular presenter and keynote speaker at conferences and professional development sessions worldwide.
I first came to know Kim online, as I get to know most colleagues in my network, and then in 2008 brought Kim into my school, Qatar Academy in Doha, Qatar to lead a 2-day workshop for the Primary Years Programme (PYP) teachers focusing on the use of technology to build new learning experiences, including global connections. Subsequent to that successful experience Kim and I worked together occasionally leading teacher and student workshops and we joined forces to bring the Flat
Connections Conference to Yokohama International School (YIS), Japan, in 2013.
Global Educator Case Studies
If any one educator could be designated to encapsulate the words ‘global’ as well as ‘international’ it is Kim. In conjunction with her meticulous and methodical approach to embedding new technologies into effectively-designed curriculum Kim has a unique perspective on what it takes to move an international school forward, and shares her story of having led new connected and global teaching and learning approaches at international schools.
Connect with Kim Cofino
Blog: this case study Kim shares her many experiences as an international educator in roles where student and teacher use of digital technology is a focus.
Case Study 1.3 Michael Graffin: Leading The Global Classroom Project An Australian Teacher’s Story
Michael Graffin is a K–6 ICT Teacher and Integrator at Iona Presentation Primary School ( in Perth, Western Australia. He is a relatively new global educator whose passion for alternative approaches to learning globally led him to co-found The Global Classroom Project. Although not an extensive global traveller himself yet, Michael has a unique determination to bring global learning to his students and shares his pathway of doing this.
I first met Michael in person at the iEARN Conference in Qatar, 2013, and then in the following year he took the trek from the west coast of Australia over to Sydney to join the Flat Connections Conference in 2014. In 2015, Michael received international recognition for his work at Iona PS, and with The Global Classroom Project. He won an Emerging Leader Award from the International Society for Technology in Education, and our project came Runner Up in the inaugural ISTE Innovation in Global Collaboration PLN Award 2015—and he trekked to Philadelphia to claim it!
In this case study Michael shares his journey, ambitions and vision as a young global educator. He shares the challenges of global collaboration and the message that we are not alone—technology brings us together—and together we can help to change the world.
Connect with Michael Graffin
Case Study 1.4  Janice Newlin: Taking Teacher Education Global
Janice Newlin is an adjunct instructor who teaches Educational Technology courses for two universities, Athens State University in Athens, Alabama and Auburn University Montgomery in Montgomery, Alabama, USA. She also serves as an Intern Supervisor for Athens. She has over 17 years classroom experience most of which she has integrated technology in her curriculum. She also has experience training pre-service and in-service teachers on how to integrate technology into their own curriculum as well. She believes technology is a tool for students to become the creator of their learning and to engage in deep and higher level thinking.
Janice is one of the teacher-educators featured in this book. Through careful curriculum redesign Janice has mapped out a pathway for her students to connect, communicate, and collaborate with others beyond their usual boundaries, often to their amazement! Her resolve that global learning is imperative is encouraging for all educators and inspiring to other teacher educators perhaps working in systems that need overhaul and change to produce the teachers we need to see in schools and new learning environments today.
Connect with Janice Newlin
Case Study 1.5  Karen Lirenman: Early Years Students Go Global
Karen Lirenman, an early years educator in Vancouver, Canada, is an award winning primary school teacher who is transforming education by connecting her students with the world using Twitter, blogs, and video conferencing. Her students have choice in how to learn, show, and share their knowledge. In 2013 Karen was awarded ISTE’s Kay L Bitter Vision Award for excellence in technology-based PK-2 education.
Global Educator Case Studies
Karen’s mission as a teacher is to change the world one six year old at a time (or through their teachers).
When talking with Karen I was struck by her flexibility to not just integrate technology but to also embed technology-infused learning into everyday classroom experiences where in fact ‘flat’ learning has become the norm and the expectation of her students. In this case study Karen shares the foundation of her ‘flat’ classroom and how being a global educator means everything to her!
Connect with Karen Lirenman
Professional Blog:
Class Blog:
Case Study 1.6  Lizzie Hudson: Being an International Educator
Originally from the USA, Lizzie and her husband have taught overseas for more than 10 years and between them have taught in Korea, Hong Kong, Honduras, Thailand and Colombia. She now works in Malaysia at IGB International School and continues to push the limits of digital technologies.
Lizzie came onto my horizon when writing this book and her bubbly enthusiasm inspired me to share her unique global journey of international teaching.
Connect with Lizzie Hudson
Coetail Blog:
Case Study 1.7  Julie Carey: Write Our World
Julie Carey is a Flat Connections Global Educator who is following a passion for helping kids share their stories. She wrote to me recently, “I have just founded an international nonprofit called Write Our World, an online library of ebooks created by kids for kids. We work with children everywhere to publish bilingual ebooks about their cultures, using their native languages. We also reach out to schools to build our library patronage and provide teachers with guidance about how to use it. Our work is inspired by the emergence of collaborative online educational innovations that connect students from all over the world.”
This case study is her inspirational story from being an international language educator to a creator of global books!
Connect with Julie Carey

Table of Contents

Foreword   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . . ix
Introduction   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   . 1
Part One: The Global Educator
Chapter 1: Attributes of a Global Educator   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 6
Chapter 2: Digital Technologies to Support Global Learning   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 34
Chapter 3: What Is Global Connected Learning?   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 40
Chapter 4: The Impact of Global Learning   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  48
Global Educator Case Studies   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   65
Part Two: Leadership for Global Education
Chapter 5: The Global Education Leader   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 72
Chapter 6: How to Lead for Global Citizenship   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  88
Chapter 7: The Global Education Leader in Action   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .95
Chapter 8: Online Global Communities of Practice   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  103
Global Education Leader Case Studies   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .120
Part 3: Online Global Collaboration
Chapter 9: What is Online Global Collaboration?   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .132
Chapter 10: Why Online Global Collaboration?   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .141
Chapter 11: Barriers and Enablers to Global Collaboration   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .154
Chapter 12: Online Global Collaboration: Design for Action   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . .  .   163
Online Global Collaboration Case Studies   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . .198
Part Four: Take Learning Global
Chapter 13: Global Educator, Global Community   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 209
Chapter 14: Supporting Organizations and Resources   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . .217
Take Learning Global Case Studies   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 229
Conclusion: The Imperative of Becoming Global   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   237
References   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  245
Index   .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . .253
To John Lindsay for his tireless and unwavering support of my  global adventures and to Violet Rose Lindsay, my third culture  kid daughter, who understands what I do and why I do it.

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