Today my school had visitors from the Chinese Delegation on Private Schools based in Shanghai researching private schools in America. Not only was it a great opportunity, as always, to brag on my alma mater and current employer, but it was a great time to discuss and reflect on the opportunities provided as an 1:1 educator to connect globally.
I was impressed to learn that our Chinese counterparts use technology similarly in their classrooms.
In my presentation for the Delegation, I talked about our school’s mission to prepare students to be 21st century learners and leaders. We talked specifically about how our one to one program helps to teach students the skills of communication, collaboration, creativity, innovation, and critical thinking. I think to be global learners, the communication and collaboration piece is important. There are many ways that we can do this through one to one technology. Of course chatting online, email, blogs, social networking is a big piece, but I think that video chatting is something that students get really excited about. So much of their world is texting, emailing, posting, and tweeting. I think that the chance to have “face-face” interaction is exciting and important for the students to experience.
I have only tested the waters with regard to communicating with others outside of the school. I have had my class Skype with a classes of students from the local university, University of Kentucky, several times to collaborate on various projects. I have also set up a video conference via Skype with a local Congress woman to talk to a Social Studies class. I think that this is a wonderful tool that can help our students learn the important 21st century skills of collaboration and communication. I hope in the future we can broaden our horizons even more!