One of my goals as a teacher is to adequately prepare my students for the world that awaits them. This means they need to be globally competent. Students need to understand the world is larger than the area that they live. They need to be aware of the different cultures and philosophies that exist in the world. In the technological world we live in, creating a globalized classroom is easier than it has been in the past. The internet and the growth of open educational resources provide opportunities to learn for teachers and students. The growth and affordability of mobile devices provides additional opportunities. Here are three suggestions on creating the global classroom: 1) virtual field trips 2) Skype 3) Classroom Nings.
Virtual Field Trips
Virtual field trips allow you to take your class on a field trip that typically would cost thousands of dollars. Of course it isn't the same, but the photos and in some cases videos of "tour guides" take you to the Brazilian Rainforest, the Egyptian pyramids, or a safari in Kenya.
Skype can be used in a multitude of ways. It could be used within the school building to co-teach. It could also be used to collaborate with another classroom in another school. Collaboration with another school would be ideal to "expose" your students with other students with another view of life. One powerful use of Skype would be to partner with people in the business world so students could ask questions and learn about possible future jobs they may pursue.
Nings are powerful collaboration tools that have forums, blogs, chats, and other widgets. They can be marked "private" for student protection, but would allow students the opportunity to interact online with others for an educational purpose. This takes some organization on the teachers' part, but I see value in collaboration and bringing students of different backgrounds and lifestyles together and share their thoughts and ideas with one another.
These are just a few tools to begin the process of creating and fostering a globally competent student.