In December I had the opportunity to hear Ray McNulty speak at Lindenwood and during one section of the day he showed the above video to start a discussion about how we are in a global society. In the video, you will see a multitude of yellow dots, each representing an airplane traveling. What’s I find interesting about this is that, as the day moves on, you see certain areas of the world come alive, almost as if we are migrating to one part of the world and then the population and trend reverses. At one point I remember (however, I can’t seem to find it) seeing a map similar to this that highlighted air travel just 20 years ago and the difference is marked. Instead of the mass migration of the little yellow dots across the oceans, our travel was much more centralized to a specific area or country. Of course there were still plenty of planes flying at that time, but not like now. Each day, regardless of the area of the world, we are becoming more collaborative with other cultures. This globalization is also becoming part of the educational culture as well. Teachers are more willing to look outside of their own classrooms and connect their students to other countries and students to learn from them. The Flat Classroom Project is one of those that has connected students from around the world as they learn and work together. Skype has an educational space where you can connect your classroom with others around the world. These are only two such examples but there are plenty more that will allow students to connect with others.
However, there are plenty more out there and they are not limited to students. Teachers also have the ability to connect with each other on Twitter by participating in online chats, joining email rings at Teachers.net, becoming a STAR educator with Discovery Education, or even looking to many of the professional organizations that are out there. It’s important to continue to learn and explore topics with local colleagues, but there are so many resources that can be tapped into beyond the four walls of our schools. Making connections with and for students to that global community is becoming more and more important. It provides perspective, challenges ideas, and gives us a sense of our place in the world. Just as all of those little yellow dots are traveling around the world in the video, we now have the tools available to us to get us outside of our classrooms without having to actually travel anywhere. It’s time to start taking advantage of them.
Cross posted to Northeast Middle Friday Flyer