Global Connections

Global Connections: Learning With, not About, People from Other Countries
By Atieno Adala (from Kenya) and Deb Hutton, (from Canada) from the Indiana University. Yet another Keystone Conference session.

This presentation covers programs done by the International Studies in Schools content provider. They connect US students to international locations, and also allow students to talk to international people who are studying or working at Indiana University.

They showed a nice collection of pictures of international connections they’ve had.

We also saw a 5 min. clip of a connection from last week where students in several locations around the world discussed the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.

Undergraduate students at IU and other places shared their thoughts on how governments are addressing the problems in their countries and in the world.

As always with multipoint videoconferencing with tons of sites, there’s some mic rattling sounds coming from an unknown location. Fun fun! But we’re learning anyway!

I really like how Deb addressed the question on time zones. She said “it’s about mutual respect.” This means who is it that comes in at a inconvenient time to connect for the program? Sometimes the only way we can connect with an international school is if we connect in the evening our time.

Atieno shared a good set of tips for working with international presenters. This included focusing on contemporary information, using the presenters strengths, preparing students for a thick accent, and preparing students to ask good questions and to make respectful comments. As is true with good ASK programs (link), don’t ask questions or look for a presentation on something you can find in the textbook! Take advantage of learning from the experiences of the presenter.

Another good tip included: being respectful of their date, time, holidays, safety, context and needs. Share equally the connection time for their benefit as well as that of your students. I.e. plan the program so that both classes are learning what they need/want to from the program.

Tips on good instruction was included as well: short activities, involving learners, focus on 3-4 main points, etc.

Sample sessions they’ve done (requested by teachers not designed by Deb Hutton):

  • Affects of the African Rainforest Biome on the Local Culture
  • The Daily Culture of South Korea
  • Living Under Apartheid in South Africa
  • All About Paris
  • Germany: Memories of WWII
  • Travel in Spain
  • Mathematical Symmetry in Turkey
  • Raising Children in Kenya & Russia
  • Transitions: Communism to Capitalism
  • Series: The Daily Cultures of Bulgaria, India & Kenya
  • Series: What do you want to know about Afghanistan? Iraq? Islam?

I think that International Studies custom programs are hidden resource many of us haven’t considered or realized! This possibility of designing a custom program tailored to your curriculum is wonderful!

Deb’s handouts have a wonderful set of links for international programming – both VCs and email projects. Scroll down on the page to find her presentation handouts. Great set!

0 replies on “Global Connections”

  1. Pretty much nothing seems worth doing. I’ve just been letting everything happen without me these days. I’ve just been sitting around waiting for something to happen, but whatever.

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