Students use digital tools to broaden their perspectives and enrich their learning by collaborating with others and working effectively in teams locally and globally.

1.7.a Global Connections

Students use digital tools to connect with learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, engaging with them in ways that broaden mutual understanding and learning.

1.7.b Multiple Viewpoints

Students use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts and community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.

1.7.c Project Teams

Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal.

1.7.d Local and Global Issues

Students explore local and global issues, and use collaborative technologies to work with others to investigate solutions.

One of the highlights of my time in the Digital Education Leadership program is the global collaboration project that took place in the spring quarter. This significant experience serves as a perpetual reminder of the value of global connections, and how students use digital tools to connect with learners from different backgrounds and cultures (1.7.a). The enthusiasm of my first-grade class in getting to know students from various parts of the world was remarkable, especially after spending the previous year in remote learning due to the global pandemic. In this project, we connected with a third-grade class from Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada, and a fifth-grade class from Surabaya, Indonesia. We were able to hold Zoom meetings with the fifth graders from Surabaya, but due to the huge time zone difference with Canada, all our correspondence with the third graders was prerecorded.

This project is part of a social studies inquiry unit called ‘Learning to understand your environment.’ Together, we explored this question: How does our environment influence our daily lives? 

Figure 1: Social studies inquiry unit

As global citizens, it is crucial for students to delve into both local and global topics (1.7.d). I am of the opinion that the topic concerning the impact of the environment on its residents is inherently both a local and global issue. Despite variations in weather, jobs, economics, education, land features, population and other aspects, each environment exerts diverse influences on its inhabitants. For example, in Canada, the four seasons impact how students go to school. During the cold weather, it is important that students are dressed appropriately so they are able to play safely and comfortably outside, especially when the days get extremely cold. Although that is not the case in Indonesia, students who live in Indonesia need to ensure that they are ready for the heat and high humidity. This means staying hydrated and getting enough protection from the sun, especially when playing outside. 

An important part of global collaboration is being able to work with multiple viewpoints on a common topic (1.7.b). Embracing multiple perspectives doesn’t necessarily imply conflicting views but rather acknowledging that there can be more than one valid standpoint, more than one solution to a problem, and more than one approach to a task. This adaptability and openness are not only powerful but also increasingly necessary in the present era.

An excellent illustration of collaboration amid diverse and multiple viewpoints is evident in book clubs. Book clubs provide a wonderful opportunity for students to learn collaboratively, working together in teams to achieve a common goal (1.7.c). One of the Common Core standards for speaking and listening in Grade 4 is to “engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly (https://corestandards.org/). We conduct book clubs several times throughout the year because discussions centered on books can only benefit the readers . These guided conversations assist readers in deepening their comprehension of the plot, theme and the underlying message of the story. The act of asking questions and listening to others’ perspectives helps readers in appreciating various viewpoints and clarifying their own understanding.

In conclusion, I would like to share an excerpt from my blog post called “What is the role of service learning in developing global collaborator skills?” (blog post link):

The current digital technologies have opened the doors wide open to enable students to share common goals, work together to solve problems and collaborate with students from different backgrounds and perspectives and live across the globe. Students can make a difference, not only in their own communities but also in a global and more encompassing way.

6 Creative Communicator