Modern technology has created a global village. But Earth and its digital infrastructure are vast environments. Reaching everyone is not only impossible – it’s pointless. The skills students need to be productive global citizens are evolving. While technology is not the answer, it can provide students with new opportunities to share and learn. By connecting and collaborating with an interested audience of similar passions, students become valuable leaders and participants in a personalized global learning community.
There are approximately seven billion people on this earth. When students spend hours working on a project to share with their classmates, their time and effort have effectively reached .0000004% of the world’s population.
So Why Bother?
While technology makes life easier, hard work is still a main ingredient in the recipe of success. Preparing students for an uncertain future involves providing them with purposeful learning opportunities and experiences that challenge and motivate them to high levels of productivity and action. The ultimate goal of education should be to create individuals ready to be productive players in their community and their world.
Participating online is more than sharing ideas and content, it should require students to interact, encourage, and inspire with an understanding that learning is an ongoing, fluid process and technology simply provides a channel for creativity. As teachers, the challenge is to use technology in a positive way to foster natural curiosity and create shared learning experiences. Students can contribute in meaningful ways beyond the classroom if they follow their passions to create quality connections and content for their global learning community.
Students need opportunities to interact with a vast audience. But that audience should match who they are, what they are interested in, and what they are passionate about. Trying to reach everyone is a pointless. Technology is a great place to start, but it’s not the answer. The student’s job is to find and connect with people that are truly interested in what they have to share and are willing to collaborate with them as partners in learning. Each individual has to build a global network and work to be a productive part of it. The teacher’s job is to open the door to global learning opportunities.
Thanks to the following articles for inspiration:
How Would You Share Student Work Online? – Susan Sedro
Students as Contributors: The Digital Learning Farm – Alan November
Publishers, Participants All – Will Richardson