Sunday, January 26, 2014


Expanding my PLN

This week I explored using Twitter.  Twitter is a social media tool that can connect me with others that share my interests, and provides a platform from which to learn and share ideas and information.   To learn more about twitter, I watched Tech Talk 003 monitored by Ian O'Byrne.  

I've started tweeting to #Walkmyworld. This hashtag collects images and information from anyone wishing to join. Walkmyworld is a poetry project. 

After viewing Tech Talk 003, I decided to google Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck will allow me to organize tweets.  I found this tutorial of tweet deck to be very helpful. 

I Googled educational hashtags and found Educational Twitter Hashtags from Cybraryman.
My tweetdeck is up and I'm checking it daily.  On my way to using Twitter as a tool for professional development and sharing of ideas! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Making Images a Source of Information Using Thinglink

Thinglink is a free online tool that will allow you to to embed resource links within images.  Add multimedia resources to make your images rich with your information.  Checkout my tutorial to learn how to use Thinklink.

How Can Distance Learning Help Learners?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Learning Management Systems

Education for Global Competence - Taking Action

Reading: Education for Global Competence:Preparing our Youth to Engage the World
by Veronica Boix Mansilla & Anthony Jackson

In chapter 6 of Educating for Global Competence: Preparing our Youth to Engage the World, we learn how globally competent students act on their learning. It is not enough to learn about the world, globally competent students put their learning into action. As stated in the chapter, globally competent students:
  • Identify and create opportunities for personal or collaborative action to address situation, events, issues, or phenomena in ways that improve conditions.
  • Assess options and plan actions based on evidence and the potential for impact, taking into account previous approaches, varied perspectives, and potential consequences.
  • Act, personally or collaboratively, in creative and ethical ways to contribute to improvement locally, regionally, or globally and assess the impact of the actions taken.
  • Reflect on their capacity to advocate for and contribute to improvement locally, regionally, or globally.
The chapter presents three examples of globally competent students. Each example begins with a real authentic problem that motivates the students to learn and to take action. Students develop a sense of being able to make a difference, and being able to make a contribution to address the issue. In each example, students identify opportunities to contribute, research issues and solutions, collaborate with others, take action, and reflect on their actions.  
The following is a synopsis of each example.  
Florence, an 11 year old from Amnesty International/Drayton Park Primary School in London England, had a desire to improve the conditions of children living in detention centers in the U.K. After learning of a competition about human rights sponsored by Amnesty International and The Guardian newspaper, she conducted research and wrote an essay, “Is This Nazi Germany?” Her essay won the primary category of Amnesty International’s Young Human Rights Reporter of the Year 2010.  The recognition she received from her essay led her to look for other ways to help refugee children. She joined a young campaigners’ group of Amnesty International to raise  awareness of the harmful effects detention centers have on children. Florence reflects on her actions and hopes to contribute to the actions of others. She acknowledges her family and teachers who encouraged her to take action.

Sofia, is a 9th grader from International Baccalaureate: St. George School in Bueno Aires, Argentina. Sofia’s music teacher claimed that globalization is leading to the loss of traditional pre-Columbian rhythms, cultures, and artifacts by the youth of the Andes region. The music teacher then asked her class how these traditions could be preserved. In order to address the issue, the class commenced on an in depth study of the Andean culture. After reviewing how to best address the problem, the class decided to create a project in which they would build a series of sikus (traditional Andean flutes) out of recycled materials.  They would share their instruments with children whose families were descendants of Andean populations. The sikus were built and  decorated with traditional Andean art motifs. The students then distributed the sikus’ to migrant children of a very poor neighborhood and taught them how to play them.  Sofia’s report on the project articulates her advocacy for acceptance of all members of her community. In her report, she describes the classes’ actions as a move away from discrimination and intolerance towards tolerance, respect, and acceptance of all members of their community.

The final example is of Susanna Pierce, a teacher of the 12th grade macroeconomic class at the International Studies Schools Network International School of the Americas. She challenged her students to assume the role of a Non-governmental organization seeking a subsidy from the United Nations of funds donated by the World Bank to the United Nations for their Millenium Development Goals. The subsidy would pay for the implementation of a project that would stimulate economic growth in a developing country.  Five students collaborated to produce a plan aimed at seeking a solution to the water pollution of Thailand.  Students conducted research and decided to develop a plan to distribute potable water to 7,000 people and to educate citizens about clean water and how to access it. On a trip to Washington DC, these students had the opportunity to share their plan with a representative of World Bank. Students were able to discuss and answers questions about their plan. The World Bank representative was highly impressed with the students. The students commented that their ability to present their plan was the best part of their entire visit to Washington.  They felt they had made a contribution to an urgent problem.

In all of these examples the students gained knowledge, and showed motivation, enthusiasm, and a feeling of making a meaningful contribution. Their work is exemplary of globally competent students.

Educating for Global Competence

Reading:  Educating for Global Competence: Preparing our Youth to Engage the World by Veronica Boix Mansilla & Anthony Jackson
Responses to Reflection Questions

I. From your perspective, in what ways are the societal and environmental transformations here described affecting your students’ lives today? How will they be affected in the future?

Globalization is increasing the cultural and racial diversity in our classrooms, neighborhoods, and communities. In my observation, there are more students of different cultures present in the classroom than ever before. They speak different languages, have different custom and values, and hold different perspectives. Some students find it easy to accept diversity, are inquisitive, and want to learn about cultures and customs. Yet others are more  reluctant and find it difficult to engage with students of different backgrounds. Students must be encouraged  to embrace and celebrate world cultures in order to guide them towards acceptance, respect, and tolerance of  diversity.  Our students have a great opportunity to learn about the world first hand by interacting and communicating with students,  neighbors, and members of their community that are from different cultural backgrounds.  As we continue our transformation into a global society, our students will be interacting more and more with people of differing cultures in all aspects of their lives.  Students who can share, collaborate, and understand the perspectives of others from diverse backgrounds will be equipped with a skill and disposition that will benefit their personal growth and success in our global society, and will benefit society.  

Globalization is creating a flattened global economy. Our students are being impacted by this shift in our economy.  The skills students must acquire and develop in order to enter today’s workforce are changing.  The jobs that are emerging in our economy require specialized training, education, and high skills.  The jobs of yesterday, those requiring less education and lower skills, are diminishing from our workforce.  Jobs that require less education and lower skills are being sent overseas to be performed by others that will work at a lower cost. Students must obtain the appropriate education and develop the skills to meet the qualifications of today’s jobs. Additionally, the rapid advances in technology and globalization require our students to develop a disposition to continuous learning.  Creativity, innovation, and vision are valuable skills that are in great demand. Education must meet the needs of the economy, and help students develop and acquire the skills that are in demand.

The effects of globalization is impacting our environment and increasing global warming. Greenhouse gasses are melting our polar caps and are threatening our coastlines, changing both land and sea habitats, and creating a potential threat of infectious diseases. The greenhouse effects has a direct  impact on our global society and economy.  Catastrophic environmental occurrences cause loss of life and property. Populations migrate seeking refuge from the effects of environmental changes.  Industry and farming is impacted as well.  Education and research is needed to increase our knowledge about reduction greenhouse gasses. Students must learn about the causes, effects, and solutions to global warming. They must learn about the responsibility of reducing their individual carbon footprint in order to help lessen global warming. Education about our  environment is critical and urgent for the future well being of our global society.

II.  In your opinion, what are the key reasons for educating for global competence?  What are the barriers such an education might confront?

The key reasons for educating for global competence are:
  • to help students acquire the knowledge and skills they will need to be contributors in a global society
  • to create a generation that understands the world and the global problems it shares
  • to help students understand that people hold different perspectives and to understand why these perspectives are important
  • to help students value diversity, cooperation, and collaboration especially when problem solving and identifying and creating solutions

In my opinion, one barrier to teaching global education is the lack of knowledge by educators on how to to teach global education.  Educators who do not have the background and knowledge of global education may not properly integrate global education that produces globally competent students.   The time to develop and implement effective global education may be a barrier.   The emphasis in drilling students in reading, writing, and math in order to improve standardized tests may leave little time to develop an effective and high-quality global education curriculum.   Finally, the lack of funding to purchase resources and pay for the development curriculum that effectively integrates global education may be another barrier.

III.  In your current opinion, what distinguishes a high- from a low-quality education for global competence?

In my opinion, what distinguishes a high from a low-quality education for global competence is shown by how well a teacher integrates and implements global education learning .  Education that shows high-quality global competence provides students with real world authentic  learning experiences and opportunities.  Students research, collaborate, plan, and take action to address issues and help others.   They can reflect on their personal contributions and learning from taking action. Education that does not meet these qualities is education that lacks a  high-quality of global competence.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Random Facts About Me

As a matter of introduction for my  ED 722 Distance Learning Trends, Issues and Practices class, I’ve been asked to share a few random facts about myself. Here goes,

  1. What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
The scariest thing I’ve ever done was go parasailing in Cancun.  An experience I will never repeat but am glad I tried.

  1. What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
The best vacation I ever took was the one where I went parasailing. I spent 7 unforgettable days with my sister in paradise, prior to hurricane Wilma. 

  1. What is your favourite movie?
Titanic, The Lake House, The Notebook, Tyler Perry's: Peeples (because my daugther and I were in it...)

  1. Can you name all 50 US State Capitals?
Yes, I taught US History for 5 years.

  1. If you could make one thing in your life go away, what would it be?
The squirrels that scurry on our roof every morning.

  1. Describe a time when you were the happiest.
When my daughter was born!

  1. Can you play a musical instrument?
No. But I admire all people that can.

  1. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what is one thing you could not be without?
Cell phone with signal so I can call for help.

  1. How long did it take you to get to work today?
It usually takes about 7 minutes to get to work.

  1. Who should teachers be paying attention to on Twitter or in the blogosphere?
In the blogosphere, I think Ian O’Byrne is a good person to follow. He’s very informative.

  1. When did you know what you wanted to do for a Career? How did you discover that?
I discovered I wanted to teach when I volunteered as a Junior Achievement business consultant in a middle school in Hartford, Ct..  It was a very refreshing and rewarding experience. 

  1. What are your top three favourite books of all time?
The Five Chinese Brothers, Milkweed, and Once Upon a Marigold.

  1. What is on your bucket list?
To visit Spain with my family.

  1. What is the best advice you can give to your children?
Be honest, be kind, and be true to yourself.

  1. If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
I would travel to Spain.

  1. What are 3 things that matter to you?
Family, friends, and community.