Global Classroom chat this week, asked me to co-host; which I was very excited about. I joined @ICT_Integrator for this months chat on the topic ‘How can we support students to inquire into global issues that help develop empathy and compassion?’. The chat starts and there are a great range of teachers from across the country ready to join us.
We started by discussing the benefits of inquiry for developing children’s curiosity and discussed the benefits of Mystery Skype. For those of you new to this concept the children in both the class don’t know where they are calling and must ask questions/give clues about their place allowing the other children to guess. I have heard of classes having a group of children on laptops googling for info whilst others used books and maps to work it out. In terms of Geography it greatly increases children’s interest into where certain countries are and about their features e.g. Mountains, rivers, forests. It also increases their problem solving and questioning abilities, communicating ideas and working together.
Next we began discussing curriculum topics which would be enriched from global classrooms which ranged from environmental topics to political and world issues. This led on to students developing skills of empathy and compassion. The idea that children often don’t think outside of their own bubble and global connections show children other places, towns, countries etc.
To enable teachers to arrange such connections we need places to meet. The most commonly mentioned was Twitter but there are those such as Skype classroom and E-twinning were also suggested, see my post here. Another suggestion was a network of teachers and children on Edmodo and using iEarn and Global Classroom projects as a way of making connections.
We discussed how we can encourage other teachers we’re working with to join us in global explorations. The general consensus seemed to be lead by example, share what you’re doing and as others become more intrigued they’ll want to get involved and give it a go. Sometimes it is an uphill battle but if you keep trying, using contacts as a support network your children will reap the benefits.
Overall I had a great time co-moderating the chat, there was a large group of passionate teachers, many good ideas and global connections made. What better way could there be to spend 1 hour of my time? We say that children learn so much through these global connections but what about the teachers? Personally I believe that I have grown a lot as a person since I began communicating globally through Twitter and it has inspired me to create a wider range of connections.
If this is the first time you have heard of the global classroom chat I strongly recommend you join the next one. To find out when it is check their wiki http://theglobalclassroomchats.wikispaces.com/Chat+Schedule