Muddling through the blogosphere

Live from NECC – Alan November on Designing Globally Connected Assignments


Alan opened the session with a look at where technology is going in the future, via a TED session – Oh my, in mass production of “wearable tech” won’t cost more than a cell phone.

Ideas for designing rigorous and globally connected assignments:

Suggestion 1 – Teach students ethics of content development – have students create code of ethics. Critical piece – teaching kids how to behave when they’re not in school.

Suggestion 2 – Think about and question what skills can we teach today that will outlast any technology? The real revolution is not technology, it’s information and global communication Implication: what’s flowing through wires is more important than the wires. But teachers need to ask what information do we need and what relationships.

Suggestion 3 – Globalize the curriculum. Question: Are there any points in the curriculum for students to think globally? (ie, Teaching American Revolution – only from American point of view? or ask students to find sources in England that deal with the American Revolution. But teach them how to find pieces written from a British perspective. Tech Tip: Try Google trick: “General Gage” “American Revolution”. Coming up with some “404 Not Found”s? No problem. Head to the wayback machine to get archived articles. Alan used the Wayback Machine to bring up article on General Gage written in 2006 by Thomas Ash. When you show students a different point of view they are more engaged. Nothing like a little dissonance to enliven the research process!

Suggestion 4 – Design assignments where you cannot plagiarize – No more “go to the Internet and get a source”; instead “find 5 different university viewpoints that differ from textbook.” Pedagogy trumps technology. Assignment design should be built into staff development.

Suggestion 5 – Every department should find assignments that require a global view. For example, what if assignments were so compelling that students would even work on them beyond the school day? Student News/Action Network – started by group of kids at Washington International School. We need to give kids environments that are so globally connected that they will want to keep going back – even after the school year.

Session Gem: Ownership of learning needs to shift to students. How about starting the school year by identifying 10 most difficult concepts to teach in your subject area. Ask students to come up with the solutions. Oh, wow, so simple, so powerful – and would work across the curriculum!!

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