Monday, November 19, 2012

Global Learning: Eracism

From flickr.com by:  Andrew Forgrave
For my Emerging Instructional Technologies course we were given the opportunity to become judges for the Eracism global learning project started by Vicki Davis and one of her colleagues.  This project encompasses several schools from around the world participating in a debate using Voice Thread.  Voice Thread is a way to record audio as well as add any textual comments and send them to someone.  The students in the project were either pro or con of the global management of natural resources causes conflict between cultures.  After compiling their research the pro team would give their opening statements followed by the con side.  Within a reasonable amount of time each team would respond to the others' comments. 

Given that some schools are in completly different time zones Voice Thread was a great way to do this so that the arguments could be recorded and the other school could just play the other team's response and respond to their comments right away in order to keep the debate going more like a tradition debate where the other team responds right away.  Through participating in this debate students not only get to learn more about a specific topic that affects everyone around the world, but it gives them a chance to practice their speaking/presentation skills as well as to interact in some way with another culture.  Here the students will get to see views from another perspective other than their own.  The students will also inadvertently learn to be responsible and monitor their own time so that the debate can continue at an efficient rate. 

After experiencing what I have experienced so far I only wish that I could have participated in something like this when I was in school.  I think that the learning would have been so much more richer and meaningful if my classmates and I had been given this opportunity.  In light of this I feel as if when I am a teacher and have had a few years of experience in teaching under my belt I would like to get my students involved in a project like this.  Too many times teachers force too much rote learning and direct instruction on their students and in the end I don't think it really pays off.  If you want your students to really learn and more importantly to have fun learning then a project like this would do you and your students wonders. 

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