Narrative, Graphic Novels, and Globalization: An Interview with Dr. Trevor Getz

History is the construction of our understanding of the past.  Taking part in that process  is an existential exercise which, in turn, influences our contemporary world view. These three quotes remind me about the importance and power of narrative creation and its subsequent relationship to collective and individual identity.

  • “It seems evident, then, that skill in narrative construction and narrative understanding is crucial to constructing our lives and a “place” for ourselves in the possible world we will encounter.” Jerome Bruner
  • ”Over time and cultures, the most robust and most effective form of communication is the creation of a powerful narrative.” Howard Gardner

Moreover, the recognition, creation, and analysis of historical narratives  are essential activities for students in history classes in high school and higher education.  What resources teachers use with students, as well as the explicit connection to broad concepts and contemporary realities all make for relevant and valuable teaching and learning. I had the pleasure of meeting professor Trevor Getz at a recent AHA planning meeting for the 2018 Conference being held in Washington D.C.  Our interview highlights his work with students and the use of graphic novels to develop their historical thinking. Trevor can be reached at either tgetz@sfsu.edu or tgetz@ebuukuu.com

Enjoy!

 

1- Tell us about your journey to becoming a historian and your interest in studying Africa I learned to love history sitting on my grandpa’s knee while he told stories of “the war.”  I was the only grand kid who

Professor of History Trevor Getz, poses in front of scenes from his scholarly graphic novel “Abina and the Important Men.” Getz recently created a company called Ebuukuu.com to apply this graphic model to other areas of study. Photo by Tony Santos / Xpress

wanted to listen.  I loved touching his medals, and watching as he drew pictures of fortifications, and looking through his black-and-white photo albums. I thought I wanted to be a military historian, but then as an undergraduate at Berkeley I learned to love political history, and doing my MA in Cape Town came to appreciate social history, and finally began my transition to cultural history during my PhD research at the School of Oriental and African Studies. In the process, I became immersed in the history of Africa.  My first real mentor was Chris Saunders, at the University of Cape Town, who tamed my rambunctious American-ness with his precise and calm Anglo ways.  Then with the larger-than-life and wonderfully inspiring professor, Richard Rathbone – truly a spectacular mentor and a fixture in the study of Ghana’s past.

2- When did graphic novels come into the mix and how have they impacted your teaching?    

My dissertation (and subsequent first book) was very much a social history – putting together many different sources in an attempt to converge them on an explanation for social change in the wake of the criminalization of slavery in nineteenth century Ghana and Senegal.   But in the years that followed, I learned to dig deep into single sources, figuring out how to pull apart one document or picture or diary account and explain what it meant.  Most of the sources I was working with, it turned out, featured young people – enslaved or otherwise suffering, but frequently strong and inspiring nevertheless.  I wanted to bring their stories, their accounts, and their worldviews to the public. I was searching, for much of the 2000s, for a medium that would allow me to do that.  I had to dig back into my own past to find one.  Of course, not everyone could have a Grampa like mine to inspire them to study the past, and these stories in any case didn’t lend themselves to grandparently memory.  But the other “history” inspiration of my youth was the comic book – including Franco-Belgian works like Tintin but also Art Spiegelman’s incredible Maus.  So, I thought I’d experiment with comics (or the “graphic novel”) as a medium for telling the story of a young, enslaved woman who forced the government of a Crown Colony to listen to her.  Thanks in part to an incredible editor (Charles Cavaliere at Oxford UP) and wonderful artist-collaborator (Liz Clarke in South Africa) it somehow worked out, and Abina and the Important Men came into being.  Now we’ve developed a multi-platform app as well, for the high school classroom.  Any teacher interested in trying out the app should email me.

 

3- What do you want readers to know about your award winning graphic novel, Abina and the Important Men? 

This is a book about NOW, because it’s a book about power.  It’s about the power that important men use to subjugate others, like Abina Mansah, who was twice enslaved and then censored and silenced.  It’s about the power that even seemingly defenseless people have to make their voice heard, as Abina did in that colonial courtroom. It’s about the power that historians have (and sometimes abuse) to tell people’s stories in a way that appeals to them, and the power that we all have to challenge and correct historians’ interpretations.  Power is part of any society, but we don’t have to accept the way it operates, just as Abina refused to accept attempts to silence her.

 

4- I argue that one of the best skills people develop from studying history is that they learn how to analyze and evaluate narratives. What do you think are some practical skills students develop by studying the past?

Historians, I firmly believe, are interpreters.  The past is a foreign country, and we try to help people in the present to understand what is said and done there, and what it means.  Learning to analyze and evaluate not only primary sources but also the work of scholars is a key step in developing a critical mind and media literacy.  I talk about this quite a bit in a brief video put together at SF State. I love working with teachers who develop critical tools for this kind of work as well.  I especially appreciate the  incredible mock trial and role playing exercises that David Sherrin from Harvest Collegiate put together to help students analyze and interpret Abina’s testimony.  

 

5- Great. And what about the relating the study of the past to understand globalization? Any major connections?

Everything is global, right?  Just like everything is local.  We are much richer today for understanding the ways in which even the deep past was shaped by interaction between people, products, species, and ideas moving between societies often separated by vast distances.  What we’ve learned is that in analyzing any situation in the present, we have to develop a scope that includes factors both near and far as well as from the recent and distant past. But how can we move from knowing that this need exists to actually effectively conducting analysis of global as well as local factors?  That’s a difficult question, and one on which many historians are working. Obviously, we can’t answer it here.  But I do have one thought that has become clear to me over the past several years:  there’s no point in teaching content without teaching the underlying skills to work with and interpret it.  Telling students that the global past matters doesn’t do anything unless they know how to read or view sources and pull from them the evidence of global interaction.

 

6- What’s on the horizon for you and any final comments? 

I’m working on so many projects!  I have a book on teaching African history about to come out with Duke University Press, a volume I’m co-editing with Rebecca Shumway on slavery and its legacy in Ghana and the Diaspora, and a pet long-term project using comics, other forms of art, oral tradition, and pop-up museums to understand how Ghanaians study their own past.  But I’m also teaching, and being an administrator.  Most of all, though, I continue to try to think of interesting strategies to engage students with the past in ways that help them to build critical and creative skills they will need for their lives moving forward.

Thank you Trevor.  I look forward to future scholarship and collaboration,  and wish you a great 2017!

2017 – Five Ways to Construct Your Global Competency and (In)Form Your World View

Happy New Year! What kind of private Idaho will you construct for yourself in 2017?

How about for your students? How global will your instruction and their experiences be?  Will their world views be challenged and expanded? Will your class be recognized as relevant and prepare them for the future?

So, what is on the horizon.  This Smart Brief, “Why Global Should be the Education Movement for 2017” by Bonnie Lathram and Dave Potter asserts  that in 2017, “we are going to be powered by global innovations in learning…”  I feel confident these predictions will happen and broaden the range of educational opportunities and possibilities.

 

Also, I just came across this landmark report about Global Education from UNESCO in 1990, Learning: The Treasure WithinWow.  Be sure to digest and internalize this 20th century vision as it still needs to be realized!

Lastly, this piece from Ed Surge reminds us about forward thinking and preparing our students for tomorrow.

Ok, now it is time to take a stroll through these 5 points.  I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.  Share them with your network, let me know what you think, and enjoy exploring and constructing!

 

1. Constructivism – Let your Students Know What/How Learning Is

I’ve always used the term “constructing knowledge” when talking with my students about learning and the experiences they will eventually have beyond high school.  I was surprised to find out that many of the educators I worked with had rarely used this term with their students—despite the teachers themselves being proponents of constructivism. Alternatively. words like “make”. “form”, or “create” may work better with students.  But then again, why not aim high, right? To assist with this exercise in being explicit and intentional with students about learning, I offer these planning questions and resources, both teacher and student directed.

  • Planning Questions

    Philographics is a series of posters that explain big ideas in simple shapes

    • How will you explain to students that they construct both their understanding and meaning?
    • How will you explain to students the difference between memorization and learning as a process?
    • How will you explain the “why” about learning about the past?

Education should be about students constructing knowledge to build their own personal view of the world, yet we rarely let them know that.. Constructing knowledge is about exploring new thoughts and opinions. So next time students ask the simple question, “What do I need to know?” teachers should frame the experience of education as an exercise in constructivism. Doing so empowers students to be active learners and dynamic thinkers, not just consumers of information.

 

 

2. Global Education Conference 2016  

Let’s start with this quote from Kofi Anan “I am often asked what can people do to become a good global citizen? I reply that it begins in your own community.”

We are multiple weeks removed from another fantastic Global Education Conference – huge amounts of gratitude to Lucy Gray and Steve Hargadon.  With the start of the new year it is easy for your interest in global education to take a back seat.  One way to keep your interest alive and well and inspired is to review the  global education resources and tools of the conference.  Moreover, attempt to make at least one change with students, colleagues, and for your own growth. Enjoy!

If you like what you see, tweet it out to #globaled and keep me posted @CraigPerrier

 

3. EdChange Global Classrooms 2017

The Global Ed Conference is behind us, but on deck is an amazing event – EdChange Glo
bal Classrooms 2017!  Running from Feb 28th – March 1st  The  registration page for #ECGC17 can be found here.

  • The classroom event will take place in Qiqo Chat and login information will be sent out during the month of February to all those registered. All sessions will be located in one place and each will include collaborative notes and a video chat with up to 200 participants.
  • Is your class doing amazing things? Share and collaborate with classrooms all over the world at #ECGC17 and sign up to facilitate! We would also love to have more student led sessions.

 

4. Global Reports and Indices

Context matters. Information matters. Sources matter. Interpretation matters. Comparative approaches to learning expand the US frame beyond the arbitrary boundaries of nation-hood. In other words, framing US events, people, ideas etc. in relation to a non-US equivalent provides students with  a relational and relevant experience. Dive in  and analyze.

  • Global Terrorism Index: This is the fourth edition of the Global Terrorism Index which provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 16 years, covering the period from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2015
  • 2016 Index of Economic Freedom For over twenty years the Index has delivered thoughtful analysis in a clear, friendly, and straight-forward format. With new resources for users and a website tailored for research and education, the Index of Economic Freedom is poised to help readers track over two decades of the advancement in economic freedom, prosperity, and opportunity and promote these ideas in their homes, schools, and communities

  • 2015 Corruption Index From villages in rural India to the corridors of power in Brussels, Transparency International gives voice to the victims and witnesses of corruption. We work together with governments, businesses and citizens to stop the abuse of power, bribery and secret deals. As a global movement with one vision, we want a world free of corruption. Through chapters in more than 100 countries and an international secretariat in Berlin, we are leading the fight against corruption to turn this vision into reality.
  • Reporters Without Borders: 2016 World Press Freedom Index Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is the world’s biggest NGO specializing in the defence of media freedom, which we regard as the basic human right to be informed and to inform others. At the turn of the 21st century, nearly half of the world population still lacks access to free information
  • Freedom in the 50 States We score all 50 states on over 200 policies encompassing fiscal policy, regulatory policy, and personal freedom. We weight public policies according to the estimated costs that government restrictions on freedom impose on their victims.
  • World Values Survey  is a global network of social scientists studying changing values and their impact on social and political life, led by an international team of scholars, with the WVS association and secretariat headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden. The survey, which started in 1981, seeks to use the most rigorous, high-quality research designs in each country. The WVS consists of nationally representative surveys conducted in almost 100 countries which contain almost 90 percent of the world’s population, using a common questionnaire.

 

5. Teaching Resources

What blog post would not be complete without a good resource potpourri? I hope you add these to your repertoire and share them with you network.  Have fun!

  • 100 Leaders in World History Fantastic collection of resources that  provide a way for teachers, students, parents, and community members to engage in thoughtful discussions. By studying the leaders of the past, we learn about people whose strength and determination teach us about leadership and commitment.
  • MACAT Videos on You Tube provide concise overview of the most important books and papers in 14 humanities and social sciences subjects. A powerful resource for students, teachers and lifelong learners everywhere, our analyses do much more than just summarize seminal texts.

  • Newsela is really incredible!  Newsela is the best way for students to master nonfiction in any subject.By combining real-time assessments with leveled content from premier daily news sources and eminent nonfiction publishers, Newsela makes reading to learn relevant, interesting, and effective regardless of interest or ability about a range of topics from around the world.
  • LizardPoint Simple, fairly clean, and pretty fun.  Create an account and try your skills at the quizzes on Geography and World Leaders.  Go get ’em.
  • US History in a Global Context:  a dynamic resource that addresses the scarcity of professional development programs dedicated this approach.  Additionally, the resources we have assembled are designed to inspire your creativity and develop your thought leadership as an advocate for this approach to teaching U.S.History.
  • FPRI – The Buthcer History Institute  The Butcher History Institute, co-chaired by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Walter A. McDougall and FPRI Senior Fellow David Eisenhower, aims to contribute to the more effective teaching of history and to the public discourse over America’s identity and its role in the world.

Are You Teaching for Tomorrow? Making the Turn to Global Education

Across the United States the new school year has commenced. 48950618.cached  To kick off SY 16-17 I want to share some thoughts & resources that impacted, or reinforced, my views on education this summer. Specifically, this post emphasizes the need for building student understanding of and ability to succeed in a globalized world. How teachers design learning experiences for students (the combination of resources, instruction, assessment, and student outcomes) is indicative of a teacher’s vision and understanding of the purpose of education.

As you explore the post and resources below, keep in mind 3 common aspects of the type of education I am highlighting:

  1. Content/Course work is always framed or connected to contemporary issues or present circumstances.
  2. The teacher is a facilitator of learning and supports student inquiry and development of skills and
    content.
  3. Students are expected to take action or produce information for public interaction and/or for the development of their own world view.  In short, assessments go beyond just the teacher’s eyes.

Ok, my point of entry for this topic is a very simple yet powerful reflective prompt.  In the last few months, this Image result for globe with question mark
question has repeatedly popped up in various media and manifested in conversations I had  with people from a range of professional backgrounds. Drum roll…

That question is: Are you teaching for tomorrow?

Despite being simple, this question generates complex and stimulating responses. Moreover, it can very well be the cornerstone of your personal educational philosophy, a guiding principle for a team/department, or, starting point to develop an instructional/assessment model. In other words, if an adult walked into a classroom, would they feel like they time traveled to their high school Image result for 1980s classroom overheadexperience of 1970s, 1980s, 1990s etc?  This would imply t hat students are being taught for 20th century goals with 20th century methods and beliefs. If so,  that  is an an eyebrow raiser indeed.

The most compelling way to teach for tomorrow  is to utilize practices that address global citizenship – a combination of knowledge, skills, and dispositions whose goal focuses on students’ futures – not to replicate the educational experiences their teacher had.   (On a side note it is imperative to prepare teachers to be globally competent in pre-service programs and to continue that training with continuing development opportunities. However,  this is for a future post but a teaser is provided below with the collaborative tool, Padlet).

Ok,  watch this inspiring Ted Talk about Global Citizenship/Education which includes the practice being done in urban centers and with elementary students.

 

What a great video… multiple main themes are expressed with applications.  Moreover, the sentiment about teaching for tomorrow is framed in practical contexts. Mary Hayden puts it this way:  

Even for those school-age students today who will never in adulthood leave their native shores, the future is certain to be so heavily influenced by international developments and their lives within national boundaries so affected by factors emanating from outside those boundaries that they will be hugely disadvantaged by an education that has not raised their awareness of, sensitivity to and facility with issues arising from beyond a national “home” context. 

By the way, if this statement doesn’t impact, reinforce, change, or inspire the way you teach or develop your own practice please let me know. We need to talk.

So, What Can Teaching For the Future Look Like?

I mentioned above 4 inroads for teachers to make a global turn for teaching and learning- resources, instruction, assessment, and student outcomes.  The suggestions below address each of these inroads (they are not Image result for world with light bulbmutually exclusive).  Utilizing any of them with your classes  explicitly and intentionally  teaches for tomorrow. Content knowledge, skills, and students’ world views are developed from a stance that is forward looking and applicable beyond classroom walls. Additionally, globalization (and all its systems, issues, possibilities etc.) – not nationalism, not a test, not industrialization -moves to the center of your students’ classroom experiences.

Here are some tools and suggestions to consider and follow up on. The bold orange headings are the topics/practices that embraces global education and citizenship.  Below them are links to online tools and resources related to the headings in orange. These are only a start…

 

 

 

 

So, to finish this post, but not this topic, I want share one more video that addresses the importance of global citizenship and effectively discredits the claim that global citizenship is impossible because of its reliance on nationhood.  To those individuals I refer them to the realities of stateless refugees and to the team of refugees who competed in the Rio Olympics.

Enjoy exploring the suggested readings and the Padlet comments below.  Lastly, Teach for Tomorrow! Your students and the world will be grateful.

 

Suggested Reading:

 

Padlet Used for Feedback on Global Education from a  Teacher Workshop:

Celebratitude! – Recognizing the Great things Teachers Do

I am a big fan of recognizing the great things teachers do.  During my first year as an instructional specialist this sentiment spontaneously formed in my mind one day into this  saying, “It is easy to support what you love and what you believe in.”  Wow!  It felt… right. Perfect. That idea quickly morphed into action. I sought out ways I could celebrate teachers who are doing new, innovative, and great things in their classroom.  Moreover, I felt/knew it was
important that teachers were aware people were grateful for their ideas and actions.

I call this  “celebratitude” (yes, a simple combination of celebrate and gratitude).  In fact, although not formerly defined in my job description, this implied duty it is one of my favorite parts of my position – because I choose it to be.   I am convinced that spreading the word about what students are learning, producing and achieving is necessary for a healthy educational culture and community.  These narratives guide public perception about educators and the next generation of adult citizens towards the positive, heart lifting, and amazing realities that come from an effective and inspiring teacher.

Don’t Be Humble – Your Students Deserve to be Known

Still, a teacher once commented to me that she doesn’t need to promote or advertise what she does in her class.  Her students were proof of her effective work.  I, as you can imagine, respectfully disagree.  Here is why.

A teacher is still the single most important factor in a child’s education.  The learning experiences a teacher structures impacts the cognitive and affective development of young people. Indeed, teacher appreciation day/week is nice, but with any formalization, our attention to what is important can wander once that season has passed.

The messaging around teaching, and education in general, matters.  Like any other profession,  the public constructs opinions and world views about the practices, values, and outcomes of educational systems. Promoting the successes we experience in education  challenges negative narratives about students, teachers, and education in general.  To put it simply, schools do great things every day of the year, (yes in the summer too!). People deserve to know that. Students deserve that recognition.  Teachers deserve that praise.

 

Recognition Matters – So Do It!

Getting student work into what I call “the public sphere” is indicative of 21st century teaching and learning.  The public sphere (meaning student work that is not just for the teacher’s eyes only) provides an authentic setting for students to demonstrate their understanding and take informed action. I admire teachers who have internalized this practice as part of their professional charge.

Now that I am out of the classroom I have shifted my focus more onto the celebration of teachers and their expertise.  Here are a few approaches to teacher Celebratitude:

  1. Showcase a teacher’s instructional practices with your school board and superintendent.
  2. Share accomplishments on social and traditional, media.
  3. Buy a gift card for teachers who lead extra curricular activities without a stipend (especially important when their own building principals have overlooked their accomplishments/effort).

But, the best way, I believe, is to nominate teachers for local, state, regional, national, and international awards.  Below is a list of awards I have nominated teacher for in the last three years. Just the practice is fulfilling, rewarding, humbling, important.

Additionally, if you belong to an organization that values education, why not sponsor an annual teacher prize?  It is quote-when-you-see-a-great-teacher-you-are-seeing-a-work-of-art-geoffrey-canada-91-82-86very easy and I would be happy, along with a range of other like-minded professionals, to promote your initiative.

I want to conclude by reinforcing that this is one of my favorite parts of my job.  It has informed me about the work teachers do, built positive relationships, improves teaching and learning, and prepares me to speak intelligently about the social studies program in our county. So, if you are a specialist, chair, or administrator I advise making the practice of nominating teachers for award part of your professional practice.

 

(Lucky) 13 Teacher Awards 

This list is just a start. And as you will notice, these awards are all social studies/history focused. But, that is my job! Check them out, share them with your colleagues,  and let me know additional ones.  I know they are out there.

Enjoy!

  1. Gilded Lehman Teacher of the Year:  Recognizes outstanding K–12 American history teachers across the country.
  2. American Historical Association – Beveridge Family Teaching Award: Recognizes excellence and innovation in elementary, middle school, and secondary history teaching.
  3. Organization of American Historians – Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau Teacher of the Year Award: Recognizes the contributions made by pre-collegiate teachers to improve history education within the field of American history.
  4. VFW Teacher of the Year Award: Recognizes three exceptional teachers for their outstanding commitment to teaching Americanism and patriotism to their students.
  5. National History Day (NHD) Patricia Behring Teacher of the Year Award: Recognizes outstanding NHD teachers.
  6. The John Marshall Foundation Teacher Award Program: Recognizes excellence in teaching the Constitution (teachers in VA eligible).
  7. American Lawyers Alliance Teacher of the Year Award: Honors United States public and private Middle and High school teachers who have made significant contributions in the area of law-related education.
  8. Mount Vernon Estate History Teacher of the Year: Recognizes teachers who bring creativity and passion to the classroom, instills a love of learning in students, and deepens student understanding and appreciation of history.
  9. NCSS Award for Global Understanding Given in Honor of James M. Becker: recognizes a social studies educator (or a team of educators) who has made notable contributions in helping social studies students increase their understanding of the world.
  10. NCSS Outstanding Social Studies Teacher of the Year Award: recognize exceptional classroom social studies teachers for grades K-6, 5-8, and 7-12.
  11. National Council for Geographic Education Disntinguished Teaching Award: Recognizes excellence in geography teaching at the primary and secondary levels.
  12. The Council for Economic Education John Morton Excellence in the Teaching of Economics Award: Recognizes excellence in economic and financial education by honoring three national educators in the elementary, middle and high school levels.
  13. Varkey Foundation Global Education Teacher Award:   A US $1 million award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

Harvard’s 2016 Think Tank on Global Education: Highlights and Transformations

George Bernard Shaw said  “You see things; and you say ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’ Last week I had the pleasure of  engaging with this, in essence, leadership style/belief with a group of educators at the Global Education Think Tank at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Participating in this symposium fulfilled a professional and personal goal I had made for myself in 2010 wtank 11hen the event first came on my radar. For making this a reality, I am forever grateful to both Dr. Reimers and Dr. Fletcher for inviting me to be part of a panel discussion. It was a transformative experience.

Over the course of three days about 90 participants engaged “in the active and critical examination of global competency and the practice of global education.”  Below, I have captured highlights of the program – my main takeaways and some resources that were shared.  Additionally, the twitter feed for the event can be found here.

I hope you find the items below enlightening, inspiring, and catalysts for reflection about your school’s and personal educational philosophy.  As Marcel Proust noted “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.”  Enjoy!

1) Sustainable Development Goals (Fernando Reimers) 

  • Main Takeaways  There is power in clearly articulating the purposes of education. In our connected and diverse world, global education provides the most relevant framework for educators to express the change in values that come with globalization.  Therefore. what we choose to say and do in the spirit of  global education, both as an avenue for reflection on teaching and learning as well as a driver for change in those areas, matters.   Three ways to implement global education in schools include  a) Designing new instructional practices  b) Develop new curriculum  c)  Change the culture of teachers and students.   Additionally, it is importantnorman-rockwell-golden-rule-do-unto-others-april-1-1961 to recognize student development and success  happens cognitively and in their interpersonal and intrapersonal capabilities.  The UN Sustainable Development Goals offer set of authentic, global issues that schools can use to develop learning experiences for students.  Developing a curriculum, instructional practices, authentic assessments,  and teacher development programs wouldn’t simply change education – it would transform it.

 

2) Six Strategies for Advancing Global Education (Brandon Wiley)

  • Main Takeaways What will the world (and school) be like in 2028?  The current landscape provides  insights to that question. a)  Globalization is not a fad  b) The world is becoming more diverse  c) More significant than what you know is what you do with that knowledge.   So, how can schools embrace global education?  It is important to remember that frameworks (and vision statements) are only as good as their application. So, it is  necessary to support your assets  and recognize your access points in curriculum, instruction, assessments, and staff. 
  • Resources to Explore Global Ed Leader        Asia Society Education

 

3) How to Promote and Assess Intercultural Competency (Darla Deardorff)

  • Main Takeaways What are some of the answers to the question “Why should we emphasize  global education in our school?”  In other words, what are the benefits of fostering skills and dispositions like Intercultural Competence and International Mindedness?  Some of the popular answers include a) Employability  b) Integration of immigrants and “the Other”  and c)  Develop principles of democracy.  Furthermore, the session reminded us that the PISA tests will begin to assess “Global Competency” in 2018

4) How do you Address Religious Literacy (Ali Asani)

  • Main Takeaways The guiding question to this session “What influences our understanding about the world, tank6people, belief systems, and culture?” centers our work in global education.   Focusing on religious literacy, Dr. Asani challenged the claims of Samuel Huntington’s   “clash of civilization” theory  which groups people of the world into monolithic, static, packaged units  of existence.  The result is a limited understanding about and a simplistic “othering” of people not like you.  Aptly, Dr. Asani references this as a “Clash of Ignorance”  Returning to the core question, reflect on where your body of knowledge regarding Islam and Muslims comes from.  Specifically, how often is Islam approached from an aesthetic epistemology?  Maybe a  better question is, why is it not?

5) How to Study Abroad with Limited Resources (Joey Lee)

  • Main Takeaways  Is international travel essential for a successful global education program?  No.  But schools may avoid even exploring the possibility because of a fear that it may be accessible to only a specific segment of the student body.  Enter Education First (EF).  In addition to the range of services related to global education. EF has intentionally moved from a tour(ist) model for students to one that immerses students in the country they visit. The result is a broader perspective (not the food. festival, clothing approach to global ed) and a maturing experience for students that develops global citizenship skills.

6) Using Design Thinking to Develop Curriculum in Global Education (Karina Baum and Gustavo tank2Carrera)

  • Main Takeaways  Buckingham, Brown, and Nichols has intentionally created a globally focused curriculum for their students.  Using Design Thinking to map out challenges and possibilities, the school seeks input from a range of stake holders.  The result is  a “future oriented and forward thinking” curriculum. BB and N offers “Russian, Chinese, and Arabic as well as more commonly taught languages. Students also have access to a number of school exchange or international travel opportunities to locales that include Paris, Moscow, and Morocco. You can also study for a semester on the coast of Maine, in the city of Rome, or in the mountains of Colorado (or the Swiss Alps!).”

7) Developing Capacity Through  Teacher Education (Veronica Boix Mansilla)

  • Main Takeaways Teacher preparation in global education, both for pre-service teachers and veterans, must be clear and intentional. But what should the training/development focus on and look like?  One approach is to focus on the concept of signature pedagogies.  Lee Shulman  defines this as “the types of teaching that organize tank5the fundamental ways in which future practitioners are educated for their new professions.” In turn, this begs the question “what instructional practices are central to global education?”   This is an exciting area to explore. Currently, Dr. Boix-Mansilla has identified  these:  a) Integrating Global Topics and Perspectives Into and Across the Standard Curriculum   b) Authentic Engagement with Global Issues  c) Connecting Teachers’ Global Experiences, Students’ Global Experiences, and the Curriculum.  Additionally, comparative approaches are part of the signature pedagogies.  In my experience, teachers who utilize video conferencing so their students can engage in dialogue with students around the globe is a signature pedagogy that easily used with projects like the Tony Blair Foundation.

8) How to Lead a System-Level Strategic Initiative (Bella Wong and Craig Perrier)

  • Main Takeaways

Bella and I offered perspectives from two very different educational scenarios.  Bella is the Superintendent and Principal of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School  with an enrollment of about 2,000 students. I am the hpog3igh school social studies curriculum/instruction specialist for Fairfax County Public Schools. FCPS is 10th largest school district in the US with nearly 190,000 students and about 550 High School Social Studies teachers.  Driving our strategic changes are commitments to global citizenship.  Lincoln-Sudbury has a unique Global-Scholar Program for students to opt in.  It develops students who are  “active participants in our global community, while also demonstrating an appreciation for the importance of cultural diversity and global responsibility.”  FCPS’ vision statement includes the development of Ethical and Global Citizenship as part of students’ K-12 experiences.  Despite the size differences and out different positions, we agreed that it is imperative for global education leaders to do the following: a) Consistent and Clear Communication  b)  Collaboration Among Departments  c) Nurture and Celebrate Teacher Leaders   d) FInd Entry Points in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment.

As you introduce or continue to develop your global education program, I encourage you to revisit, utilize and share these resources.  Remember, hubris can prevent change in educators.  But this can’t be allowed to hamper the evolution of teaching and learning from which our students will benefit.

tank4

U.S. History in a Global Context: A Free Resource for Educators

Globalization has changed the purpose of education. In response to the demands of an increasingly complex, nuanced, and connected world, schools in the United States offer a variety of global experiences for students.  These approaches seek to develop students’ global competencies. One way these competencies can be met is to globalize the teaching and learning of U.S. History.

Currently, the AP, IB,  the Common Core State Standards, the C3 Framework, and NCSS themes all share this call to infuse global perspectives into contemporary education.   Moreover, groups like the Asia Society, VIF, and World Savvy have identified frameworks and credentials addressing global competency for students and teachers. However, there is a need for resources, instructional approaches, and assessment types dedicated to placing U.S. History in a
Global Context instead of teaching it in isolation.
connectThe great news is that resource is now available!

The U.S. History in a Global Context project is a dynamic resource that supports teachers’ move toward this broader contextualization. The resources we have assembled are designed to inspire teacher creativity, develop lessons, modify instruction, and bolster understanding of the “How” and “Why” of globalizing U.S. History .

Additionally, we hope that the project develops your advocacy for this approach to teaching U.S. History. Ultimately, by using this “global turn” you will better prepare your students to succeed in the future.

  •  For an overview of the resource, watch this screencast:

http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cDeVfZ16OF

  •  Resource Website is here:

http://globalushistory.edublogs.org/

To finish, I want to reference the prolific historian, Dr. Peter Stearns. He notes,

“A more global framework creates new perspectives, and some fresh challenges, making American history a livelier experience and, of course, linking it to other history courses in a less fragmented way. Ultimately, I would suggest, a global approach to American history lets us deal with three key, and difficult, questions – important ones, but tough ones as well.”

I hope you enjoy and utilize this resource.  It will go through monthly updates throughout 2016.  If you would like to contribute to the resource, please reach out through the U.S, in Global Context feedback area.

What is TES? Exploring Teachers’ Global Marketplace of Ideas

I love going to farmers’ markets. I try to buy from a variety of farms in order to spread my support around. I also love Oliver Wendell Holmes 1919 dissent statement in Abrams v. United States.  In it he invokes the power an individual  can have among the collective.  He notes:

“Persecution for the expression of opinions seems to me perfectly logical. If you have no doubt of your premises or Wendell-Oliver-Holmesyour power and want a certain result with all your heart you naturally express your wishes in law and sweep away all opposition…But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas. . . . The best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out.”

In short,  Holmes believes that “the ‘marketplace of ideas’ is the foundation of the constitutional system, not merely the First Amendment, and efforts to suppress opinions by force therefore contradict a fundamental principle of the Constitution.”

Any marketplace  of ideas can be competitive, risky, rewarding, and collaborative. What happens when we apply this principle to the field of education… on a global level?

TES is what happens!

The English based Times Education Supplement (TES)  is dedicated to supporting the world’s teachers. Their mission “is to enable great teaching by helping educators find the tools and technology they need to excel, supporting them throughout their career and professional development.”

Additionally, TES is “home to the world’s largest online community of teachers with 7.3 million registered users… this network is one of the fastest growing of any profession globally, helping support, guide and inspire educators around the world.”

I was introduced to TES during last November’s Global Education Conference (see that presentation below).  I promptly became a member of TES (check out my TES page here) and contacted them to find out more.  From there, I met Gabe Barker.  Gabe was happy to sit for an interview about the education marketplace known as TES. His insights  follow.  Welcome to the new marketplace – Enjoy!

 

  1. Hi Gabe. Tell us about how you got involved in TES and explain the organization’s vision.

After teaching for a few years and then getting my graduate degree in education technology, I was looking for jobs that would keep me in that field. I saw an ad for the position on EdSurge and jumped at the opportunity to help as many teachers as possible to share, sell, and create teaching materials online.The high-levegabel vision of TES is quite simple – help teachers teach. We strive to support teachers in real, tangible ways. Since teachers are so strapped for time, they often can’t design every worksheet, lesson, handout, and quiz needed to teach a successful class and still have enough energy for their students in the classroom. Moreover, now that most states require classes to align with Common Core State Standards, teachers in the U.S. are in need of even more resources that they know are effective with real students.  Since teachers are the ones in class every day, they know best what materials actually increase student learning outcomes. TES works to meet that need. Every resource in the marketplace is created by a teacher for a teacher. For every resource purchased in the U.S., the teacher who created the resource gets 100% of the profit because we value the hard work that teachers put in to make those materials.In addition to this dynamic marketplace, we host Blendspace, a lesson-building product where teaching resources can be freely integrated and implemented; and Wikispaces, an open classroom management platform that facilitates student-teacher communication and collaboration.

 

2. What are some of the successes of TES and what is ahead for 2016?

Our greatest success this past year was launching the U.S. marketplace in August 2015, and it’s been a fast and furious five months since then. Shortly after this launch, we integrated Blendspace’s lesson builder and our marketplace platform so that educators can instantly incorporate the resources they discover on TES into digital lessons. We view this integration as a move toward making it even easier and effective for teachers to implement TES resources and engage students in differentiated, flipped, and/or group learning.Since we also care deeply about teachers and their experiences with TES, we provide personalized attention to authors via our content team (made up of all former teachers like myself!). In addition to that support, we strive to foster communication about best teaching and TES author practices through our Authors’ Hub and Teachers’ Lounge guest blog. We also offer exclusive Pinterest collections and boards filled with resources created by our educator community. As we move into 2016, we are launching the Teacher Advisory Board and the Ambassador Program in the US. The Teacher Advisory Board is composed of a small group of leaders in US education and the Ambassadors Program consists of teachers in the US and Canada. The Teacher Advisory Board is expected to give us insight into big trends in education, and the Ambassadors will provide product feedback and help out on various projects and initiatives (e.g., our guest blog, videos, etc). We have both the Teacher Advisory Board and Ambassador Program to better understand teachers’ perspectives, from their experiences with our products to broader issues impacting the education community.

 

 

3. What makes your program unique in the space of global citizenship education?

While most of my previous answers have focused on the US marketplace, it’s important to note that TES is truly a global platform. In our marketplace, teachers and other educators from around the world can discover Tes globaland share innovative teaching techniques and resources. Essentially, TES helps teachers incorporate global content and perspectives into local lessons, which works to increase global collaboration and further “flatten” the world of education. Furthermore, by using global content in their lessons, teachers help their students gain new insights about different parts of the world.

 

 

4. What are the best ways for teachers/schools to get involved?

It’s easy for teachers and schools to get involved with TES. The first step is to create a free account and search tes.com<http://tes.com><http://tes.com> for resources to try out with students. Schools can encourage team leaders to test resources from TES, and help other teachers use resources in the classroom. Additionally, individual teachers can become authors by uploading materials that they’ve created for their classrooms and making them available in the marketplace. They can either share their materials for free or sell them to earn 100% royalty. Moreover, we’re always looking for new teaching perspectives to share with our community. Teachers can submit a blog post or an article for publication in our guest blog.

 

5. What are some examples of feedback you have received on the teacher resource component of TES?

One of the best parts of my job is the daily communication and feedback I have with teachers in our community. We are thankful that we receive so much feedback from teachers! Here are a few gems:

“The uploader on TES resources is incredibly user-friendly and easy!! Thanks for this service!” – a seller of Spanish resources on TES

“I like the personal touch at TES which I haven’t had from other online marketplaces…it feels like I’m noticed and recognized.” – a Social Studies teacher on TES

“Thank you for your marketplace and always being ready to help!! I did the happy dance when I saw my sales this morning. :)” – An English Language Arts Teacher on TES

 

6. It has been a pleasure. What final words do you have for readers?

Teachers are some of the hardest working and most passionate professionals, and they don’t receive recognition often enough about their value and impact on students in their classrooms. TES provides a venue to help alleviate some of the stresses on teachers’ time, including finding effective resources and creating digital lessons, and to elevate and share their teaching practices with other educators around the world. Essentially, we hope to make a difference in teachers’ lives, so they can continue making a difference in students’ lives. We’re always open to feedback, and look forward to working with you!

 

The TES Presentation that Inspired Me…

During the 2015 Global Education Conference (please get involved with this) Jim Knight, Chief Education Adviser at  TES was a keynote speaker. As a former Cabinet minister in the Labour Government, Minister for Schools and Learners, and member of the Privy Council and the House of Lords, Jim Knight has skills in decision making, communication, media handling and strategic policy, and has unrivalled expertise in the inter-relationship between education, skills and employment policy given his ministerial experience. He also has a current understanding of the potential use of digital technology in the delivery of public services. See his presentation below.

The Global Concerns Classroom: Civic Education that Turns the World Around

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. day.  My 2013 post framed Dr. King not merely as an American citizen, but rather as a global citizen… a concept that is widely used today in education and beyond.  In a 1979, Harry Belafonte performed the song  “Turn the World Around” on the Muppet show emphasizing the power of knowing, not otherizing, people and recognizing the agency and positive results that engagement can foster.   Watch the video below and enjoy!

 

How great is that?

In preparation for the segment, “designers at The Muppet Workshop did background research on African masks, to serve as the chorus. While these would be patterned very closely on real African masks, Jim Henson was very particular about selecting the final designs, since as Belafonte recalled, “he didn’t want to cause offense by choosing masks that would have some religious or national significance.”

Well done Mr. Henson.  And although some people may dismiss this as political correctness, an error in application of that term, I consider this understanding to be an example of global citizenship in practice.

So, what about today in 2016? Currently, there are a range of global citizen programs available for educators, schools, and communities to select GCC_logo_Colorfrom in order to bolster the global education experiences students have.  One program that stands out and should be explored by you  is “Global Concerns Classroom.” In their own words:

Global Concerns Classroom (GCC) is an innovative global education program that seeks to raise awareness of current international humanitarian issues in U.S. youth and to empower them to take meaningful action. Through dynamic resources, student engagement programs, and professional development for educators, GCC prepares youth to gain the knowledge and skills needed to be globally competent for the 21st century.

Very compelling indeed!  At a conference this past November, I had the pleasure of meeting  GCC Education Officer, Margi Bhatt.  We reconnected in the new year and discussed GCC and global education.  Margi’s insights about GCC’s  vision, resources, and her own work are provided below.  Be sure to connect with her and explore how GCC can contribute to your school and class.

 

1) Tell us about how you got involved in GCC.

After finishing my Master’s at Teachers College in International Education Development, I was eagerly seeking a position at an education NGO in New York City that not only captured my interest but whose mission I could believe in. Concern Worldwide’s reputation was well-known at Teachers College and when I saw there was an opportunity to work in the domestic education side of it through the Global Concerns Classroom program, I jumped at the opportunity! Luckily, the fit was great and I was hired for the job! I’ve been here for almost a year and half now.Margi

2) What are some of the successes of GCC and what is ahead for 2016?

GCC has been active since 2001, though it has taken on many faces since its conception. One of the strongest aspects of GCC is the content it provides teachers and students through standards-aligned curricula and our global issue guides. Because GCC sits under the greater INGO Concern Worldwide, we have access to up-to-date material on global issues. We source our information directly from our teams in the field so we can best capture what’s happening around the world and make it accessible for the US classroom.

All our resources are completely free of charge as well and as streamlined, easy to implement as possible for our teachers. Having been teachers ourselves, team GCC is always teacher-conscious and we hear great things from our participating teachers about the resources we provide, which gives us pride in our work! You can read more about our approach to programming on our website!

The last two years, we’ve focused our yearlong programming on Innovations in Global Health and Global Climate Impact. The yearlong program includes standards-aligned curriculum in the fall (5-6 lessons, 50 minutes each), Global Youth Summit in the winter, Community Action Plan and a Showcase event the spring, followed by the overseas field visit opportunity in the summer.

For the 2016-17 school year, we will turn our focus to Humanitarian Emergencies. Our curriculum will cover both manmade and natural disasters and how humanitarian organizations like Concern Worldwide respond in times of crisis. The lessons will include information about the humanitarian landscape and emphasize the importance of coordination. Our Global Youth Summit in the winter will give students the opportunity to put all this to the test through a simulated emergency scenario.  We are very excited for what’s to come!

 

3) What makes your program unique in the space of global citizenship education?

 Besides the fact that all our resources and program participation is completely free of charge, one very unique factorGcc unit of the GCC program is the annual overseas field visit. After participating in the various components of our program throughout the school year, students who are deeply interested in the global issues they’ve learned about are invited by their teachers to apply for a field visit opportunity.

Chosen students (and their teachers!) spend a week visiting Concern Worldwide programs in the field, with previous trips to Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia. This experience is hugely impactful for students as they are able to complicate and deepen their understanding of development work. You can read about our students’ experience last summer in Ethiopia on the GCC Blog!

Student alumni of our field visits have gone on to explore college degrees and career tracks in this field, citing their GCC/Concern experience as an inspiration. Teachers who participate in the visit find they are better equipped to talk about global citizenship topics in the classrooms back home and are more motivated to include global concepts in the topics they teach. We are thrilled to be able to provide such a special opportunity for our students and teachers!

 

4) What resources do you have for teachers?

 We have ten global issue guides focusing on major humanitarian and development issues in various countries, seven standards-aligned, ready-to-go unit plans (5-6 lessons, 50 minutes each), student narrated videos, and classroom posters to help teachers get the conversation started. Most recently, we’ve added an issue guide and unit plan on Climate Change in Niger. Our Water poster is very popular!

All of our resources are available on our website for free in PDF downloadable format. Teachers can also request hard copies of our issue guides for their classroom library. In 2015, we received dozens of requests from teachers all over the world, impacting hundreds of students.

In addition, teachers are welcome to request any other needs they may have for teaching global issues in the classroom and we do our best to provide guidance and additional resources.

 (sample video from GCC)

5) Are you seeing more schools in the USA making a move toward global education?

Yes, definitely! We are continually hearing from teachers all over the US seeking resources on global topics. Most recently, I’ve noticed a trend at the state-level for creating a global citizenship certification program for high school students. A lot of times, it’s the teachers themselves who are leading these campaigns to make global education a priority and to create incentives for their students to take part. States like Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and others are at various levels for making the certification program a reality. With these programs in effect, we hope that our resources will help fill any gaps teachers and administrators experience in their need for curriculum. Very exciting to see global education trending, especially since, from my conversations with teachers and students, it’s what they want to be teaching and learning!

 

6) How can schools get involved with GCC?

Currently, our yearlong program is available to high schoolers in NYC, Chicago, and Boston metro-areas. Any educator that fits those two criteria (geography and grade-level) are welcome to register on our website for next year’s program on Humanitarian Emergencies. Once registered, teachers will receive further information on the details of the programming, including curriculum and dates for events.

For those who don’t quite fit the bill, we have amazing online resources, PDF-downloadable and for free! If you’re a teacher looking to teach about global issues, you will find global issue guides per topic and by country on our site. In addition, there are 5-6 lesson (50 minutes each) unit plans on topics like Climate Change, Child Survival, hungerDisplacement, Education, HIV and AIDS, Hunger, and Water. There are also student-narrated videos to play in the classroom, as well as classroom posters to get the conversation started!

If teachers have other needs related to teaching global issues, we are always ready to receive requests and provide whatever resources and assistance!

 

 7) It has been a pleasure.  What final words do you have for readers?

Having worked with teachers the last couple of years on global citizenship education through GCC, I see first-hand the demand on teachers from all sides – administrators, students, guardians, and peers. It can be challenging in such a shifting educational environment to continue to provide great learning for students with energy and without losing sight of what is at stake – after all, the next generation of leaders are in the classrooms today!

In the last two years, I’ve also seen amazing teachers who are so dedicated to their work, which inspires me continuously to provide them with the most effective and streamlined tools to make their jobs easier. I will never forget last fall in Chicago, when a teacher came up to me after our professional development session – she hugged me and explained that she’s been looking for something like the GCC program for her students and she’s so thrilled that she’s found it!

Global citizenship education is quickly becoming essential to better prepare students for the 21st-century and to generally provide them with critical perspective on global issues. I am happy to be a part of the work that is making this happen!

To keep updated on all we’re doing at GCC, follow us on social media, where we’re constantly updating on the latest big thing and providing additional resources for teachers! You can find us on Facebook at Global Concerns Classroom, on Twitter @concerngcc, and Instagram at GlobalConcernsClassroom. Be sure to also check out our blog, where we post on international awareness days – an easy way to bring current events and global issues into your classroom!

Thank you Margi.  It has been a pleasure.  I look forward to staying in touch and seeing the continued impact GCC will have on global education.

Whoa ho, so is life!

Italo Calvino, Technology, and the US DOE: 6 Moves for the Current Millennium

Happy New Year! I hope that 2016 is an enlightening and inspiring year for you.

I remember reading Italo Calvino’s   Six Memos for the Next Millennium at cafes and along Ipanema beach in ipanemaRio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Reading it in 2003 the millennium had already started and Calvino’s swansong was nearly two decades old.  But “Six Memos” resonated with me in a way that transcended Calvino’s focus on literacy criticism  and theory, “(the work was an )investigation into the literary values that he wished to bequeath to future generations.” In short, I felt the world and education profession had passed through a gateway.  What did we bring with us as a guide in the new era?

Calvino prepared a series of lectures in 1985. Five of them were planned in Italy. He intended to complete the sixth while in the United States. However, prior to his departure, Calvino died, his sixth lecture was unfinished. The title of the compilation indicating six memos was retained, although the book contains only five.

The topics/values which Calvino highlights  in his lecture series are:

  1. Lightness
  2. Quickness
  3. Exactitude
  4. Visibility
  5. Multiplicity
  6. Consistency (never finished)

Below is a rare interview with Calvino recorded just before his death and broadcast on BBC TV just after his death.

So, it is now 2016 and we are well into the new millennium. What is the current status of education in your world? How do you, your students, and your colleagues use technology as a tool for teaching and learning?And lastly, what can Calvino offer us as we frame education and ed technology in this millennium?

Calvino talks about the new novel and the need for change in the literary craft. I contend that the qualities Calvino identifies in Six Memos for the Next Millennium are useful and relevant guides for us in education.  A new craft for teaching and learning is needed so that when you see a classroom today, it should not be a replication of the 1980s or 1990s.  One of the key factors in education’s evolution is the ubiquity and potential of technology.

 

 Six Uses of Technology 

Education Week’s recent Spotlight “Leaders in Technology and Innovation” contained a range of insights and case studies regarding the implementation and current use of ed tech.  A point that stood out in the publication echoed adad-and-kid-barter-tech common sentiment among educators expressing the limits of technology in teaching and learning.  Taken from an evaluation of a 1:1 initiative in Charlotte, NC, the program noted that  “on average, students and teachers used the laptops for one lesson per day, often for ‘superficial’ academic purposes, with Internet browsing the primary form of use.”

This observation is a legitimate concern.  Such use is a limitation to education in this millennium. Certainly there must be more to do with technology. especially in a 1:1 setting.  But what else can be done?

To begin answering this question, I have returned to Calvino for inspiration.  Below you will find a use of ed tech matched with one of the qualities found in Six Memos for the Next Millennium.  Combined they represent changes in education that are facilitated by technology. With the start of the new year, there is no better time to try one, or more, with your students.

  1. Video Conference and Chat with Students Beyond the School (Lightness) “I have tried to remove weight, sometimes from people, sometimes from heavenly bodies, sometimes from cities; above all I have tried to remove weight from the structure of stories and from language.”
    • Why do it? Collaboration, engaging with students on a global scale, and communication skills
    • Try this: http://tonyblairfaithfoundation.org/projects/facetofaith 
  2. Use Social Media for Formative Assessments (Quickness) “Quickness of style and thought means above all agility, mobility, and ease, all qualities that go with writing where it is natural to digress, to jump from one subject to another, to lose the thread a hundred times and find it again after a hundred more twists and turns.”
    • Why do it? Authentic setting, full class participation, learning beyond class time
    • Try this: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/frictionless-formative-assessment-social-media-paige-alfonzo
  3. Students Create a Portfolio (Exactitude) “To my mind exactitude means three things above all: (1) a well-defined and well-calculated plan for the work in question; (2) an evocation of clear, incisive, memorable visual images;(3) a language as precise as possible both in choice of words and in expression of the subtleties of thought and imagination”
    • Why do it?  Used to collect, organize, reflect upon, and share student work – digital presence
    • Try this:   https://threering.com/     OR    https://sites.google.com/site/googlioproject/ 
  4. Creating Media (Visibility) “…the power of bringing visions into focus with our eyes shut, of bringing forth forms and colours from the lines of black letters on a white page, and in fact of thinking in terms of images.”
    • Why do it? Student generated information is part of this millennium.  Not just written papers…
    • Try thisInfographics, video, images, screencasts, podcasts… subscribe to this: http://www.educatorstechnology.com/ 
  5. Require Students to Apply Knowledge to Contemporary Issues (Multiplicity) “…the grand challenge for literature is to be capable of weaving together the various branches of knowledge, the various “codes” into a manifold and multifaceted vision of the world.”
    • Why do it? Taking informed action and/or using knowledge to impact a student’s worldview makes learning relevant.
    • Try this: http://www.c3teachers.org/taking-in4med-action-45-options-for-dimension-4/ 
  6. Modify/Develop Online Resources (Consistency) 
    • Why do it? Students engage with already created resources and contribute/edit the source with what they know.
    • Try this: Students can fact check, suggest modifications, and provide updates to existing information.  http://edtechteacher.org/my-product/fact-check-your-textbook/

Implementing any of these in your classroom will move the experiences of your students into the 21st century.  But this list of 6 is by no means the final word.  To explore more options, and an even greater vision, let’s finish with the US DOE’s recent 100 plus page “memo.”

 

Introducing the US DOE 2016 National Education Technology Plan

Give this document a read.  I am confident that it will inspire, inform, provide context and possibilities.  Moreover, the number of resources and models will surprise you.  Checkout the vision of the plan:

“The National Education Technology Plan is the flagship educational technology policy document for the United States. The 2016 Plan, Future Ready Learning: Reimagining the Role of Technology in Education, articulates a
vision of equity, active use, and collaborative leadership to make everywhere, all-the-time learning possible. While acknowledging the continuing need to provide greater equity of access to technology itself, the plan goes further to call upon all involved in American education to ensure equity of access to transformational learning experiences enabled by technology.”

For the sake of this blog, it is section 2 of the plan that is most relevant. It is titled,  “Teaching With Technology”  Goal: Educators will be supported by technology that connects them to people, data, content, resources, expertise, and learning experiences that can empower and inspire them to provide more effective teaching for all learners.

Start there as a very practical in-road to changing teaching and learning in your school using ed tech.  Even better -for inspiration and an overview of the section – start with the short video below .

What Now…

Let’s finish with this Calvino quote.  I love it because it reinforces the need for change and the new.  Indeed, the wheel of education does deserve to be reinvented.

“Whenever humanity seems coWriter Italo Calvino in a Cafendemned to heaviness, I think I should fly like Perseus into a different space. I don’t mean escaping into dreams or into the irrational. I mean that I have to change my approach, look at the world from a different perspective, with a different logic and with fresh methods of cognition and verification. The images of lightness that I seek should not fade away like dreams dissolved by the realities of present and future…”

The heaviness of teacher centered and teacher directed learning anchors education to the previous millennium. How light will you become in 2016?

 

Globalizing US History: How To Do It!

This past summer the first annual Untold History Institute was held in New York City. The event was attended by mostly secondary educators from multiple states.  I had the honor of leading a workshop that weekend on Globalizing US History.   The institute coincided with Untold History’s release in Brazil this July.  Having lived there for 6 years, I  can easily imagine what book stores in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro would be featuring the text.  But I digress…  In addition to the workshops, Oliver Stone attended a viewing of an episode of the multi-volume documentary. Following the airing, Mr. Stone along with Dr. Peter Kuznick  and myself took part in a panel discussion and Q and A session with the audience moderated by former NCSS President and current state Social Studies Consultant for Connecticut Stephen Armstrong.

Untold New

(L – R) Armstrong, Perrier, Kuznick, and Stone

Incidentally, the documentary series is excellent.  I especially enjoy the later episodes that focus on the Clinton – Obama administrations.

So, how does this all get us back to the purpose of this post?  As an educator I believe it is important to start with and be able to answer the “Why?” of teaching and learning. Simply put, I should be able to provide valid rationales (both mine and others, for example the La Pietra Report) for instructional, assessment, content, and student outcome decisions.   But at the Untold History Institute, participants came to the event with the “Why?” already answered.

This freed up time to address the “How?” of globalizing US History.  This is an equally important question that moves theory into practice.  I must note, the general feeling among teachers was to start small and build from there. Moreover, because time is precious, finding and sharing of resources that can be used to globalize US History is a practice we encourage.

Regardless of the approach(es) you use, teachers must decide how they will frame the nation as a tool for historical investigation with their students. Each of the approaches recognizes the nation-state as a way to explore the past, but assert that using the nation as a lens to the past is not the only way or the best way for students to conceptualize history.

Below, I have provided an overview of the 4 approaches I used in the workshop. Please note, it is better not to view these as mutually exclusive. Rather these 4 approaches have nuances that distinguish them from each other but still overlap or are used in tandem.

 1) Comparative Approach:  Framing US events, people, ideas etc. in relation to a non-US equivalent.  By doing this, students are provided a context and relational view.

-Example:   Everything is relative, but conclusions can be made/argued in context.  Comparison informs our claims about “how revolutionary the American Revolution was” or “how powerful is the US economy.”

-Sample Resource:

  • World War 2 Casualties:  An animated data-driven documentary about war and peace, The Fallen of World War II looks at the human cost of the second World War and sizes up the numbers to other wars in history, including trends in recent conflicts..

2) Transnational Approach:The nation is not the focus of historical engagement.  Rather ideas, groups, events  etc are recognized as phenomenon that cross borders. In addition, historical actors in this approach are not the common textbook actors.  In turn, terms like hybridity, interaction, fusion, synthesis etc are used in opposition to claims of self-contained, static, packaged national/cultural units.

-Example: This was the approach the summer workshop teachers used (they blew me away).  Their topic was looking at emancipation from a transnational perspective. This recognizes that ideas travel and are guided by people and groups and not necessarily by nations or governments.

-Sample Resources

3) Non-US Perspective about “US” Events:  At the heart of this approach is the question, “Can we learn about ourselves from the way others see us?” Teachers use non-US perspectives to question national claims, beliefs, and preconceived notions  about US history.Poster - Shameful Brand of American "Democracy"

  -Example:  The sky is the limit.  The book History Lessons (below)  is an interesting start by looking at how textbooks around the world introduce US history.  In my experience, the Civil War and Civil Rights era are commonly explored from a non-US perspective.

-Sample Resource:  Soviet Propaganda Poster (1963)  The caption reads “Shameful Brand of American “Democracy” under a lynching scene. 

 

 

4)Thematic Approach: US events are situated as an example of larger themes in world history.  It is important to note that global events retain local/national variations and are not seen as simply repeated events.  In this approach US is part of world history, not an exceptional other. 

-Example: The American Civil War had a global impact.  Framing the war as part of a trend in world history that centralized political power and secured national boundaries places our historical view at 80,000 feet.

-Sample Resource:  I created this ThingLink tool to visualize the claim above.

 

In Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 the exchange between a young US soldier and older Italian is one of my favorites.  What do you make of it?   Does it relate to any contemporary events? What about the impact of nuclear weapons on global politics and power?  Is morality a national or human universal?

Anyway, I am going to finish with this short list of resources.  They have all influenced my thinking, teaching, and world view.  Lastly, on Wednesday, November 18th at 6:00 PM EST I will be leading a session on this topic during the 2015 Global Education Conference.  Stop in if you can (it’s online) or watch the recording. More to come…

Enjoy!

 

Suggested Books thatHelp You Globalize US History

  1. History Lessons (2004) – Dana Lindaman and Kyle Ward: The widely contrasting approaches to U.S. history that can be found in the textbooks of other nations.
  2. Transnational Nation (2007) Ian Tyrrell: The development of nationalism, movement of peoples, imperialism, industrialization, environmental change and the struggle for equality are all key themes in the study of both US history and world history. 
  3. America in the World (2007) – Carl Guarneri: This text examines how larger global processes have had a role in each stage of American development, how this country’s experiences were shared by people elsewhere, and how America’s growing influence ultimately changed the world.
  4. American Compared Vol 1 and 2 (2006) Carl Guarneri: Ideal for instructors seeking to present U.S. history in a global context, this innovative reader pairs comparative readings on key issues such as slavery, immigration, imperialism, civil rights, and western expansion.
  5. The Twentieth Century World and Beyond (2011) – William Keylor: The book’s unique analytical framework–which focuses on the relationships between and among countries rather than on individual histories–helps students easily examine how the nations of the world have interacted since the beginning of the last century.
  6. Among Empires (2007) – Charles Maier: The book’s unique analytical framework–which focuses on the relationships between and among countries rather than on individual histories–helps students easily examine how the nations of the world have interacted since the beginning of the last century.
  7. A Nation Among Nations (2006) – Thomas Bender: Thomas Bender recasts the developments central to American history by setting them in a global context, and showing both the importance and ordinariness of America’s international entanglements over five centuries.
  8. America on the World Stage (2008) – Gary Reichard and Ted Dickson: Each xhapter covers a specific chronological period and approaches fundamental topics and events in United States history from an international perspective, emphasizing how the development of the United States has always depended on its transactions with other nations for commodities, cultural values, and populations.
  9. The Declaration of Independence: A Global History (2007) – Dave Armitage: In a stunningly original look at the American Declaration of Independence, David Armitage reveals the document in a new light: through the eyes of the rest of the world. Not only did the Declaration announce the entry of the United States onto the world stage, it became the model for other countries to follow.
  10. The Global Cold War (2007) – Odd Westad: This volume shows how the globalization of the Cold War during the 20th century created the foundations for most of today’s key international conflicts, including the “war on terror.”
  11. The Great American Mission: Modernization and the Construction of an American World Order (2010) – David Ekbladh: The text traces how America’s global modernization efforts during the twentieth century were a means to remake the world in its own image. For proponents, it became a valuable weapon to check the influence of menacing ideologies such as Fascism and Communism.
  12. The Wilsonian Moment (2009) – Erez Manela: This book is the first to place the 1919 Revolution in Egypt, the Rowlatt Satyagraha in India, the May Fourth movement in China, and the March First uprising in Korea in the context of a broader “Wilsonian moment” that challenged the existing international order.
  13. Teaching Global History (2011) – Alan Singer: The text challenges prospective and beginning social studies teachers to formulate their own views about what is important to know in global history and why. It explains how to organize the curriculum around broad social studies concepts and themes and student questions about humanity, history, and the contemporary world.
  14. Teaching Recent Global History (2014) – Diana Turk et al.: The authors’ unique approach unites historians, social studies teachers, and educational curriculum specialists to offer historically rich, pedagogically innovative, and academically rigorous lessons that help students connect with and deeply understand key events and trends in recent global history.
  15. Rethinking American History in the Global Age (2002) – Thomas Bender: In rethinking and reframing the American national narrative in a wider context, the contributors to this volume ask questions about both nationalism and the discipline of history itself. The essays offer fresh ways of thinking about the traditional themes and periods of American history.
  16. The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War (2015) – Don Doyle: A bold account of the international dimensions of America’s defining conflict, The Cause of All Nations frames the Civil War as a pivotal moment in a global struggle that would decide the survival of democracy.
  17. The Savage Wars of Peace (2002, 2014) – Max Boot: America’s smaller actions—such as the recent conflicts in Bosnia, Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, and Afghanistan—have made up the vast majority of our military engagements, and yet our armed forces do little to prepare for these “low intensity conflicts.”A compellingly readable history of the forgotten wars that helped promote America’s rise in the last two centuries.