Technology in School

Fostering Global Citizenship, One Tweet at a Time

By Sharon Davison     Jun 28, 2017

Fostering Global Citizenship, One Tweet at a Time

I have always left my classroom open to the world. I believe that by working together and encouraging openness, we can make a difference for our students, the communities we live and work in, and the places where change is needed.

Social media has helped me tremendously in this goal, specifically by helping me promote what I call the 5 Cs: 

  • Conversation
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Collaboration 
  • Celebration

Keeping these habits in mind, I’ve encouraged my Kindergarten students to use everything from Twitter to Skype to padlet to blogging. These tools have helped me improve the lives of my students, their families and hopefully the world. But as helpful as social media has been, it is ultimately the human relationships they foster that matter the most.

Conversation

One of the first things I think about when creating a positive culture is how to cultivate respectful conversations. As a teacher of young children, I start by building the value and importance of relationships through face-to-face and small group interactions.

As we begin to have conversations outside of our classroom, we use Skype and GoogleHangout. I invite parents to try this out with students first as a way to build an awareness of online etiquette. This is always successful because my students explore how these online tools can be used with familiar people. Then as we grow and connect throughout the year, we can safely use the tools to have conversations with experts and other students throughout the world.

We also use Twitter to communicate. Twitter offers my students opportunities to connect with Kindergarteners they otherwise would never meet. I should add my students don’t tweet themselves. Instead I have them “tweet” using a stuffed bird and I post on their behalf. This way I am modeling how to have conversations globally in a kind and responsible way as they begin to learn about the world and how much we all have in common.

Creativity 

Creativity gives us all a chance to represent what we understand in new ways. “What do I think?” “What are you thinking?” “I notice, I wonder, I observed.” These are the questions and phrases we use daily inside and outside of Kindergarten when we create. The language we use gives us opportunities to connect and collaborate about an idea, and share wonderings with others.

In one powerful unit, my students explored South America with a focus on Machu Picchu. Since my students were curious about this amazing place, we made a visual representing explore, using cardboard, paint, paper, tape and writing tools as a way to represent what we’re learning about Machu Picchu. I was struck by how my students were having conversations about what they learned and how they learned it, and as always I wanted to share.

So we created a Kidblog post about Machu Picchu using Doodle Buddy. In this way everyone had an opportunity to be creative using a different tool to design what they learned while we shared our understanding with friends around the world.

Curiosity

When my students are genuinely curious, they want to explore their wonderings on a larger scale, they challenge each other’s thinking, think about how it is important to them, add their own rigor about what they are exploring and seek new knowledge.

When we explored forest life this year, my students became very interested in trees. So we used padlet as a way to learn about trees globally. Padlet is like a giant sticky note which students can use to post an idea, video and/or photo. For this project, I posted trees from around the world so students could easily make observations and then share their learning with anyone with the padlet link.

Through padlet we learned what trees needed to survive in different parts of the world, as well as some common things they all need to grow; a seed, water, soil, sunlight. This was a great opportunity to expand our own learning scientifically, as well as learn more about the value of sustainability as a planet.

Collaboration

Collaboration is built on our first day together when I invite parents in to create a hands-on project with me and my students. As we work together, we build trust by listening to each other and working towards a shared goal.

This spirit of teamwork continues in the fall when we explore waste. As we learn about waste at home, in our school and community, we create a padlet, sharing what we are doing online and asking others globally to share what they are doing to lessen waste in the world. This year, we had people from four different continents contribute. This helps me model and build an awareness of a world problem alongside my students. As an educator, I want to try to find solution-based problems that I can explore with my students that will make a difference globally. 

Celebration

Finally, we have celebration, which happens daily inside and outside of Kindergarten. We celebrate by using social media and other online tools to showcase our thinking. Through our ability to take risks and share, we become reflective about our learning. When others comment on our ideas, my students engage in conversation and feel great that someone outside of our classroom is noticing what we are doing and giving us compliments and comments.

I also make time for many in-person celebrations of learning throughout the year. We invite families in from 7:30-8:30 AM, four or five times a year for a breakfast buffet. Then families get a chance to see and listen to the many projects that we have been involved in. This becomes important because when we celebrate, we give recognition and offer each other the opportunity to be reflective and have conversations about what we explored, as well as the chance to explain the “why” and “what” we have learned about our projects. Celebration is part of our culture, not an “extra thing.”

Ultimately, teaching is an art. As a teacher I have the ability to create and design learning opportunities throughout the day that promote conversation, curiosity, collaboration and creativity. Celebration happens naturally because we are engaged in what we are doing, and reflective about why we are learning and how. Learning is for everyone and technology gives us all a voice.

Sharon Davison (@kkidsinvt) is a passionate educator who believes in creativity, connectivity, and innovation. She has had the privilege of being a public school teacher for over three decades and is proud to explore the Global Goals for Sustainability with her students and their families.

This story is part of the EdSurge Fifty States Project (representing the state of Vermont) and made publicly available with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the individual contributors alone and do not reflect the views of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Technology in School

Fostering Global Citizenship, One Tweet at a Time

By Sharon Davison     Jun 28, 2017

Fostering Global Citizenship, One Tweet at a Time

I have always left my classroom open to the world. I believe that by working together and encouraging openness, we can make a difference for our students, the communities we live and work in, and the places where change is needed.

Social media has helped me tremendously in this goal, specifically by helping me promote what I call the 5 Cs: 

  • Conversation
  • Creativity
  • Curiosity
  • Collaboration 
  • Celebration

Keeping these habits in mind, I’ve encouraged my Kindergarten students to use everything from Twitter to Skype to padlet to blogging. These tools have helped me improve the lives of my students, their families and hopefully the world. But as helpful as social media has been, it is ultimately the human relationships they foster that matter the most.

Conversation

One of the first things I think about when creating a positive culture is how to cultivate respectful conversations. As a teacher of young children, I start by building the value and importance of relationships through face-to-face and small group interactions.

As we begin to have conversations outside of our classroom, we use Skype and GoogleHangout. I invite parents to try this out with students first as a way to build an awareness of online etiquette. This is always successful because my students explore how these online tools can be used with familiar people. Then as we grow and connect throughout the year, we can safely use the tools to have conversations with experts and other students throughout the world.

We also use Twitter to communicate. Twitter offers my students opportunities to connect with Kindergarteners they otherwise would never meet. I should add my students don’t tweet themselves. Instead I have them “tweet” using a stuffed bird and I post on their behalf. This way I am modeling how to have conversations globally in a kind and responsible way as they begin to learn about the world and how much we all have in common.

Creativity 

Creativity gives us all a chance to represent what we understand in new ways. “What do I think?” “What are you thinking?” “I notice, I wonder, I observed.” These are the questions and phrases we use daily inside and outside of Kindergarten when we create. The language we use gives us opportunities to connect and collaborate about an idea, and share wonderings with others.

In one powerful unit, my students explored South America with a focus on Machu Picchu. Since my students were curious about this amazing place, we made a visual representing explore, using cardboard, paint, paper, tape and writing tools as a way to represent what we’re learning about Machu Picchu. I was struck by how my students were having conversations about what they learned and how they learned it, and as always I wanted to share.

So we created a Kidblog post about Machu Picchu using Doodle Buddy. In this way everyone had an opportunity to be creative using a different tool to design what they learned while we shared our understanding with friends around the world.

Curiosity

When my students are genuinely curious, they want to explore their wonderings on a larger scale, they challenge each other’s thinking, think about how it is important to them, add their own rigor about what they are exploring and seek new knowledge.

When we explored forest life this year, my students became very interested in trees. So we used padlet as a way to learn about trees globally. Padlet is like a giant sticky note which students can use to post an idea, video and/or photo. For this project, I posted trees from around the world so students could easily make observations and then share their learning with anyone with the padlet link.

Through padlet we learned what trees needed to survive in different parts of the world, as well as some common things they all need to grow; a seed, water, soil, sunlight. This was a great opportunity to expand our own learning scientifically, as well as learn more about the value of sustainability as a planet.

Collaboration

Collaboration is built on our first day together when I invite parents in to create a hands-on project with me and my students. As we work together, we build trust by listening to each other and working towards a shared goal.

This spirit of teamwork continues in the fall when we explore waste. As we learn about waste at home, in our school and community, we create a padlet, sharing what we are doing online and asking others globally to share what they are doing to lessen waste in the world. This year, we had people from four different continents contribute. This helps me model and build an awareness of a world problem alongside my students. As an educator, I want to try to find solution-based problems that I can explore with my students that will make a difference globally. 

Celebration

Finally, we have celebration, which happens daily inside and outside of Kindergarten. We celebrate by using social media and other online tools to showcase our thinking. Through our ability to take risks and share, we become reflective about our learning. When others comment on our ideas, my students engage in conversation and feel great that someone outside of our classroom is noticing what we are doing and giving us compliments and comments.

I also make time for many in-person celebrations of learning throughout the year. We invite families in from 7:30-8:30 AM, four or five times a year for a breakfast buffet. Then families get a chance to see and listen to the many projects that we have been involved in. This becomes important because when we celebrate, we give recognition and offer each other the opportunity to be reflective and have conversations about what we explored, as well as the chance to explain the “why” and “what” we have learned about our projects. Celebration is part of our culture, not an “extra thing.”

Ultimately, teaching is an art. As a teacher I have the ability to create and design learning opportunities throughout the day that promote conversation, curiosity, collaboration and creativity. Celebration happens naturally because we are engaged in what we are doing, and reflective about why we are learning and how. Learning is for everyone and technology gives us all a voice.

Sharon Davison (@kkidsinvt) is a passionate educator who believes in creativity, connectivity, and innovation. She has had the privilege of being a public school teacher for over three decades and is proud to explore the Global Goals for Sustainability with her students and their families.

This story is part of the EdSurge Fifty States Project (representing the state of Vermont) and made publicly available with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the individual contributors alone and do not reflect the views of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

From our Guide

further reading

STAY UP TO DATE ON EDTECH
News, research, and opportunities - sent weekly.
STAY UP TO DATE ON EDTECH
News, research, and opportunities - sent weekly.