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Learning Library Blog 4 skills the littlest learners gain from global collaboration
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4 skills the littlest learners gain from global collaboration

By Team ISTE
December 14, 2015
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Do your students know what it’s like to live in Korea? Or Ethiopia?

The PK-1 students at The Episcopal Academy in Newton Square, Pennsylvania, do, thanks in large part to the encouragement and guidance of Margaret Powers, their lower school technology coordinator.

Last year’s PK class created a video to teach others how to make an Eric Carle-style book. They shared the video with an Ethiopian class, and the Ethiopian students made suggestions that the American children incorporated into their final product – which they shared digitally with their new friends.

That kind of cross-cultural communication and collaboration is within the reach of all students today, including the very youngest.

“I sometimes hear surprise that kids this young can do this kind of work,” Powers says. “But technology has really become one of the languages that children use to express themselves, to communicate and to connect.”

Why go global?

The benefits of incorporating global learning into early childhood education are many, Powers says. Students have fun, learn new things and develop:

  • Increased respect for others. As students learn more about others’ lives, they confront and question stereotypes, beliefs and assumptions.
  • Global citizenship. Today’s society is interconnected and interdependent; countries must work together to address problems such as climate change and terrorism. Students who develop an understanding of other cultures and perspectives at an early age are better prepared to function as global citizens.
  • A broader worldview. When students interact with other children around the world, they quickly discover that there are many different ways to live and learn.
  • Career skills. Many of today’s students will eventually work for multinational corporations or global organizations. Students who are comfortable working with people from other countries and cultures will have an advantage in the job market. 

Tech tools facilitate global connections

You can use the same tools you use to collaborate with colleagues across the country, such as Twitter, Skype and Google Apps, to help young students learn about the world far beyond their neighborhoods.

In her Dec. 16 ISTE webinar, “Tech as a Tool for Going Global in Early Childhood,” Powers will introduce digital tools that young students and teachers can use for cross-cultural communication and collaboration. The tools Powers will share, including Book Creator, Hopscotch, ThingLink, ChatterPix and Google Apps, are easily accessible and easy to use.

Webinar participants will:

  • Discover tech tools young students can use to communicate and collaborate with children around the world.
  • Learn how to incorporate a global perspective into classroom lessons and activities.
  • Be inspired by project examples.

Members can sign up for the free ISTE Professional Learning Series webinar, Tech as a Tool for Going Global in Early Childhood” now. Not an ISTE member? Join today!