Global Citizenship is the latest buzz word in education at the moment. And while it might just be a current trend in education, the fundamental ideas and teaching philosophy in teaching students how to contribute to a greater world is an important message that will be around as long as technology is connecting students and people.
My students this year are working on a project called “SMARTee the Project” where they are connecting with other students who also have special needs around the world. Prior to starting the project many of my 3rd grade special education students were not even aware of what a country was let alone that there are many more around the world.
There are many projects, programs, apps, videos, and even canned lessons available to teach students what global citizenship is and why this matters. I know because in previous years of teaching I’ve tried just about all I could get my hands on. Kids could recite the information back, pass the quizzes, and learn the material. Until this year and the SMARTee project however, I don’t think my kids actually got what it means to be a Global Citizen. Not until they actually became Global Citizens in connecting with other students like them around the globe did they actually understand what global citizenship meant.
In actually applying the concepts of being respectful and responsible, and making the world better through digital footprint, my students were able to grasp what this meant. In working together through SMART amp and other means, my students could actually connect with other kids but more importantly began to understand what that meant. One student’s workspace contributions got moved for example, which helped all students understand the importance of respecting other people’s work in the digital world; they even created a class rule about it.
One of the biggest goals of the SMARTee project has been for students to understand and embrace our differences but value that there are more things that make students around the world alike than things that separate us.
My students don’t think of the kids around the world as being 6,000 miles away but rather as their “friends in Finland” or “Germany” etc. They are applying the ideas of being respectful, responsible, and helping to make the world better by contributing only helpful things. Through real application they aren’t just learning about digital citizenship, they have become digital citizens.
Check out the awesome video my students made about being “Global Leaders”:
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