The Power of Blogging in a Global Classroom

Photo Shared by Global Grade 3

“It takes a village to raise a child.”

~African Proverb

For the past two years, my students and I have had the life changing opportunity to work closely with a non-government organization, Mosqoy, to help make a difference in the lives of people living in a remote weaving village in Q’enqo Peru. This journey began as a “one time only” video conference with a teacher in our system who was travelling through Peru with his family.

Since then, through providing students with authentic opportunities to ask personalized questions of our experts in the field, via Skype, not only have we deepened our understanding of Peruvian culture, traditions, quality of life and physical land features, we have magically helped to transform a rundown building in Q’enqo into a beautiful, inviting library for this tiny village nestled in the Andes. We have fund-raised to help provide materials, books and furniture for this library. We have been BLESSED to work with our Non-Government Organization (NGO); they have been AMAZING role-models for each and every one of us.

Last year, for the very first time, my class began blogging about this journey with a global audience. Participating in a global education inquiry, which has a solid grounding in our Social Studies curriculum, has been one of the most powerful learning experiences I have had the chance to participate in during my teaching career. Working with our NGO has brought our “textbook learning” to life and broadened our inquiry far beyond student learning objectives and Google searches.

Through blogging, these children have discovered the power of writing for and learning from readers from all over the world. Students have engaged in powerful mathematical experiences beyond curriculum objectives by using mental math to calculate the “number of hits” on our revolver map each day, and through sorting, counting and organizing their fundraising efforts.

Digital citizenship and online safety lessons have occurred naturally as we have contended with spam and less than appropriate advertising on flag counters, all within the safety of the classroom. Life lessons in economics, discovering how much further the Canadian dollar will go in a developing country, and the challenges of “building capacity” … the real world excitements and disappointments of trying to make a difference in a developing country … the sustainability and perseverance required to have this change endure … these are just a FEW of the amazing lessons that our eight year olds discovered.

Perhaps one of the most surprising lessons learned while blogging with my students was the realization that not only are we sharing our learning with our families, we are sharing with the world. And, if you are consistent in replying to the comments left behind on a classroom blog, the learning becomes interactive, personalized and even MORE rewarding than just communicating your discoveries through your posts. Some of the most POWERFUL learning we have experienced has been through the treasured relationships with our readers and the back and forth conversation that develops through the comments and replies. I have learned that it is not ENOUGH to read a “post” … the rich conversations in the comment section is where the “deeper” learning is at!

We have learned compassion, empathy, global awareness and, perhaps even MORE powerful, that you are never too little to make a positive difference in the world. These lessons have been meaningful, invaluable and made possible because of a desire to flatten the walls of the classroom, make learning meaningful and move into the global arena. Global education ROCKS!

Sometimes we are not always LUCKY enough to have a relationship like this develop naturally with an NGO that is interested in continuing a long term relationship. What do you do THEN? If you are interested in learning more about flattening the walls and creating a global classroom for your students, you should DEFINITELY check out the Global Classroom Wiki and the Global Classroom Blog! This learning community is ALL about sharing and mentoring, and there are projects already ON the go to help you get your feet wet or to continue to enrich you and your students’ learning journeys!

I wonder:

  • how are you helping your students to become global citizens?
  • what is the most POWERFUL lesson you’ve learned while flattening the classroom walls with your students?