Empowering Global Citizens with Project-Based Learning

Location: Room 212

Participate and share

[Participate and share : Interactive lecture]

Monday, June 26, 10:00–11:00 am
Location: Room 212

Suzie Boss   Mike Gwaltney  
Technology-enabled project-based learning (PBL) experiences help students understand their world and their capacity to engage it. In this interactive session, we'll guide you through planning PBL projects that develop students’ cultural competence and understanding of global challenges, while building mindsets and dispositions that lead them to act for the common good.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: PC, Chromebook, Mac
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Project, problem and challenge based learning
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: Teachers : Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments
Students : Digital citizen
Students : Global collaborator
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation, Global Collaboration strand session

Digital tote resources

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

This session is intended to increase teacher confidence to design and manage technology-rich projects that build students’ competencies as global citizens.

As a result of the session, participants will:
(Educational challenge) Understand why global citizenship and cultural competence are essential preparation for participation in our increasingly diverse society, and how students develop these competencies through rich learning experiences that deepen over time (not with content-light activities that have a global “flavor” but little rigor).
(Model) Understand how to use the PBL with technology to plan engaging, relevant projects that develop students’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions as global citizens.
(Technology) Gain new ideas for transforming learning by integrating technology into global projects to overcome barriers of time, location, culture, or language. Among the tools to we will demonstrate or discuss:
3-D printers for global humanitarian projects (such as E-nabling the Future: http://enablingthefuture.org/), and Google Expeditions to spark curiosity and develop global awareness. Several others will be profiled. Participants will also learn about projects they can join to collaborate with veteran global educators and their students, including The Great Global Project Challenge (http://www.globalcollaborationday.org/the-great-global-project-challenge.html).

Relevance of the topic to the educational technology field and ISTE audience: It’s hard to imagine an audience better suited to developing students’ global competencies via digital-age PBL than the educators who come together at ISTE. Demand for global education resources is on the rise, as evidenced by emerging literature and well-attended events such as the virtual Global Education Conference (http://www.globaleducationconference.com/) that attracts participants from around the world. The refresh of the ISTE standards reminds us why a focus on global citizenship is imperative for today’s students. The connections afforded by technology, the inter-connectedness of global issues such as climate change, and the desire for empowered learning are among the factors that make global, digital-age PBL a timely if not urgent topic for this audience.

Educational significance and contribution to the respective topic: According to the U.S. Department of Education (2016), a globally competent student is one who can investigate the world, weigh perspectives, communicate effectively with diverse audiences, and take action. (U.S. Department of Education, 2012) That’s a tall order, but essential learning for students coming of age at a time of daunting challenges—social, political, economic, and environmental--but also remarkable opportunities to connect, create, and solve problems using digital tools. To develop these competencies, students need learning experiences that build over time, developing their academic understanding and empathy along with their confidence to take action and their competence as digital citizens. Teachers in diverse contexts also need to build their muscle as global educators who understand how to leverage digital tools.

The increasing focus on global education is by no means limited to the U.S. As the United Nations’ Global Education First Initiative states, “The world faces global challenges, which require global solutions. … Education must fully assume its central role in helping people to forge more just, peaceful, tolerant and inclusive societies.”

Degree to which higher/second-order applications of technology are addressed: Well-designed PBL that builds students’ global competency integrates technology with the goal of transformative learning. With access to digital tools, students and teachers can collaborate on projects without barriers of time, place, culture, or even language. They can apply the understanding they gain through PBL to create new products or solutions and share their work with global audiences. Indeed, by connecting with students and experts around the world, students practice the skills and habits of engaged global citizens. In the SAMR model, these outcomes reach the level of Redefinition--accomplishing goals that would have been inconceivable without access to technology. Of course, these outcomes do not happen by accident. We will focus on the intentional design of PBL that sets the stage for higher-order outcomes.

Ease of replication: This session is designed for participants with varying degrees of experience with digital-age PBL or global education. Leading by example, we will walk participants through a flexible planning framework that will enable them to replicate global PBL with their students. Among the resources we will share are platforms for global collaboration that enable teachers new to global PBL to connect with more experienced colleagues.

Value to participants: As thought-leaders, educational experts, and new curriculum call for increased attention to Global Citizenship, teachers are searching for strategies that will work with their students. Technology-enabled Project-based Learning has been shown to be an effective means of teaching citizenship and creating globally aware students. This session will give teachers the tools they need to design effective lessons to promote cultural competence and develop their students’ global awareness, regardless of the subject-area they teach. Participants in this session will have the opportunity to collaborate and think about potential PBL units, while learning about some of the leading work being done by other educators around the world. What’s more, the interactive approach to the session will enable participants to make connections with colleagues, some of whom may become future project partners.

Presenter knowledge and experience: Both presenters bring a depth of experience and knowledge about PBL, global education, and technology integration, as well as extensive experience facilitating professional development with international audiences.


Outline / Agenda:

5 min: Warm-up activity (similar to a project launch / entry event), using technology to engage audience interactively to provoke questions about how to engage students with global issues. Participants will understand how an inquiry is developed and launched at the beginning of a project.

10 min: Big picture on why this topic matters (here’s where we intro ourselves and our perspective, based on experience) from our experience and expertise.

40 min: 4 rounds (10 min each) of activities focused on specific aspect of planning/managing/assessing global PBL with the following potential topics:

1. Going deeper: challenging the superficial, sometimes celebratory activities that don’t get into deep thinking; this is chance to connect global projects w/deeper learning outcomes

2. Global issues, local action: How to plan for “glocal.” Here we bring in the new UN Sustainable Development Goals, with challenge to participants: How could your students take real action or develop perspective/empathy on these issues?

3. Digital tools for global learning: tech tools to connect, collaborate, co-create, share

4. Knowing your impact: something assessment focused re: global projects

5 min: Questions, Answers, Connections (chance to connect with colleagues for future project collaboration).

Supporting research

Boss, S. and Krauss, J. (2014). Reinventing project-based learning: Your field guide to real-world projects in the digital age, 2nd Ed. Eugene, OR: ISTE.
Lindsay, J. (2016). The global educator: Leveraging technology for collaborative learning & teaching. Eugene, OR: ISTE.
Reimers, F. et al. (2016). Empowering global citizens: A world course. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace.
Reimers, F., and Chung, C. (2016). Teaching and learning for the twenty-first century: Educational goals, policies, and curricula from six nations. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press.
United Nations. (2015). UN sustainable development goals: 17 goals to transform our world. Retrieved Sept. 26, 2016, from http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/
U.S. Department of Education. (2012). Succeeding globally through international education and engagement. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved Sept. 24, 2016, from https://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/internationaled/international-strategy-2012-16.pdf.
Zhao, Y. (2012). World class learners: Educating creative and entrepreneurial students. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.



Suzie Boss, Edutopia blogger

Mike Gwaltney, Rocky Hill School

Mike is considered an expert in project-based and online learning, and is a regular at ISTE, speaking and leading workshops on technology-rich PBL that fosters engaged citizenship. His students' work has been featured on National Public Radio, Edutopia, and in several recent books. Mike was recognized as “Most Inspirational Teacher” by the Mayor of Los Angeles six times, and in February 2017, he was given the OESIS “Innovation Leader” award for Digital Citizenship, Project-based Learning, and Interdisciplinary Learning. Mike is Head of Upper School at Rocky Hill School in Rhode Island.

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