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Global Collaboration for Cross-Cultural Understanding

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Location: La Nouvelle Ballroom, Table 2
Experience live: All-Access Package

Participate and share : Poster

Kevin Bower  
Across the World Once a Week, #XW1W, allows your learners to engage with classrooms across the world through Twitter. #XW1W is a link between your classroom and the world! Broaden your students' knowledge about the world around them through global collaboration and cross-curricular experiences.

Audience: Library media specialists, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Twitter
Topic: Digital citizenship
Grade level: 6-8
Subject area: Language arts, Social studies
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Create experiences for learners to make positive, socially responsible contributions and exhibit empathetic behavior online that build relationships and community.
For Students:
Global Collaborator
  • Students use digital tools to connect with learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, engaging with them in ways that broaden mutual understanding and learning.
  • Students explore local and global issues and use collaborative technologies to work with others to investigate solutions.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Classrooms must engage students with the world to develop diversity and inclusivity. Web 2.0 resources and social media provide our students creative mediums to connect and interact with students outside the classroom walls. XW1W enhances 21st Century Skills and connects students through learning experiences with a weekly question to address. The students research the question, draft a response, and connect through their interactions focused around the purpose and objectives of the activity.

My sixth-grade students are under 13, and legally they cannot create a Twitter account. XW1W addresses this situation because students can post their responses to the weekly question in an LMS like Canvas, Google Classroom, or Schoology. The teacher can copy and paste the students' posts to Twitter and include the students' initials allowing the student to remain anonymous throughout the experience. Students can read the responses on their teacher's Twitter feed and draft replies to post online. Students under and older and 13 have the same opportunities to interact outside their classroom walls.

Diversity and inclusion are facets that have not seen the progress we had hoped for in classrooms. Diverse classroom libraries and materials are vital to student success, but they do not solve the issue of inclusivity. Through experiences like XW1W, students connect through learning experiences. Our students need to go beyond understanding global issues and learn from and work with individuals representing diverse cultures and lifestyles in a spirit of mutual respect and open dialogue in community contexts.

XW1W connects higher-level thinking, data analysis, conversation and debate, writing, and digital skills through students' responses to questions and peer interaction. For example, International Women's Day is March 8, and the question for the week was: How will you help forge a gender-equal world? What is one aspect of your school culture that needs work to improve gender equity? Gender equity is a contemporary issue for students to tackle and connect through cross-curricular experiences with any subject area and utilizes higher-level thinking skills.

Another example question connected to November 16, International Day for Tolerance. What international figure does your class respect as a model that demonstrates tolerance for others? Students develop an appreciation of other cultures and life in other countries through the students' responses and interactions.

Many teachers may think, how can I possibly add one more thing to my schedule? Since XW1W is a weekly activity, I will present a plan to scaffold student responses with templates and organizers throughout the week. For example, the students can brainstorm and research their responses to the posted question for the week. On Tuesday, the students can write their answers. Wednesday is an opportunity for the students or the teacher to post their responses on Twitter with #XW1W. On Thursday, the students can read posts and continue to learn more about the topic. The students can analyze posts for trends, differences, and similarities. Friday is a chance for the students to continue the discussions, and they can continue into the following week as the students' research and write their responses to the next question.

Social media shows students that learning isn't limited to their classroom but that the world is their classroom. Global communication has put the world at our fingertips, and teachers are a critical component to prepare our students to work and play in their global world.

Students can impact the world in powerful ways. As educators, we can prepare every child to be influential by helping them understand how to leverage the power of social media. While students intuitively understand social media platforms' mechanics, using them responsibly, purposeful way to build influence is not instinctual. Research, voice amplification, and digital citizenship are also skills that must be taught and practiced.

Supporting research

Dikkers, A. G., Whiteside, A., & Lewis, S. (2012). Get Present: Build Community and Connectedness Online. Learning & Leading with Technology, 40(2), 22-25.

New technology and digital worlds: Analyzing evidence of equity in access, use, and outcomes. Review of Research in Education. 34(1). 2010. pp. 179-225.

Team and Community Building Using Mobile Devices. Gerstein, Jackie. Team and Community Building Using Mobile Devices. Handbook of Mobile Learning. Berge, Zane L. and Lin Muilenburg. eds. New York. Routledge. 2013. 9780415503693. pp. 268-284.
Team and Community Building Using Mobile Devices
Gerstein, Jackie. Team and Community Building Using Mobile Devices. Handbook of Mobile Learning. Berge, Zane L. and Lin Muilenburg. eds. New York. Routledge. 2013. 9780415503693. pp. 268-284.

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Kevin Bower, Hempfield SD & Millersville University

Kevin Bower has 19 years of elementary teaching experience, is a certified reading specialist, and teaches instructional technology to pre-service and practicing teachers. He was the 2010 Elementary Educator of the Year and the keynote speaker at the IU13 Elementary Technology Conference (2012). He has presented nationally, had his teaching practices cited in various publications, and published a collaborative article on infusing technology into the balanced literacy classroom. Kevin’s research interests focus on using technology to best meet the needs of students with diverse abilities.

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