Global Challenges Institute (Day 2)

Day two of the Global Challenges Institute Summit consisted of a presentation on their national blended learning course and eBook, exploration of the Global Challenges toolkit, keynote address from Jennifer Clinton from the National Council of International Visitors, small group discussions that looked at the resources and curriculum more thoroughly, finding and forming interest groups around different ways of implementing the global challenges curriculum into courses and departments, and then some final words and questions.

We began the day by talking about some of the lingering questions from the previous day.

How can we bring all this material together and provide a theoretical, ethical, or conceptual approach?  The “Save the World” activity was a good example of that kind of approach. I thought this was a good question because one of my initial critiques of the 7 revolutions framework was the lack of critical analysis built into the basic shell. It did turn out, however that many of the educators already utilizing this curriculum had applied a critical lens to how they were teaching it.

Another question asked about the possibility of partnering with colleagues in another department – science, biology, psychology, etc.  How do you convince someone in another department to create this academic partnership around the global challenges curriculum?

One idea I had was to organize an intensive, day long or weekend long experiential workshops built around just one of the challenges and they can be done in partnership with another faculty member from another discipline. These intensives can then also provide the time and space to facilitate more experiential and participatory learning exercises around a particular challenge and work with students to develop service learning commitments.

Also, the Kennesaw State University example of creating their own TED talks are a good example as a way to bring in faculty perspectives and knowledge from other disciplines.  This is one of the great examples they provided.

The Kennesaw State University videos are yet another example of why training, skill development, and strategic thinking about creating videos and integrating them into one’s learning and teaching are relevant to global education.  If we want to bring in a lot different perspectives and expertise that is beyond our personal scope, how do we leverage those who are online and those with whom we work in other departments or in our surrounding community? How can educators use their smart phone, flips cams, or digital cameras, or how can they tap into the film and media departments at their school to create these kinds of films.

Another question was, what is the “so what?” question that can fuel this curriculum? We need to envision and enable a more viable and sustainable future. That is a question that can inspire other disciplines to be a part of global challenges curriculum.

If we are asking our students to take action to solve and address world problems we need to help our student develop empathy for others. How can we do that? The global village exercise that asks the students to take on the perspective of an individual living under different conditions in a different part of the world and to view issues through that perspective as they move through the course. The research has shown that if students read a piece of literature they are much more likely to develop empathy than just being presented with a list of facts. Holocaust education is an example of this where learning about it revolves around individual stories as opposed to the large numbers.

Students must address cultural relativism and ethnocentrism when delving into this curriculum.  One framework that can help students explore differences is (DIE) – Describe it, Interpret it, and then Evaluate it in that order.  Denny from the University of Minnesota, Duluth shared this with the group.

Blended Learning Course and the e-Book

The course is called Global Challenges: Promise and Peril in the 21st Century.  The course is designed to provide the students with knowledge, skills, and attitudes – to be engaged, responsible and effective members of a globally interdependent community.  It is hosted on the Epsilen online learning platform.

Epsilen has partnered with the NY Times and has direct access to the NY Times content repository and they will not have to purchase a subscription to the NY Times.

Those who want to teach a global challenges curriculum can access the basic shell and then adapt to meet their needs and customize to include the different kinds of readings, videos, or activities they want to use with their students.  Denny from University of Minnesota, Duluth provided a great example from how he customized his course.

A couple good things picked up from this tour through the online course was the idea of conducting a pre and post survey of the student in the course.  Second is to include the critical thinking framework provided by The Foundation for Critical Thinking. Exploring these themes through various perspective – Problem-Solving Perspective, Futurist Perspective, and a Systems Perspective.

I found the futurist perspective to be one of the most useful takeaways from this summit.  I had been introduced to the futurist perspective when I attend the Peacebuilding Peacelearning Intensive a couple summers ago, but had not really seen how it was integrated int0 a curriculum.  The futurist perspective has learners explore an issue by thinking about the possible future, probable future, and preferable future as it relates to that issue.

I also found that the critical thinking piece that Denny and others brought into this curriculum connected nicely with the inquiry based learning that I explored at the Peace Education Master Class with Betty Reardon and Tony Jenkins.

The institute also has a Group Spaces account.

A couple good online resources that were shared during this session and brought in a world peace and social justice frame to this curriculum were http://breathingearth.net and http://betterworldshopper.com.

The eBook pilot was interesting as well, but I do not think an ebook created with the apple’s iBook creator and sold through the iBook store can be read on anything other than an iPad or iPhone, which very much limits who can download and use the resource.  This got me thinking that it might be possible to turn my PeaceLearner online learning modules into a hyperlinked .pdf.  It might take a bit more time, but they are ePubs that students can open up on their laptops.

Breakout group with Martin Shapiro on resources for global challenges

GapMinder.org – assignment idea, have student search find research and data on something that we are studying in this course or with this topic and show us the video and what you learned.

Information is beautiful (website)

This got me thinking about having students create their own infographics on a topic of issue discussed in my classes.  As Martin said, “information literacy is a key part of this course.”

Rives: If I controlled the Internet (Ted Talk)

The Wikipedia Game (where do the links take you)

Facebook Fridays (students like things related to the course)

Twitter Group or even a Diigo group

Jennifer Clinton (keynote speaker)

National Council for International Visitors (promoting excellence in citizen diplomacy)

Jennifer stressed the importance of a global competency curriculum, given the nature of her organization’s work.

NCIV is a private sector partner to the US Department of State.  It helps organizations engage local communities and increase mutual understanding between people and national through international exchange programs.

Public diplomacy supports US foreign policy goals by informing and influencing foreign publics and by expanding and strengthening relationships between people and the government of US and citizens around the world.

Average citizens can shape foreign relations (connection to savvy and strategic use of social media to influence foreign policy. this is a good connection to the global ed workshops. We could lead an exploration into examples of social media’s global impact).

A couple specific things that Jennifer addressed were: (1) The US only spends 1% of its total yearly budget on foreign diplomacy, even though most people think we spend much more.  She showed how people around the world have different opinions about America (government) vs americans (people).  She mentioned the impact of the controversial “anti-muslim” ads in DC and NY subways. And lastly, she mentioned John Zogby’s idea of the “first globals” and what that means about what kinds of students we are teaching.

The First Globals Generation (interview with John Zogby)
Globals Generation Focuses on Experience (NPR story)

Both of the above linked articles might be something to build or incorporate into the “global education for a peaceful world” frame that Arthur and I are developing.

Lastly, bringing back in the futurist thinking we all watched this EDU@2025 video and had a short discussion about whether or not we thought this presented a possible, probable, or preferable future.

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