Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Understanding Other Perspectives and Cultures

CCSS: They come to understand other perspectives and cultures.

There has been no other time in history, when our students have had easy access to opinions from around the world. With easy access comes the need for critical thinking. Take a look at this recent commercial as evidence:

We can bring experts into the classroom with ease through video conferencing, webinars, and Skype. An international student living in Philadelphia can interact with students in rural Lehighton who are studying her homeland of Columbia. When they ask about travel in the country, she can spontaneously show them a picture of parents riding down a windy mountainous road on a motorcycle with a baby strapped to the mother’s back. Kids studying the natural disasters were able to follow the Twitter hashtag during the tsunami in Japan to see what kids their own age were experiencing through pictures, quotes, and video.

Point of view on a news story varies depending upon where you live. Wondering what people think about an international news story? How are newspapers treating a particular piece of political news? Is there evidence of bias? Newspapers around the world/country are available and easily translated with a click: http://newspapermap.com

If a student has never lived in a city and is reading about an urban location, Google Maps and a simple image search can provide a look into that world. So, when a student from central PA is reading The Cricket in Times Square, a visit to Google Maps Street View shows them this. (If you are new to Google Maps, use your mouse to explore Times Square.)

View Larger Map

Global perspective goes well beyond Social Studies. Collaborative projects are going on around the world. Students are gathering data and sharing it globally, so that students can analyze, evaluate, and synthesize the data. Authentic math and science projects like this give clarity to the question, “Why do I need to learn this?”

·         http://www.epals.com/

The reality of our world is that it is getting smaller and smaller. A global perspective is essential to success.

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