Flat Connections

Transforming learning through global collaboration

Global Project Design ... a collaborative inquiry opportunity

Why plan and integrate global projects into your curriculum?

The move towards individualized learning is happening (see Horizon Report 2011: K-12 Edition), but along the way educators will and do struggle with getting themselves ready. How do I manage a class of 25 students each on his or her own learning path? We know we can no longer stand and deliver. We know we need to engage students and we know we are responsible for delivering required curriculum.

What to do?

One way to make the transition is to use the collaborative inquiry model. Research has shown that “Intellectually engaged learners stay on task, view errors as learning opportunities and persist in their efforts to overcome challenges. They are passionate about and committed to solving problems, developing understanding and moving their thinking forward” (Jang, Reeve & Deci, 2010; NCREL online qtd in Ontario Ministry of Education Capacity Building Series: Getting Sta...). Inquiry models provide the opportunities for students to learn in ways that they find interesting and enjoyable. This is no small thing. If we can provide authentic, meaningful, open-ended, intellectually engaging activities, students will learn. Even better, our students will leave high school with the most options available to them because they will be, as Will Richardson hopes, ‘"learning ready," [that is] able to put together their own path to success.”

Global projects can be designed as collaborative inquiries. They can have the depth and breadth that will offer students a variety of ways into the learning. They will follow the path that their own questions create. They will be the lead learner. They will be learning to be masters of their own learning. And our jobs? Beyond the roles of supporter, guide, and supplier of goods (read here anything the students need from pencils to passwords), teachers must ensure that students are engaged in a metacognitive process about their learning. Students need to reflect on their learning and the process of their learning. What helped me succeed? What will I do differently next time? What strategies did I find useful? What did I learn?

And aligning our curriculum to meet the needs of this collaborative global inquiry may mean that we have to view those curricular expectations or standards through a new lens. We need to expect of ourselves first what we expect of our students. We need to be risk-takers, to be “learning ready”, to be metacognitive.

Sometimes the only way to start is to start. 

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Tags: fcc13_design

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Comment by Edna Marie Phythian on February 1, 2013 at 12:19am

Julie, that is good stuff. I'm so excited to follow your journey. You have done a wonderful job leading this work. Congrats!

Comment by Julie Balen on January 31, 2013 at 7:58pm

Hi Edna

We are hard at work planning for the inquiry process at at least the classroom level ie connecting classrooms in the building, with some outreach to classrooms in the country. For the teachers I work with, this is a big step (Google Hangouts, Kidblogging, collaborative wiki spaces, and such). One teacher is running her first global project with FCT 13-1. So it is coming. 

The biggest hurdle-getting people to consider connecting and collaborating-has been overcome! Now we need to put our energy into action. 

You can follow our progress on my blog Flattening the learning  I will be posting about FCP 13-1 as well as the student inquiry in grade 6 starting this weekend. I would be glad to have you along!

Comment by Edna Marie Phythian on January 27, 2013 at 2:14am
Julie, great reflection here. You have summed up the many requirements that are upon teachers today. How are you doing at this? I look forward to hear where you feel you are with these skills, dispositions and mindsets.

Founder
Comment by Julie Lindsay on January 21, 2013 at 3:28pm

Julie - thank you the 30 minutes it has taken to really read this blog post - yes sidetracked by all the hyperlinks, which is what makes it so good!! I love your last paragraph: "And aligning our curriculum to meet the needs of this collaborative global inquiry may mean that we have to view those curricular expectations or standards through a new lens. We need to expect of ourselves first what we expect of our students. We need to be risk-takers, to be “learning ready”, to be metacognitive."

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