21st century global collaboration

How to Bring Global Collaboration into the 21st Century


As educators in the 21st Century, one of the most important values that we need to cultivate for our students is the concept of global collaboration. The worst thing that we could do as educators is to confine the learning of our children to the four walls of a classroom. As someone who is a Doctoral candidate in a program that includes educators from Australia, Mexico, and Hong Kong, I have developed more of a growth mindset working with international colleagues. This past year, I have had the opportunity to participate in Challenge to Change, an international collaboration of educators from around the globe that takes place in Italy. Here are some of the best practices that my colleagues and I have shared and presented LIVE and through the catalyzation of blended and personalized learning in the Challenge to Change Project. Challenge to Change is an Italian multi city tour in which global educators shared messages about changing the status quo in teaching and learning.

Examples of Global Collaboration

collaborationJulie Willcott, Alberto Pian, and Kevin Morrow at dress rehearsal for Challenge to Change I held in Italy in March of 2015

Experienced STEM educator, Julie Willcott (@WillcottJulie) from Maine, said that “Global collaboration/global leadership is about not allowing teaching and learning to be constrained by one’s country. It is about finding both commonalities and new approaches by working with educators in other countries.” In her work in Challenge to Change One in March of 2015 and Challenge to Change Two in November of 2015, Wilcott used iTunes U and live presentations to emphasize using creativity in STEM curriculum with Sphero, Ozobots, and Osmo. This best practice is also the subject of her new iTunesU Course on STEM Lessons for the Classroom.


A series of multi-touch iBooks created by Italian educator Ugo Fallace

Ugo Fallace (@UgoFalace) is an Italian educator from Genoa who works with students with disabilities. In Challenge to Change, he shared about the project he did with a vocational school to produce 82 iBooks Textbooks for vocational subjects (Electronics, Mechanics, Healthcare assistance, Dental Mechanics technicians, Tourism operator, Photography and Graphic design). This was the first collaboration between the publisher (Centro Leonardo) and a school. The books are all interactive and inclusive. The project is getting a lot of attention in Italy and Europe as many schools are asking now to cooperate with Ugo and his company in order to create their own interactive textbooks and cultivate a spirit of 21st Century collaboration.

Global educator Katie Morrow has presented at Challenge to Change about the global best practice Challenge Based Learning

Katie Morrow (@katiemorrow) is an eloquent English teacher from O’Neill, Nebraska who has presented all over the globe. It is her opinion that “in the area of technology integration, global collaboration is even more critical. To continually stay current and see the true potential of what we can achieve, we need to look beyond our normal point of view.” One best practice that Katie has shared not only at Challenge for Change 1 and 2 in Italy, but also at many professional learning events that she has presented at during her career, is the idea of Challenge Based Learning. Challenge Based Learning is a practice that allows students and teachers to take a multidisciplinary approach to teaching and learning and allows students to use technology they have in their everyday lives to solve real world problems in their homes, schools, or communities in all four corners of the globe. Morrow feels that “by using the CBL framework to design activities and frame the experience, we can add greater depth of content, more active participation, and deeper learning. CBL puts a “wrapper” around any experience— especially professional development— and makes learning more relevant and real.” CBL is a valuable 21st century collaborative framework.



Monica Burns, Paul Hamilton, Courtney Pepe, and Dr. Luis Perez collaborated on a video about best practices with the Apple Watch that was shown at Challenge to Change 2

When it came time for round two of the global collaboration Challenge to Change project I was asked to share my experience with the Apple Watch. Since the Apple Watch is an emergent technology, I elicited the collaboration of some of the top educators from four corners of the world who were early adopters of the wearable technology. We created a video that shared how we use the Apple Watch in our unique educational settings. Paul Hamilton (@PaulHamilton8) has been using the Apple Watch to collect data and integrate with iBeacon technology. Monica Burns (@ClassTechTips) has been using the Apple Watch to enhance her work on digital storytelling. Luis Perez (@_luisfperez) has been using the watch to explore how the accessibility features of the Apple Watch can improve the quality of life of people living with low-incidence disabilities. As a Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction at the A. Harry Moore School of New Jersey City University, we are exploring the data collection options, the digital storytelling options, and the accessibility features on the watch to improve the education, self-determination, and quality of life for our students with low incidence disabilities ranging from Ages 3-21. Even though Luis, Monica, Paul and I did not travel to Italy, because of the iTunesU course format, the work that the four us do with the Apple Watch was shared as a collaborative video at Challenge to Change 2.

At EdTechTeacher, we have always prided ourselves on asking “what’s next.” Whether it be iPads, Chromebooks, Google Apps, or other mobile devices, we challenge participants in all of our workshops and conferences to think about how to truly transform student learning. So join us as we plan to bring together all of our learning communities to address the challenge of how to best innovateeducation. SUPER Early Bird Registration is open now for our February 1-3, 2016 San Diego events! One registration gives you access to all three conferences! Save 20% by registering before December 11th!



Featured image via Flickr

Written by Courtney Pepe

Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction North Jersey, ADE, Doctoral Candidate, blogger, coder, surfer, life-long learner

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