The question some teachers may have with implementing 21st century skills how do I raise global awareness? If your a math teacher is raising global awareness really something you can incorporate into your classroom? While I am not a mathematics educator I do have some solutions to these issues. (Side note because I can't help myself just look at how prefect those 21st century skills are for social studies. It is almost like they were made for the subject. Okay I am done I swear.)
Raising global awareness means more than just learning the countries on a map, it entails learning about issues the world faces, learning about different cultures, their histories and making connections with others across the globe.
So how can a math teacher raise student awareness about issues the world faces? While I may not have the answer for how they can get students learning about all the problems, there is one I know could be incorporated into not just the field of math but almost all subjects taught in school, world hunger. Hunger is the worlds most curable/fixable problem. When I went to visit the United Nations they were promoting a website called freerice.com. Teachers or even schools can set up groups students can register for free join the groups and pick a subject. After they have a subject they answer questions and for every one they get right 10 grains of rice gets donated to the World Food Programme.
Freerice.com is not the only tool out there for teachers to assist in Global Awareness. There are a few websites out there that actually allow classrooms to connect. This can be done with Skype. However you have to coordinate times to chat and with time differences this can be challenging and if you have 7 to 8 classes finding time for all of them to participate can be challenging. If you only have a few classes like 1 to 3 then this isn't as big of an issue and makes Skype classroom a great resource. At least when I looked into this option it seemed like class sizes and time made connecting difficult. Others may have a different experience.
There are other options though, like Epals. I have used epals before during my studies in college, one of my professors set up an account and found a class in Thailand for us to communicate with. Through this experience we were able to learn about their culture address stereotypes from both countries. They were able to share what they were learning with us and we were able to plan a lesson about American Imperialism for them.
On epals you as the teacher can either set up an ad or an advanced search for the type of experience you're looking to create for your classroom/students. Example do you want to work on a project with another classroom encouraging students to collaborate or do you just want to have students email each other and learn about each others culture, lives, and share student work, or both. It works for multiple subjects not just foreign language or social studies. There are projects that you can join or start your own, the site has challenges and contests for students to participate in. Overall its a great site, I enjoyed my experience with it and I know when I get my own classroom I want to incorporate epals into my curriculum.
- Flat Connections Global Project
- Global School Network
- EDU 2.0
- Global Education Conference Network
* Note: I have not used all of these, nor deeply researched them. The EDU 2.0 looks interesting because the site will translate for you so there are more options of people you can connect with, they do not have to know English and your class does not have to know their native language.