1. George,
    What a great post! I remember this nearly the same way you do. At the time I was a 3rd grader and had just moved into this school a few days earlier.

    I don't think we give our kids enough credit today, especially when the majority of schools aren't teaching them to be global citizens. This past week I spoke on a panel for a social media in edu conference and I surveyed the audience (informally) in regards to their level of access to social media tools. It's sad that in 2011 we aren't yet doing more to implement these tools. It was a great group of people at this conference, but the majority continue to express barriers to the use of these tools.

    How is the access to technology and the filtering situation by you? Is social media making its way into the classroom and what role do you feel school leaders are playing in this? I will be doing some research shortly on Principal use of social media for personal and organizational learning. Would love to hear your thoughts!

    Thanks again for the great post.


  2. I just commented on Kevin Jarrett's FB about the same event. Our school watched it live, because one of our teachers had been next in line after Christa McAuliffe.

    I'll never forget the reaction of the teacher I was with that day. At first, we didn't realize what had happened… and then when the news commentators were stunned into silence, we started to understand. Our teacher was amazing. She allowed us to see her hurt, but she also comforted us at the same time. Everything else she had planned for that day was swept aside, and we sat and talked, asked questions, cried… it was truly horrific, but we also had some amazing discussions that day. I've never forgotten that experience, and I always think about that specific teacher. She handled the situation very humanly, and she helped me realize that teachers are just as human as their students. Even if she didn't realize it at the time, she made an enormous impression on me that day, and she's been someone I've tried to emulate in my own teaching.

    That human element for teachers and students- learning to connect to other people face to face as well as those we don't "see," care for each other, empathize- if I teach my students nothing else but how to truly care for others, I'll feel successful.

  3. Here here.

    My students, who have had more than their share of tragedies, were intense in their exploration of Japan. I sent out link after link to the students and staff and they proved insatiable.

    When they had a sub who had family in Japan and had lived there as a child, she was amazed at their insightful questions and their extensive knowledge. They knew some things she didn’t! My lesson plans were out the window, but the depth of the conversation that day was immeasurable. (I was quite jealous when I debriefed with the sub…I wished I had been able to stay!)

    Proof that being a global citizen and using technology in the classroom can truly connect students to the world! AWESOME!

  4. Good bit, George—and I'm with you on your central premise that technology is making our students more aware and empathetic global citizens.

    What's even cooler is that technology gives our students the chance to feel empowered to make real change in the world.

    When we were kids, "making a difference" meant starting a lemonade stand, collecting a few bucks from our neighbors and sending it with a letter via the local red cross.

    Today, our students can use technology to do so much more. My 12 year old sixth graders, for example, have a microlending club that has loaned out almost $6,000 to 125 entrepreneurs in some of the poorest countries on earth.

    Each week, we come together to study the countries and to study the entrepreneurs. We find families who have nothing compared to what we have here in the developed world—but who have big dreams and a determination to improve their lives. Then—using the microlending site Kiva—we make loans.

    I just think that's such a powerful action and message for my kids. You CAN care about the world. More importantly, you CAN take real action to improve the lives of people in the poorest countries on the planet even when you're 12.

    Good stuff.

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