Teacher Education Goes Global
Chia-Ling Kuo Course
Course Name: Educational Technology
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Reflection: My students of Educational Technology are all preservice teacher candidates from across the disciplines. Most of them are in their 2nd or 3rd year of study. They are still learning the subject and teaching methods, instructional approaches, etc. I found that their knowledge of technology concerns basically assignment production, using basic Word and PowerPoint skills for conducting presentations. They also use technology for communication purpose (cell phone, text messaging) and personal pleasure (music, Facebook) in their daily lives. Most of them have never thought about applying any one of the technologies that they are using in the classroom or have never thought about using technology to connect educators and students in other countries.

I start incorporating a global learning project to my class from spring 2012 semester. In this project, my students set up a wiki website as a space for the sharing of information, knowledge, videos, audios, etc. with KSU alumni of the International Leaders in Education Scholars Program and their students. Finding overseas educators who commit themselves to the project, scheduling a time frame that works for all of the overseas participants, and making sure everyone on board need lots of preparations and email communications. However, the project is worth the effort. In the future, I hope my students and overseas educators and their students can collaborate on some projects together. I like this project and believe that the global learning project is beneficial to both groups of the students in terms of partnership, collaboration, global awareness, international perspective, and much more.

I began incorporating the global learning project to my undergraduate Educational Technology course from spring 2012 semester. The goal of the project is to use technology to communicate with other educators and students who live outside the United States and to share and exchange information and knowledge with them. In this project, each group of my students sets up a wiki site as a space for the sharing of information, ideas, thoughts, images, etc. with one of the KSU alumni of the International Leaders in Education Scholars Program and their students. Both groups of the students post questions that they are interested in learning from the other group to the wiki website. At the end of the project, my students present their wiki sites and share their learning experiences to the whole class.

From spring 2012 semester to now, we have had 20 educators in 9 countries to work with us. They live in Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Morocco, Philippines, and Taiwan.

Most of my students have never had any experience about working with other educators around the world. I think this project provides great experience for our pre-service teachers. From their reflections, I found that our preservice teachers are very willing to learn from others who are culturally different, they express more confidence working with international educators and learned to adapt their own behavior to interact effectively with those who are different.

I think that all educators around the world want to provide the best learning experience for their students. It is my honor to work with these teachers around the world. Below are some quotations from my student’s reflections.

“My overall experience with the global learning project was very interesting. I was excited to learn about what they would answer and it kept me engaged in the learning process.”

“I loved doing it. I wish I would have been given the opportunity to talk to more than one country. I thought it was so interesting to learn about a country from a first hand experience of living there rather than simply going to Google.com and bringing up researched articles.”

“After finding out about their schools, I think of the country differently. I only hear about people going there for vacation, or to do mission projects. Sometimes we forget that people actually live and go to school there.”

“I enjoyed doing the project and enjoyed learning new information about a country which I was not well informed about. It was very interesting to read what the students were doing in class and out of class. Also, the technology available in their school was also interesting because it gave me a perspective on how blessed we are in the states to have the available technology most of us grew up with.”

“Before this project I did not realize that overseas educators were so willing to work with us to gain information. This project enhanced my confidence. I am not intimidated to speak to these educators after this project.”

“I was nervous when we started working with the students, no knowing if they would speak English, but the fact that they did made me more confident. I now want to work more with overseas educators, and hopefully have the same experience that I had with this project.”

“This project definitely enhanced my confidence to work with overseas educators. I would have never thought I could do an activity like this before this class. I am very thankful.”

“This project allowed me to realize the language barrier. It will help me in my future because I will be able to better understand the differences in language so that I can adapt my language for overseas educators to better understand. This will help me in my professional career because I can make necessary adaptations when discussing with future students and parents who may be from another country.”

“This project benefited me professionally because I had to conduct myself in a professional matter. You cannot have communication with your overseas partners and be disrespectful or rude. Being professional is very important for this project because it helps you learn what is appropriate to say and what is not. For example, when asking questions some seemed like we were talking down to them. Even though we weren't we had to rewrite the question to make it sound better. Being respectful and professional is important in all aspects of life, especially since I will be a teacher working with students and their parents.”