Before long we will anxiously stand at our doors awaiting the arrival of our newest group of kids for the 2013-2014 school year. For many of us, our class roster will be hot of the printer with still several changes as a possibility. And while we may approach each new group that we have the privilege to teach with optimism and hope for a great year, many of our students come to us apprehensive about what the year will hold. They arrive at our door with no self-confidence in their talents and abilities. Where we, as educators, approach each year as a clean slate, many of our students approach the year with pre-conceived notions of how others see them as learners.
In my opinion, this is why things like The Global Classroom, Global Read Aloud, Skype, and Google Apps for Education are so important. They are not only game-changers for education as a whole, but they are also game-changers for our students, as well. All resources and tools that provide opportunities and avenues for all students to feel successful at working with others in a meaningful way is huge. Students are no longer working in collaborative groups with many of the same people they have worked with since Kindergarten, but instead meeting new students in various regions, states, and sometimes countries to share their learning and knowledge.
This thought process has been stemmed by the various blog posts and Tweets lately about why Twitter is so powerful for educators. I began wondering what makes it so meaningful for me, personally. While there are several reasons, the biggest is that it breaks down the barriers of how we see ourselves in relation to others and allows for more meaningful connections. I don’t think about what a person’s job title is when I connect with him/her on Twitter. I think about learning more from others, but also see myself as a contributor to others’ learning. For some of our students, this is life changing. I know for me, personally, it has been. After virtually peeking into classrooms, thinking through practices and beliefs, and making connections with other teachers who teach the same thing I do, I feel I have more to offer the students I teach and the people I work with. This helps instill confidence and the belief that I have something meaningful to offer others; and if I find this much passion and excitement as an adult when globally working with others, imagine how empowering it will be for my students!