What is Global Taxonomy? (September #globalclassroom Chats)

A strategic methodology for taking students from connecting within your classroom to connecting with the world.

“If global collaboration were easy, we wouldn’t have to teach it.”

Julie Lindsay & Vicki A. Davis

flickr creative commons photo by noticelj

In Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis suggest using “a steady methodology for taking students from connecting within your classroom to connecting with the world”. The authors describe a taxonomy of five levels:

Level 1: Intra-connection (within your own class)
Level 2: Inter-connection (within school / district)
Level 3: Managed global connection (class to class)
Level 4: Student to student (with teacher management)
Level 5 Student to student (with student management)

The taxonomy is a progression from one level to the next, through thoughtful planning and gradual release. The strategies, tools and products will vary depending on the context, developmental level and experience of the students. In a school where global collaboration is school wide, younger children may end up being more experienced in global collaboration than older students in a school that does not have such a culture. For deeper insight into each of the taxonomy levels explored below, please see The Flat Classroom Storify.

There are many strategies for how to support and encourage global collaboration at each level. This blog post examines each level and how teachers can support, recognise and foster global collaboration though these taxonomies.

Within Level 1, developing intra-connections within your own classroom can be as simple as having students working in partners within close proximity to edit a class wiki or a collaborative document together. Gradually, greater physical distance is placed between the working partners. Soon, students begin to work across the room from their partners, with limited face-to-face interaction. This can be a very powerful way of experiencing the challenges that can come up when you are not longer working side by side with your partner, effectively mimicking a fully developed global project where participants work together across many miles.

As one moves up the Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds pyramid, students begin to communicate through digital connections. Within Level 2, inter-connections are developed between other classes within a school or within the school district. This distance provides powerful teaching opportunities through the use of synchronous, (skype, video conferences, live meetings or chats), and asynchronous tools, (wikis, blogs, podcasts, e-mail, posting to websites, etc.). This level can provide greater opportunities for authentic discussions involving collaboration, digital footprints and citizenship.

Level 3 provides schools with the opportunity to join programs which have already been developed, such as The Lucky Ladybug Project, Shoeless and Bark, and the Life ‘Round Here digital storytelling project, and is a “managed global connection”. Since these programs often have a predetermined outcome, often downloadable materials and prescribed lesson plans are provided. This level moves students out of the ‘inner circle” into communicating with others at a variety of distances.

The student to student connections which are “teacher managed” in Level 4 is the beginning of authentic student global connections. Julie and Vicki describe this as a “jigsaw” of activities. Students may have their own learning goals and, once students have completed their individual pieces of the “research” puzzle, they come together to share their learning with classmates. As the title suggests, the teacher is the project leader. It is their job to facilitate and direct the learning path of the project. The presentations that often go along with this type of project create powerful learning experiences for both the presenters and the audience members.

At the top of the Global Connection pyramid is Level 5: student to student connections where the classroom walls have been completely flattened, students manage the project and the teacher is on the sidelines offering encouragement and coaching as the project grows. It is this level of project which, according to Julie and Vicki, best prepares our students for “the participatory, collaborative environment in today’s work environment and will provide students with real world marketable, beneficial online leadership skills”.

The BEST place to begin a global connection project is by thinking about your learning objectives and desired outcomes, as well as the age of the students you are working with. If you have never ventured into this exciting learning territory before and are worried about the best way to test the waters, it is often easiest to start by joining a project which has already been developed. Believe me, once you try it you will NEVER look back!

What do you think?

1. How do you scaffold global learning from class to world?
2. Is there a ‘progression’ of global collaboration?
3. How does global learning/collaboration differ between younger and older learners?
4. How do you ensure that students have the skills and understanding necessary to participate in a global collaboration project?
5. Which tools do you find most useful for global collaboration?
6. How do you embed global learning in a school’s culture?
7a. Is it important that all students contribute in a project?
7b. If so, how do you ensure this?
8. What are some of the key ingredients of successful global collaboration?
9. What are some of your global collaboration successes?

Please join us for our September chat.  The sharing and learning that comes from these discussions enriches our practice and the learning experiences of our students!
Check below for the time that best fits with your time zone:

Schedule

Saturday, September 15 – USA, Europe, Africa (17:00 – 18:00 GMT)

  • New York: 1PM (13:00), London: 6PM (18:00), Cape Town: 7PM (19:00), Bucharest: 8PM (20:00)
  • Or click here to find out when this chat runs in your time zone.

Sunday, September 16 – Asia / Europe ( 9:00 – 10:00 GMT)

  • London: 10AM (10:00), Singapore: 5PM (17:00), Tokyo: 6PM (18:00), Sydney: 7PM (19:00), Wellington: 9PM (21:00)
  • Or click here to find out when this chat runs in your time zone.

Monday / Tuesday September 17/18 (22:00 – 23:00 GMT)

  • MONDAY New York: 6PM (18:00), London: 11PM (23:00)
  • TUESDAY Hong Kong: 6AM (06:00), Sydney: 8AM (08:00), Auckland: 10AM (10:00)
  • OR click here to find out when this chat runs in your time zone.
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8 thoughts on “What is Global Taxonomy? (September #globalclassroom Chats)

  1. […] As you start thinking about collaborative projects, start small and work to more complex collaborative tasks as you and your students become comfortable with the process.  In their book, Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, Lindsay and Davis describe a Taxonomy of Global Connection with five levels of progressing collaboration (54-56).  Each level represents more complex tasks and student independence.  I’ve listed the levels below and details on each level can be found here. […]

  2. […] As you start thinking about collaborative projects, start small and work to more complex collaborative tasks as you and your students become comfortable with the process.  In their book, Flattening Classrooms, Engaging Minds, Lindsay and Davis describe a Taxonomy of Global Connection with five levels of progressing collaboration (54-56).  Each level represents more complex tasks and student independence.  I’ve listed the levels below and details on each level can be found here. […]

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