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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

How is My Classroom Becoming "Glocalized"?

Glocal.
      It kind of rolls off the tongue, don't you think? It's an easy connection of two words -- local and global. The word reflects a new kind of localization and an equally new sort of globalization.
I first heard the word a few years ago at a church here in Texas that used "glocal" to describe its view of understanding how its ministries related to an ever-growing variety of cultures in our city.
     The essence of the term, "glocalization" was first used by British sociologist Roland Robertson. He credits the Japanese word "dochakuka" for his ideas, and defines the term as "the simultaniety -- the co-presence -- of both universalizing and particularizing tendancies." (According to a post by the National Association of Independent Schools)

     Then, last year I realized I was growing more and more passionate about providing my students with opportunities to connect with students and campuses around the country and around the world. 

The concerns I had for local priorities were quickly becoming joined 
with a desire for my students to enlarge their world beyond the borders of our own country and beyond the walls of my classroom in Arlington, Texas.
     For me, it began with Twitter. A simple post was picked up and quoted by an educator in Kathmandu, Nepal. I'm not sure you can get any further away from Texas than Kathmandu. (At more than 8,000 miles, it is almost a third of the way around the world from our classroom!) That incident kick-started a friendship between Sunny Thakral and resulted in a Google Hangout classroom connection between our two groups of students. (Not easily accomplished with 12 time zones between us.)
     My students loved the experience and so did I. Some of them still maintain long-distance Instagram relationships with their friends at the British School in Kathmandu. Sunny and I "see" each other often in a variety of Twitter chats, though we've never met face to face. We know have several mutual friends in several countries.

     In the past year, I have participated in several international experiences as an educator.
My classroom has gotten involved as well. 
  • My students are participating in this year's 24-hour edcamp Global Classroom 2016, with 7 of my students facilitating international sessions on topics that include social media in the classroom, cyberbullying, gamification, and copyright law. 
  • We have hosted several "mystery Skype" and Google Hangout speakers from other countries and,
  • We are presently planning a global connections week emphasis focusing on social entrepreneurship that will feature guests from Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, as well as the United States.
     All of this has served to enhance our local objective of teaching honors computer information applications by providing a much broader context for the business principles and technology we are learning. My students are better locally by becoming more aware globally. We are "glocalizing" in the best sense of the word.
     I'm not certain where it is all going to me as an educator, but I do know this. I have this crazy notion that one day, my students from Texas, along with students from a few other countries will meet up in the same Google Classroom and begin learning technology applications together. It may only be a two-week mini-mester or some such, but I will share the teaching responsibilities with those students' teachers and we will all learn together. Now, that's what I call going "glocal".
     


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