VIRTUAL STUDY ABROAD: USING MULTIMEDIA TO FOSTER GLOBAL CIVIC ENGAGEMENT IN THE CLASSROOM
Our nation's schools are failing to prepare American students for the challenges of a globalized world. Strict standards and an absence of innovative thinking lead to a dismissal of international education and the use of educational technology as potential aids to leaning. However, the combination of these under-used resources can result in a powerful influence on our children's understanding of the skills they will need to operate in an interconnected world and contextualize their nation's global position. The best possible way for a young student to gain both is through a study abroad furlough. However adequate preparation at lower education levels is necessary to encourage children to consider this option. A number of non-profit of organizations have constructed a virtual space for international exchange. The Global Nomads Group, TakingItGlobal.org and IEARN are using visual, audio and written communications between American classrooms and classrooms around the world. Their efforts are easily integrated into course curriculum despite the restrictive testing requirements and limited time teachers have to manage. With proper teacher preparation, these programs serve to exercise rote skills, increase international awareness, motivate students and engage them with modern technologies. The result is an improvement to participating student's global intelligence and global competitiveness. Overall, it is anticipated that the alumni of such programs will not only be more likely to choose to study abroad, but will play a part in the establishment of a greater sense of global solidarity and a global civic culture. It is imperative that our nation's schools consider the implementation of such tools. It is hoped that this work will provide teachers with the information they need to understand why and how to use the programs to equip their students for the challenges of the future.
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Lin, Christopher (Georgetown University, 2012)This paper contributes to the recent literature examining the correlation between Internet usage and civic engagement. While previous studies focused primarily on voting as a proxy for civic engagement, this paper included ...