Fair Warning: I get kind of serious in this one…
I picture a world where students collaborate internationally, meeting in a digital forum and using telepresence to create class projects. Pretty cool stuff. But, can there be a deeper incentive to promote this type of blended learning environment? Can a school system that focuses on international pad-pal study-abroad-esque collaboration be the momentum to promote global empathy?
Bear with me. Let's have fun with this thought. And, please, join in the conversation below by adding a comment.
Practical Project with Prezi
Hand students a tablet (i.e. 35$ from Datalink) with broadband connection and a project (i.e. history of World War II). Have students link with other students from other countries to create a Prezi to then bring home to the local school building and present to a local class.
Theory - Debunking the "other"
We all fear the unknown. Ask Daniel Goleman and he'll speak a book to you about it. The unknown equals fear and the lizard brain (coined by Godin) fights or flees from fear.
Sometimes to get over this fear, we just have to meet the other. Soldiers joined the military to find a new group of teammates from all different colors and backgrounds. Students migrate to a college campus and are awash in the eclectic mix of collegians. Anyone who travels experiences culture shock at first, then relaxes after normal gets redefined.
The digital learning environment acts as a bridge to cross social barriers that can otherwise hinder a student from seeing and interacting with another. A class project acts as a force to forget about race, class, religion, or even gender. A class project promotes teamwork that will last longer than the due date.