Global Activity
Holistic Thinking Definition

A demonstrated awareness of the importance of both a whole system and the interdependence of its parts, including the cultural and economic interdependence of many societies in the globalized environment; also a demonstrated ability to understand phenomena from multiple, equally valid perspectives.

There are two ways to examine holistic thinking:

  1. The student’s perspective is internal (i.e., the student is part of the system in question)
  2. The student’s perspective is external (i.e., the student is not part of the system in question)

 

Cross-Cultural Communications Definition

An awareness that specific cultural and/or social and/or linguistic and/or economic and/or historical and/or gender-based differences matter in cross-cultural interaction, demonstrated through appropriately shaping one’s discourse with individuals of different backgrounds from one’s own.

Technology Guide
Introduction

Blogs

Google Applications

Wikis 

Introduction

What is the purpose of using Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, Google applications and wikis for education?
 
Students entering the global workforce require holistic thinking and cross-cultural communication skills (SUNY Levin Institute, 2011).  To effectively communicate with other cultures, students require a technology platform that crosses the economic and geographic divide.  Free Web 2.0 tools provide the bridge for facilitating collaboration between students in the United States and students in other areas of the world (Asia Society, 2011).  By sharing work online, peers across the globe can access and modify materials to create diverse learning environments.  Peter (2010) claims “the growth of technology” is not a “limiter in the educational process, but an opportunity to grow, to engage, to reflect, to think, to problem solve and to heighten and refine collaborative and communication skills.”
 
What are collaborative learning tools? How is coursework shared online?
 
Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, Google applications and wikis are collaborative by design.  Numerous students can enter comments, contribute learning materials and update existing content simultaneously on a shared web platform. Online internet accounts are used to access the software. The software is accessible twenty four hours a day and is impervious to time zone changes. The internet software is also available to a wide range of devices such as laptops, net-books and smartphones.
 
What are other advantages of using online tools?
 
As evident in the newspaper and publishing industries, journalists and authors are distributing content using new online mediums such as blogs, wikis, websites and e-books.  By incorporating online tools inside or outside the classroom, students are able to experience internet publishing first-hand.  Internet publishing is conducive to multimedia and builds students’ digital literacy skills. Jones-Kavalier and Flannigan (2006) state “literacy includes the ability to read and interpret media (text, sound, images), to reproduce data and images through digital manipulation, and to evaluate and apply new knowledge gained from digital environments.”
 
With online tools, students can incorporate text, images, charts, maps and videos to support and strengthen their assertions.  This provides a structure for improved communication by permitting students to share ideas in multiple formats.  For more information about using technology to enhance global skills and learning, read the Asia Society article at the following link – Use Technology to Develop Global Competence.
 
 
Reference List
 
 Asia Society (2011) Use Technology to Develop Global Competence Retrieved May 31, 2011 from http://asiasociety.org/education-learning/resources-schools/professional-learning/use-technology-develop-global-competence
 
Jones-Kavalier, B. and Flannigan, S. (2006) Connecting the Digital Dots: Literacy of the 21st Century Retrieved May 26, 2011 from http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolum/ConnectingtheDigitalDotsLitera/157395
 
Peter, D. (2010) Strategic Thoughts About Technology Retrieved May 26, 2011 from http://quality-instruction.blogspot.com/search?q=collaborative
 
SUNY Levin Institute (2011) Global Workforce Project Retrieved May 26, 2011 from http://www.levininstitute.org/academics/globalworkforce.cfm
 

Blogs
Introduction

Blogs

Google Applications

Wikis

 

Blogs are online journals and contain an area for instructors or student to post information and add comments. Information on a blog is entered sequentially and older posts are maintained chronologically as new information is added. Numerous vendors supply blogging software. Two free blogging platforms are WordPress (www.wordpress.com) and Blogger (www.blogger.com). Blogger is a Google product and requires a g-mail account (Google e-mail) to access the software. WordPress is a multifaceted product and supports blogs designed for educators called “edublogs“.

Blogs are used by educators at colleges and universities for various reasons. Blogs are suitable for posting written work (Educause, 2005), class discussions and digital research (Mclurken & Meloni, 2010). Stanford University established a cross-cultural blog to post student discussions and assignments about intercultural issues. Blogs are also used for reflective exercises (Dunlap & Stevens).

Once an assignment is published on a blog, other students and/or the instructor(s) are able view the content and post feedback using the comment option. For more ideas about using blogs for educational purposes, open the University of Colorado handbook or read 7 Things You Should Know About Blogs.

Google Applications
Introduction

Blogs

Google Applications

Wikis

Google applications are free products available to Google e-mail (g-mail) users. Using g-mail, individuals are able to access collaborative word processing software using a feature called “documents” or “Google Docs”.Google documents are designed for creating presentations and spreadsheets as well. 

Another application, “Google Sites” is available to create individual web pages and collaborative websites.

Google Docs and Google Sites provide an online shared space for “peer review”, communication, written assignments, and cultivate a “collaborative teaching and learning environment” (Educause 2008). Educators are combining Google documents and Google Sites to develop online writing portfolios (Cavender, 2012). Student essays or research papers are transformed by placing the associated text onto Google Site web pages.

Google applications are set to “private” or are shared as “public” on the web by changing the default settings.

Public applications are accessed using a link (URL address) and are usually updated by numerous editors. Each person with edit authority is able to modify the associated document, spreadsheet or presentation. Students are able to insert these items onto web pages using Google Sites. Multimedia such as pictures, You Tube videos and maps are also inserted onto the web pages. Using a web browser and a link, Google websites are visible to class members or outside participants for review. This is ideal for team projects and presentations. To learn more about Google Applications, visit 7 Things You Should Know About Google Apps.
 

 

 

Wikis
Introduction

Blogs

Google Applications

Wikis

Wikis are collaborative tools and are similar to websites.  Wikisare accessed on the web so internet users can view or edit content such as text, images, videos or discussion questions.  In some wiki products, owners are able to track and record all additions on a separate history page (Wikispaces, 2010).  According to Parker and Chao (2007), “a wiki is a web communication and collaboration tool that can be used to engage students in learning with others within a collaborative environment”. Wikis are excellent tools for online group projects and display numerous pages within one wiki site.  Therefore, individual class members, teams or outside participants are potential collaborators on a single wiki site.  Each participant is able to change an assigned wiki page or pages.  As a result, “A geographically dispersed project team can use a wiki as a way of keeping in touch, sharing ideas and developing the project” (Parker & Chao, 2007).  To visit a collaborative online project and view participant information, access the award winning wiki, Greetings from around the world.
 
Numerous products are available to create wikis.  A product called Wikispaces is used by institutions such as Columbia University, William & Mary, Georgetown and Arizona State University.  To learn how to create a wiki, see the Wikispaces video.

To read more about wikis in education, visit Wikis as a Teaching Tool by Parker and Chao (2007) or Wide open spaces: Wikis, ready or not by Lamb (2004).