MAY 1, 2019

Digital Literacy with Mr. Feimer:

A peek inside the Global Scholars Classroom

We recently visited the classroom of Tim Feimer, Technology Coordinator and Teacher at MS 74 in New York City. He has been teaching Global Scholars since 2016.

Circular pods encourage collaboration, with 5 pods of 6 students each

Circular pods encourage collaboration, with 5 pods of 6 students each

Mr. Feimer’s classroom prioritizes technology and collaboration. Each student faces the center of a circle toward a desktop screen—and 5 other students. At the touch of a button, Mr. Feimer can freeze all computers to call students to attention. When it’s time to collaborate, students have their group ready.

We asked this inspiring teacher to share insights on promoting digital literacy and other global learning outcomes in his classroom, while keeping Global Scholars a favorite class.

As a technology teacher, what benefits do you see in Global Scholars?

I especially appreciate the different opportunities that my students get to experience. From the technology standpoint, we are able to expose them to such different web-based programs as Animaker, Kizoa, Prezi, and Powtoon, to name a few.  This sets Global Scholars students apart from students who use everyday resources like PowerPoint and Word. 

How does the program help you meet your objectives for student learning?

Our schoolwide instructional focus is student engagement.  The projects, group work, and global discussions keep my students fully engaged. The worldviews and collaboration help meet my objectives for my students by having them think about the effects of their actions not only on themselves but on the rest of the world.

I’m one of those people that runs around saying “Save the whales!” and yet I still use 401 gallons of water every day. Wow, I really need to cut down my shower time!
— MS 74 student, "Water Every Day" assignment

Is there a unit or project in this year’s World of Water curriculum that has particularly inspired your students?

I think the biggest impact on my students was Unit 2 – “Water Every Day” and the water use spreadsheet. Realizing how much water they use in the shower as well as in what they eat was eye-opening. Many parents have told me the students are not only cutting back on their own showers but timing other family members as well.

Any breakthrough moments?

Global Scholars discussion boards and web-based assignments offer students multiple ways to express themselves

Global Scholars discussion boards and web-based assignments offer students multiple ways to express themselves

The “aha” moment for my students has to be the cultural and social understanding of other students from around the world—realizing that not everyone in the other cities has access to clean drinking water from their faucet. Not everyone can turn on a faucet and get a drink of water, wash their hands, or take a shower.

How have your students brought their digital literacy skills to other classes?

Exposing my students to different ways to express themselves (Animaker, Powtoon, etc.) gives them the chance to stand out.  Global Scholars also gives them a worldlier perception and the ability to see things from different points of view.

What’s unique about your Global Scholars classroom?

Perspective is the word I would use to describe the uniqueness of Global Scholars. Students get a unique perspective of the world from other students and that really sinks in. Students tell it like it is no matter how tough it may be.

Cool Classroom Practices

Any final tips and tricks?

Group Work. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of the group work. Having students share with each other and then collaborate on what other students from around the world have discussed is priceless.

Skype. It can be tough because of time zones and school schedules, but Skype with the other students is an amazing experience.  The students get to ask questions and answer questions directly from other students.  It shows them that students from around the world are really just like they are. Nobody likes the cafeteria food!

Digital Literacy is one of 9 student learning outcomes that global digital exchanges like Global Scholars can promote. Find out more about student learning outcomes.