New Reports Look at The Future of International Digital Learning, K-12

PRESS RELEASE

February 28, 2017, New York – A new generation of online exchange programs such as Global Scholars is connecting students across borders and cultures and offering global experiences to students who would not have this opportunity without advances in modern technology. Two reports published today explore the value of these international digital exchanges in developing students’ global knowledge, tolerance of diversity, cultural understanding and respect for different perspectives. Broadly-inclusive global learning is of particular relevance as xenophobic trends grow, world problems become increasingly interconnected and complex, and cities are challenged by the needs of diverse populations.

The Future of International Digital Learning, K-12 by Marjorie B. Tiven draws on expert testimony at the May 2016 Global Cities Symposium, the first gathering of its kind to explore the practice and promise of international digital exchange. The companion piece, Top Ten Questions to Ask About Global Digital Exchange, offers education leaders a decision-making tool. The Symposium convened civic leaders, academics and officials from 20 large U.S. school districts, as well as Barcelona, London and Warsaw. Both the Symposium and the reports reflect the frontline experience of Global Cities, Inc., a program of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which operates the digital exchange Global Scholars. The program connects more than 10,500 students ages 10-13 on five continents through secure e-classrooms and a shared curriculum that promotes global learning as well as digital proficiency, critical thinking, and communication skills.

“When we give students positive experiences with students from other countries, we not only enhance their educational journeys, we lay the foundation for a more peaceful world,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, 108th Mayor of the City of New York, speaking at the May Symposium.

Harvard Professor of Education Fernando Reimers, a keynoter at the Symposium, said: “A global education must be part of every child’s education. The Global Cities Symposium reports will be invaluable to all those who are working to educate citizens of tomorrow.”

“It is a question of equity,” said LaVerne Srinivasan, Vice President of the National Program and Director of the Education Program at Carnegie Corporation of New York. “Technology has made it possible for everyone to experience different cultures and perspectives, not just those students who can afford to travel or study abroad. These clear and timely reports can help educators find the program that fits their needs best, to the great benefit of both students and teachers.”

The Future of International Digital Learning, K-12 presents a framework that can help educators make the most of international digital exchange programs. Key questions addressed include: What characterizes an effective exchange? What is known about how these programs impact student learning and broad curricula goals? How can educators help students communicate in a global forum, consider new perspectives, and other skills of global competency? What practical advice comes from school districts that have piloted digital exchanges? The companion report, Top Ten Questions to Ask About Global Digital Exchange, equips educators to assess global education products and services.

The City of New York is among the 46 cities currently participating in Global Scholars e-classrooms, with students at 14 NYC Department of Education middle schools. NYC Department of Education Deputy Chancellor Phil Weinberg said, “Global Scholars provides our students with an innovative approach to teaching and learning, turning classroom experiences into global experiences as they tackle relevant problems with peers from across the globe. This prepares young people to contribute to the city and the world as critical thinkers, problem solvers, and collaborators.”

In Barcelona, where 32 schools participate in Global Scholars, the Catalan Regional Ministry of Education has set the program as one of the region’s priorities. “Global Scholars helps students use English in a formal and subtle way,” said Mònica Pereña, Deputy Director General of Language and Multilingualism. “In the digital classroom, students have to find strategies to understand the same thing said in different ways—and they learn that what they are doing in their city may be done differently in other cities.”

In addition to Mayor Bloomberg, civic leaders attending the Symposium included Michael A. Nutter, 98th mayor of Philadelphia, who reflected on the critical importance of educating students to interact thoughtfully with the world beyond their classrooms. Also participating in the Symposium were directors of the international digital exchanges Kizuna Across Cultures, Out of Eden Learn, and Reach the World.

The full reports are posted both on the Bloomberg Philanthropies website: http://bit.ly/2ktt1Gg and on the Global Cities website: www.globalcities.org.


Global Cities, Inc. Convenes Representatives from Over 20 U.S. School Districts & Educators from Europe to Promote Early Global Digital Education

PRESS RELEASE

Notable speakers included Mayors Michael R. Bloomberg and Michael A. Nutter as well as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational & Cultural Affairs, Evan Ryan

May 12, 2016  New York  – Twenty-five U.S. school districts from 16 states participated in a symposium on global digital education convened by Global Cities, Inc., a program of Bloomberg Philanthropies. More than 20 of the school districts were from the largest school districts in the U.S. including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Las Vegas, Ft. Lauderdale and Houston. In addition, the symposium was attended by educators from Barcelona, London, and Warsaw.

Michael R. Bloomberg, three-term Mayor of New York City and philanthropist addressed the symposium and said, “Combating the ignorance that breeds fear and intolerance begins with young people…and giving students positive experiences with students from other countries doesn’t just enhance their education journeys, it strengthens the fabric of our societies. Every local challenge has a global connection; and in order to be good citizens today, we must be global citizens, too. That’s why programs that bring students from diverse cultures together are so important. And it’s also why technology is so critical to the idea of global citizenship.”

At today’s symposium, held at Bloomberg Philanthropies, educators and global digital experts discussed how to expand American students’ access to international learning opportunities. Participants explored how Internet-based activities and peer to peer exchanges can develop students’ global citizenship. Key to success is motivating students to investigate the world, appreciate cultural differences, and gain digital literacy.

“Global education is the great common ground that drives human progress forward. It is our first line of defense against the growing tide of inequality and prejudice in U.S. cities and around the globe,” said Michael A. Nutter, former Mayor of Philadelphia, in his keynote conversation with Harvard University Professor Fernando M. Reimers. “As the world changes, we must equip the young with skills to work with others who may not share their own worldview in order to collaborate on today’s challenges,” said Professor Reimers.

The symposium presented alternative global digital education models to meet the varied needs of school districts. In addition to the Global Scholars program operated by Global Cities, Inc., school districts heard from Kizuna Across Cultures; Out of Eden Learn, Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education; and Reach the World.

Symposium participants were welcomed by Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan. “Young people who have a chance to experience different perspectives early in life have a better chance at developing the skills, empathy, and cooperative spirit that we need to face the great challenges and possibilities of this changing world,” said Secretary Ryan.

Founder and President of Global Cities, Inc. Marjorie B. Tiven said, “With the rise of intolerance and isolationism around the world, we must educate our children at an early age to engage with each other to solve problems. Technology allows us to easily connect students from distant cities in their classrooms to discover what they have in common and to become truly global citizens.” She served as NYC Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for International Affairs, 2002-2013.

The Global Scholars program connects classes of 10 to 13-year old students in multilateral e-classrooms.  It benefits both teachers and students through its project-based experiential learning model.  Students use an interactive, multimedia online classroom and original curriculum materials to communicate about important global issues with their international peers. Teachers gain year-round professional development and a connection to a worldwide network of educators.

Barcelona news: Escoles globals: alumnes que canvien el món/Global schools: students changing the world  (Diari Ara)


Global Cities, Inc. Launches its Digital Classroom in Barcelona

PRESS RELEASE

November 10, 2015 – Barcelona, Spain – Global Cities, Inc., a program of Bloomberg Philanthropies, recognized Barcelona as a major hub for Global Scholars, its international digital classroom, at an event for educators from the Catalan Regional Ministry of Education. Thanks to their efforts, 762 students in 22 of their schools are enrolled in Global Scholars —16 in Barcelona and two each in Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Global Scholars is a peer-to-peer, technology-based program that fosters knowledge of global issues among the next generation.

Catalonia schools join more than 7,000 students worldwide from 51 cities in 24 countries on six continents in the innovative project-based curriculum that students and educators applaud. Other hub cities include Buenos Aires, Delhi, Istanbul, London, Madrid, Medellín, Mumbai, New York, Taipei, Tel Aviv and Warsaw. The Global Scholars program serves additional cities as far-flung as Accra, Cape Town, Jakarta, Melbourne, Moscow, Prague, São Paulo, St. Petersburg and Tbilisi. This international cohort is matched by an equal number of students from 13 cities in the United States.

Global Scholars reaches students at a critical age in their development – 10 to 13 years old — to expand understanding of the cross-cultural and technological world in which they live. Global Scholars provides educators and students the rare opportunity for international learning with their peers. The shared curriculum makes it possible for students from diverse cultures to have a conversation about an important topic and learn from one another. This year’s topic, Building Better Cities, focuses on environmental sustainability.

Each class is in direct communication with students in 10 to 12 other cities from diverse geographic areas. The program has a strong focus on digital projects with the objective of developing the skills needed in the 21st century workplace. Students create videos, design websites, infographics and other digital presentations. At the end of the year, they develop and implement a community action project to address the global issue they have studied. This unit allows practical application on the local level and introduces students to the idea that they can make a difference.

Barcelona is a multilingual city. The Catalan Regional Ministry of Education identified the Global Scholars program as a way to integrate English language instruction with content in geography, natural sciences, and math.

Secretary of Education Policies Joan Mateo said, “Global Scholars offers our schools an excellent opportunity to participate in an international project that enables debate about topics of global interest. Through this program, teachers and students connect with schools in cities all over the world. The children acquire a wider perspective that will help them develop their critical thinking skills and creativity. Our participation in this program also means an opportunity to consolidate learning a foreign language, as all exchanges with teachers and students from other countries are done in English. Participating in programs like Global Scholars is part of the general strategy of this government so that our students adequately acquire and develop the skills they will need for their academic and professional success.”

The program is popular among educators because it engages students. The head teacher of English at Institut Bisbe Berenguer, Carlos Silva Campanon, said, “The most interesting thing about Global Scholars is reality; real conversation about real challenges. It makes English much more interesting because they communicate with students their own age who are experiencing the same things in other cities. It is a real shift from 10 years ago, bringing reality into the classroom.”

Maialen Prieto, Head of Studies of Institut Bisbe Berenguer, described how Global Scholars is a unique learning experience for the world in which her students live. “Multiculturalism is a fundamental notion in our changing world. People are the same all over the planet, and you can only get to find this out if you are given the chance to check it out in real life.”

Referring to the importance of this program in her own school, Ms. Prieto said, “Taking part in international education projects such as Global Scholars is a central issue for students like ours. Giving them the opportunity to get in touch with students from other countries and cultures is a prospect they would probably never have had otherwise.”

The founder and president of Global Cities, Inc., Marjorie B. Tiven, said, “Without ever leaving their classrooms, Catalan students now work directly with peers in cities around the world. They learn how they see things similarly and, sometimes, differently. They are excited to introduce their own city and eager to learn about the cities of others in their digital classroom. We commend the Catalan Regional Ministry of Education for offering Global Scholars participation in 22 schools. Using technology-based curricula, students are studying global topics, increasing their digital literacy, and connecting with the world.”


Global Cities, Inc. Positioned for Expansion in Warsaw

PRESS RELEASE

May 20, 2015 – Warsaw, Poland – Global Cities Inc., a Program of Bloomberg Philanthropies, is positioned for expansion in Warsaw after its successful launch of Global Scholars, the international e- classroom. A three-school pilot program took place during the 2014-2015 school year with the endorsement of Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz. Officials of Global Cities, Inc. met with principals and teachers from 26 Warsaw schools about offering this digital initiative in additional classrooms. The meeting was hosted by Joanna Gospodarczyk, Director of the Warsaw Bureau of Education, at the Warsaw Centre for Socio-Educational Innovation and Training.

Global Scholars, an innovative education program that encourages communication and global awareness, was developed to address the need for international learning in our increasingly polarized yet interdependent world. Students in 123 classes from 32 cities in 19 countries across six continents are connected through an e-classroom, making it a truly international, peer-to-peer initiative for students ages 10 to 13. The curriculum is designed to recognize multiple perspectives, as well as to emphasize specific technolo- gy skills, English literacy and digital communication.

Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz said, “We are open to participation in innovative and international education programs implemented by Warsaw schools. As a result young Warsaw citizens are given the op- portunity to develop their language and IT skills. Thanks to the cooperation and direct contact with their peers from various countries, they are given the chance to strengthen their attitude of openness and over- come any barriers, including language barriers. Global Scholars is just such a program.”

Global Cities Founder and President Marjorie B. Tiven said, “Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz had the vision to try this initiative in Warsaw and we are thrilled the pilot was successful. The Warsaw Department of Education recognizes that Global Scholars is an international learning opportunity for teachers as well as students. Teachers interact live through scheduled professional development sessions via video conference.”

Joanna Gospodarczyk of the Bureau of Education said, “What is valuable in this program is the broad support for educators. In addition to the opportunity to use teaching materials and methodology, they are provided with the chance to participate in professional development webinars. This means that educators are able to improve their teaching and language skills. Importantly, Global Scholars fits in perfectly with the objectives of the Warsaw Educational Support Program for the years 2013-2020. Warsaw is open to development and innovation initiatives, and that is why we are planning to continue to further promote the project and the ideals behind it.”

The participating schools are: Szkola Podstawowa No 314; Janusz Korczak’s Primary School No 146; and Zespol Szkol No 115, Gimnazjum No 105.


Global Cities, Inc. Expands its Digital Classroom in Madrid

PRESS RELEASE

February 28, 2015 – Madrid, Spain – Global Cities, Inc., a program of Bloomberg Philanthropies, is expanding its Global Scholars initiative in Madrid. Six Madrid schools have successfully piloted the project during the 2014-15 school year. The Regional Ministry of Education is eager to expand this innovative international, peer-to-peer, technology-based program that fosters global awareness amongst the next generation. This week Global Scholars presented its digital classroom and curriculum to 38 primary and secondary public school principals.

Director General for the Betterment of Education Sr. D. Pablo Hispán Iglesias de Ussel said, “We are impressed with Global Scholars’ well-structured program that motivates students to engage with their peers in other countries and exchange ideas about important global issues in English.”

One hundred and twenty-three classes from 32 cities in 19 countries on six continents are enrolled in Global Scholars. These cities are as far-flung as Accra, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Istanbul, London, Jakarta, Manila, Melbourne, Moscow, Prague, São Paulo, St. Petersburg and Tbilisi. In some cities, multiple schools participate, including Madrid, Medellin, New York, Taipei, Tel Aviv, Warsaw and Mumbai. Recent additions include Boston, Cape Town and two cities in Kazakhstan.

Global Scholars uses a digital platform that enables students age 10 to 13 to engage in a conversation in English about an important global topic which is the subject of a shared curriculum. This year the subject is water– its scarcity and conservation. The overall goal is to increase understanding across cultures by providing an interactive experience with students of the same age from other countries. Global Scholars also fosters an international dialogue amongst teachers.

Deputy Director General for Innovation Sra. Dª María Mercedes Marin said, “This program is unique in that it addresses primary school students and truly motivates them to use their English language skills because they are communicating with peers all over the world about subject matter that is important to them. They are very proud to be members of the Global Scholars community and parents are delighted that their children are actively engaged.”

Isabel Luengos, Department Coordinator for Innovation Programmes said, “Students take pride in representing their own city, and begin to think about their role as urban citizens. Their online classmates are from seven or eight other cities, and in addition to working on the curriculum topic, they are learning about each others’ realities.”

Marjorie B. Tiven, President of Global Cities Inc. said, “Six Madrid schools have successfully demonstrated how to teach global awareness education integrated into their own curriculum. Few students of any age have opportunities for international learning. Global Scholars targets a young age group in public schools. In Madrid, I saw how excited the students were to participate.” While in Madrid, Tiven also addressed the 2015 closing ceremony of the Global Classrooms/ Model UN program.