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The pedagogy strategies in 21st century instruction plus the ubiquitous access to technology make it possible for students to become a part of a global community through the use of several available tools.
The most popular tool from the Internet, as indicated by educational engines such as Edutopia, Envision, and Scholastic, is TeacherTube. A site similar to YouTube, TeacherTube allows students to post videos of themselves in groups explaining the steps to a process, and then sharing these videos with students from around the world.
Similarly, teacher-monitored blogs such as those provided by Google invite students to share ideas and opinions asynchronously by providing a space to update and, in the process, continue to enhance skills such as Spelling, Grammar, and Netiquette as they engage in global collaboration.
The ThinkQuest education foundation offers students a chance to conduct research using student-approved websites. The research can also be shared globally through the net by partnering with schools in different countries. The synchronous communication with other students can be done through iChat, Skype, Yahoo, or through a district-managed Video-Teleconference (VTC).
Global community classrooms are basically groups of students who are led by a teacher who follows the 21st century paradigm. For this reason, the teacher must follow the TPAK model of instruction, which means that the teacher has "Technological, pedagogical, and artistic content knowledge". Once this occurs, there are no limits for a teacher to find the right Web 2.0 tool to satisfy the needs of a globally-oriented classroom. The only hurdles that may occur are
- parental approval of global exposure through the net
- district-wide restrictions as to the use of specific technology
- budget cuts that hinder technology license approvals
- teacher's lack of knowledge on Web 2.0 tools
Therefore, it is a matter of conducting research, bookmarking every website that seems conducive to 21st century instruction, requesting approval for tech usage from the district, ensuring that parents have signed a disclosure agreement for their children to take part of these activities, and teaching netiquette and proper research skills so that students know exactly what to expect during their online experiences.
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