Breakout Session

Contemporary Issues through Videoconferencing (CITVC): Preparing Students for Participation in Democracy and Global Citizenship

Track Designation:  Learning & Teaching Innovations

Presentation Abstract:
Through a vital global perspective, CITVC allows students to gain skills necessary for productive problem solving and decision-making. The refinement of these skills is aimed at preparing students to become effective and responsible contributors at the individual, community, state, national, and international levels.

PRESENTER BIO:           

Matthew Conforth           
Matthew Conforth has over 40 years experience as a K-12 teacher, school technology coordinator and administrator. For the past decade, Matthew has served as the Director of Educational Technology at Passaic Valley Regional High School in Little Falls, NJ. Matthew is Co Chair of the NJEDge.net K20 Initiative and has served on many local, state, and national technology committees and focus groups, and has presented at technology conferences all around the country. Matthew has received many awards for his teaching, innovative programs and contributions to the integration of technology. These include the Governor’s Teacher Recognition Award, the 2002 Technologist of the Year Award, two NJSBA School Leader Awards, the NJ ELite Exemplary Partnership Award, the MAGNA Award, and the William A. Cuff Award which honors intellectual curiosity, forward thinking, and a commitment to excellence.

 

CO PRESENTER BIO:           

Gregg Festa
Gregg Festa is a veteran K-12 teacher, school technology coordinator and instructional media designer who founded and now directs The ADP Center for Teacher Preparation and Learning Technologies at Montclair State University. Gregg has presented and published widely on a variety of issues related to teaching, learning and technology and has recently been quoted in several publications including Edutopia, where Montclair State University’s Teacher Education Program was rated one of the ten best in the nation for it’s innovative use of technology to support the simultaneous renewal of practicing teachers, teacher educators and teacher education students. Gregg, the 2007 NJ Technologist of the Year, is nationally recognized for his work in designing “Classrooms for the Future”, creating and coordinating the Verizon funded Digital Backpacks program for K-12 educators and founding the federally supported Silk City Media Workshop, a pioneering after-school program that engages inner city kids in the process of using digital media as a tool to express themselves and share their work globally.

Presentation Content:
Participants in this session will learn how 21st Century technology applications like videoconferencing; interactive virtual field trips, forums and social networking promote dialogue with students, educators, and experts from around the world. We will also discuss how globalization and the advancements in technology require us, as educators, to reflect on past practices and develop new pedagogies for our changing world.

Summary Statement:
Participants in this session will learn how 21st Century technology applications like videoconferencing; interactive virtual field trips, forums and social networking promote dialogue with students, educators, and experts from around the world. We will also discuss how globalization and the advancements in technology require us, as educators, to reflect on past practices and develop new pedagogies for our changing world.

Description of activity, project, or solution:
Over the course of the past 12 years, Passaic Valley has explored various ways of maximizing the use of distance learning technology applications, like videoconferencing, to provide unique and meaningful educational experiences for the students and staff. These programs fell into two basic categories: programs created and offered by content providers, and programs created and developed internally. Some of the most successful of these has been our own 24 hour Around the World Videoconference programs that connect us with a variety of countries across the globe, and Science in Cinema based programs that connect our students with experts from around the world. Some of the most valuable partnerships we have made with content providers include NJEDge.net and MAGPI who provide us with both content and technical support, and Global Education Motivators, and Global Nomads who provide us with projects based on United Nation Initiatives and current global issues

As a result of the continuing success of these program offerings, we decided to create a course at Passaic Valley that we hoped would maximize the positive results we were witnessing in the development of the programs and the global experience and maturity level of the students who were participating in these activities. The creation of the course would also provide us with more flexibility and consistency in ensuring the attendance and motivation of students in the class. With Current Events as the overriding theme, we also envisioned transferring more ownership of the course to the participating students thus developing the skills necessary for taking responsibility for their own learning.

-To enhance student awareness of the interrelationship of the various cultures of the world

-To encourage and foster student-to-student exchange and increase opportunities for both students and teachers to experience activities focused on global awareness

-To use technology for direct access to sources of information that are continually changing in order to expand the walls of our school and library

-To become effective and responsible contributors to problem-solving and to decision-making processes at individual, community, national, and international levels

-To bring youth face-to-face to meet and to discuss world issues that affect and unite us all

-To learn about the historical background of all countries involved            -To aid students in exhibiting reflective attitudes toward their personal values, the values of others, and the cultural values evident in their own and other societies

-To provide students with information technology skills that students will need to be successful in their education and careers

-To develop and apply skills related to acquiring, organizing, evaluating, and using information technology as a communication tool

-To increase opportunities for both students and teachers to experience activities focused upon national and global awareness

-To encourage students to embrace their global citizenship by becoming knowledgeable and pro-active

-To raise tolerance of different value systems and cultures

Importance or Relevance to Other Institutions:
It is important to remember that the United States is such a dominant force in the world that most of our students tend to lose sight of how we appear in the eyes of the global population. News and other media also provide a distinct bias in how we see ourselves and how we are portrayed. If we are ever going to change that view, it must be through the education of our youth. Our students need to learn not just what is happening in the world, but why. More importantly this must be understood from a global, cross-cultural perspective. Our students must also gain experience in how to work cooperatively with citizens of other nations to solve world problems and to achieve world peace. Through these international projects our students are given that opportunity to truly examine who we are from a global perspective. As the students interact they gain an awareness and understanding of their counterpart’s perspective on the issues. They are also able to further share and debate their ideas and views as they seek to find solutions to global problems. Students are then challenged to reexamine their views and form new conclusions.

The advances in communication technology like videoconferencing and the Internet offers this generation a unique opportunity. It is our challenge to learn to understand each other, be aware of each other’s thoughts and feelings, work cooperatively to solve problems, and above all, not repeat the mistakes of those who came before us. Overall, it is our belief that these programs foster international friendships, and a better understanding of our role and responsibilities in an ever-changing world.

 

Invalid rotator ID specified (path No_Rotator_Path_Specified doesn't exist). Unable to display rotator.