Global Classrooms
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 01:00PM

It's a bit 20th-century of me to admit, but I've never been interested in maintaining a Blog. Instead, in this journal I simply post reflections for others to comment upon as they see fit. Although I believe the dynamic interaction between "author" and "reviewer" that is often seen on Blogs is a powerful form of exchange that can lead to very useful insights, I do not think it is for me to pursue as a regular activity. That said, I believe teachers, however, should think about every student they teach maintaining a Blog as the simplest path to regular, dynamic, productive literary exchange among their students.

And so that's what this Journal is about: best practice in the classroom, the future of teaching, the future of the humanities, the life of the mind, and reflections on a life of learning.

Many of you know that I have seen quite a few schools in my day. The last school I visited was number 1,122. No school is a number, despite the dehumanizing practice no school should be referred to by number, and no school can be reduced to mere numbers alone, but it is terribly important to know your numbers - and I know the number of schools I've visited across a career of seeing some of the finest in the world.

To date the very best school I've seen was number 989. The nine hundred and eighty ninth school I ever visited was the The Priory Academy LSST in the United Kingdom. I'll let you explore for yourself the virtual tours and other materials available online to get a flavor for what makes this school so extraordinary, but better than any other school I've seen, The Priory understands the 21st-century concept of the Global Classroom.

The Global Classroom is a place where children learn their place in the world. The Global Classroom is the first place a child learns to be a global citizen. It is a liberating, happy, and fun place to be, but it is also downright challenging—full of very real and difficult work—it is competitive, polyglot, connected to the outside world, disciplined, structured, and well organized, but most of all it is shaped by the very specific learning tasks that need to be achieved each day and humble before the immensity of the knowledge it wants access to. 

This is not a hazy utopian vision, this is the task that teachers face who want their students to be globally competitive in today's world. Children need to be able to work well with each other to produce original work that addresses new and difficult problems. They need to learn to work well in dynamic settings and with their peers in other parts of the world. Done well, this last exercise will not only teach children to address even more technically difficult issues across cultural boundaries, they will learn for themselves how to face potentially complex social problems across all kinds of actual human barriers.

Again, as many of you know, this last item is for me one of the great promises of digital learning. Sure, we need to harness the immense power of computer-adaptive assessment technology to deliver in real time appropriate curricular content in new and creative ways, but more exciting is the less high-tech, more high-human possibility that we use all the social, mobile, and other telecommunications technology available to us to connect our children to each other and, in a very 20th-century fashion, watch them solve problems we haven't yet ourselves identified.

To help inform your imagination, just look at the first few seconds of the Microsoft video below. What do you need to start your own Global Classroom? I'll be sharing with you soon real file footage from classrooms we all can learn from. Globally connected hybrid classrooms are a thing of today. Let's all work to make them a reality for as many children as we know. SCC.


Article originally appeared on Samuel Casey Carter (
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