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Posts Tagged ‘bureau of education and cultural affairs’

Salt Lake skyline

The Salt Lake City skyline as seen from the airport, July 13, 2017.

Here I go on another adventure – I’m heading west, then south, on my way to Jakarta, Indonesia. I’ve been chosen for the Teachers for Global Classrooms (TGC) program sponsored by the U. S. State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. About 75 teachers out of 500 applicants were selected to travel to six countries: Indonesia, Senegal, Morocco, India, Columbia, and the Philippines. It is a teacher exchange program, in that teachers from developing countries are chosen to study English and education theory at colleges in the U.S. for up to one semester or five months, then return to their own schools to act as hosts for two American teachers.

I will be working with Muhammad Nazaruddin, who teaches English at SMA Negeri 1 Mandastana, or Mandastana Public High School # 1. This school is located in southern Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo, near the city of Banjarmasin. I am also working with Craig Hendricks of Indianapolis who teaches six grade STEM classes. We’ll be observing classes, teaching of American culture and STEM related lessons, and conducting a professional development session on technology integration for teachers from throughout southern Borneo. While in Kalimantan, we’ll get to see batik making, visit an actual diamond mine (wohoo!), see an island sanctuary for proboscis monkeys, visit the famous floating markets, and get to know a part of the world I never dreamed I would ever see. Me? This guy from a Podunk town in western Utah get to visit the rain forest and wilds of Borneo? No way! Yet, here I go.

I’ve been preparing for this for over a year now, what with taking an online course, having medical exams, attending a symposium in Washington, D.C., packing and repacking, getting a passport renewal and visa, etc. Yesterday (Wednesday, July 12, 2017) I spent at the gym to work my legs out, as they tend to swell up when I travel. I took Jonathan and William to swimming lessons, got some brochures from the Utah Valley Visitors Bureau down at the convention center to give to students in Mandastana, bought last minute supplies, packed, cooked baked ziti for supper and egg/sausage muffins for breakfast, watched the Season 10 premiere of Smallville with Becca, sent the receipts for the STEM Action Center grant, charged up all my devices, got the Kindle up and running, gassed up the car, dropped off The Year of Living Dangerously  and an Indonesia travel video at the library, and prepared in every way I could think of. I am as ready for this as I can be.

I got to bed at 2:30 and had to get up this morning at 4:15 to make my flight. We got the boys up and into the car in their pajamas and left home at 5:30. Becca drove me to the airport as a pink to orange sunrise lightened over the Wasatch Mountains. She dropped me off at United Airlines at Terminal 1. I waited through the lines and got my bags checked and my boarding passes. Security was busy but fast, although they had to pat me down and look over my laptop thoroughly. Given the recent ban on laptops coming in to the Unites States, I’m relieved that I made it through so easily.

I arrived at Gate B9 with an hour to spare before boarding, so I worked on cleaning up photos of our recent trip to Four Corners for my presentation in Borneo, until I realized that I was late boarding the plane – but they hadn’t started to board yet. So I looked at the status board above the gate counter and it said the flight was delayed for “air traffic control” issues in San Francisco. It was supposed to depart at 8:15 but was delayed until 9:38. I had a three-hour layover so I was still good. I went back to cleaning up photos. Then I saw that the board now read that our departure would be at 10:05. I asked the gate agent if there would be a problem and she said I should still be fine, because the international terminal was “just around the corner” from our incoming gate, and I’ll have about 45 minutes to reach my flight to Narita, Japan, before it departs. She said they would look after me, but this is United Airlines and I’ve had problems with them before (I will eventually post about my trip to Omaha). I would have chosen a different airline, perhaps Singapore Air, to take me to Jakarta. But since this is a U. S. State Department program, we have to fly under the regulations of the Fly America Act and use an American carrier.

Boarding flight from SLC

Boarding our flight to San Francisco.

At about 9:00 it was announced that we had a window of opportunity to reach SFO through a lull in air control, so we quickly boarded the plane and got our seats for a 9:25 departure. I’m all for seizing an opportunity when we get it. We taxied out and took off, and I hoped to myself this would be the only glitch in my journey. If only. Little did I know that worse was yet to come.

I sat by Stan Jensen from Castledale. He’s traveling to the Bay Area to see his grandson in a baseball tournament. He knows Duane Merrill well – they even coached little league baseball together. This world keeps getting smaller. While boarding the plane, I spoke with two different families who were Chinese and was surprised that my Mandarin was understandable at all. One family was from the mainland and heading back to BeiJing. The other was from Taipei in Taiwan who now live and work in America. They are on a vacation to ShangHai. Things have changed in the 36 years since I lived in southern Taiwan, when there were no relations between the mainland and Taiwan and no one traveled between them. Now relations are almost normalized.

I took some time on the flight to start my notebook/journal from which I have taken these notes. As I thought of the title for this post, it occurred to me that I’ve been fortunate with the opportunities I’ve had as a science teacher. I’ve kept my ears open to hear about these programs, and I’ve been even more fortunate to be selected for quite a few of them. Other opportunities will come, if I can only open up the windows to find them.

When other teachers ask how I’ve managed to do all of these things, I’ve responded, “Because I applied for them.” That seams to be a flippant answer, but what I mean from it is that I’ve looked for opportunities consistently and opened the windows by applying and re-applying if necessary. I’ve made my own fortune, so to speak, and haven’t given up if something is important enough. It took applying four times, once per year, to finally get accepted as the Educator Facilitator for the NASA Explorer Schools program, and so many other opportunities have come because I refused to let that particular window close. Success breeds success, and participating in the TGC program will undoubtedly lead to further opportunities later on. So as I finish the first leg of a grand adventure, I know great things still lie ahead, in Indonesia and beyond, even if I don’t yet know what they will be.

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Global competency with Earth

What does it mean for one to be globally competent?

I received word early in the summer of 2016 that I was accepted into the Teachers for Global Classrooms program created by the U.S. Department of State as part of their Bureau for Education and Cultural Affairs. During the rest of the summer, I filled out and sent in paperwork, got a thorough medical exam with more paperwork, and sent off to get my passport renewed. All of this kept me busy so that I almost forgot there would be a ten-week online course required. I was about to e-mail the program to ask what was going on when I received an e-mail from them that same day asking why I had not yet submitted any assignments; the class had already begun ten days before!

Global competencies matrix

The core concepts, skills, values and attitudes, and behaviors of someone who is globally competent.

It reminds me of the old college anxiety dream. You know the one. Where you discover there’s a class you’ve completely forgotten about. It’s two weeks into the semester, and you’re already behind. You run to campus and you find the class is meeting in some obscure location in the cellar of the most labyrinthine building. You run into class an hour late and only then discover you forgot to get dressed. And everyone is staring at you . . . I still have this dream occasionally and I’ve been out of college for several decades. Only this time, I really was behind. Apparently my e-mail from my former school, which I had used in the application, had been shut off so I wasn’t getting the notices.

Global Competencies diagram

The Four Key Global Competencies: Globally competent students investigate the world, recognize multiple perspectives, communicate ideas, and take action.

Fortunately the program leaders and my teacher, Craig Perrier, were very understanding. I was always a few days behind and posting late, so I didn’t get as many comments and suggestions in the forums as I would have liked, but the assignments were certainly interesting and educational. I finally completed all of the course just before the last deadline. It took about ten hours of work per week during a time when I was already extremely busy trying to set up a new chemistry lab at my new school.

Here are some of the topics we discussed in the class:

  1. Framing Global Education
  2. Perspectives in Global Education
  3. Developing Global Citizenship
  4. Exploring the Global-Local Dynamic
  5. Transforming Global Learning Through Technology
  6. Globalizing Your Standards
  7. Global Education and Competency in Your School
David Black-Twitter summary

As part of the course, we had to learn to use various social media platforms for communicating ideas (the third global competency). I’m not much for using Twitter, as I tend to want to say more than 140 characters worth.

One of the core concepts of the TGC course is that to be globally competent, a person should do four things. They are: (1) investigate the world, (2) recognize multiple perspectives, (3) communicate ideas, and (4) take action locally to solve global problems.

We had weekly webinars with experts; watched TED talks and other videos related to global education and competency; worked on exercises, lesson plans, and unit plans that integrate global education into our own standards; and participated in discussion boards.

Me with global citizen 2

A still from the video we did on global competency and global citizenship.

One of the major components of the course was to learn various types of Web 2.0 and social media technologies that can be useful in teaching global competency and promoting innovation, collaboration, and communication between cultures. Here are links to two of the resources I learned:

Video and animation production tools: I used PowToons to create an introductory animation describing a cosmology research assignment for my astronomy class. Here it is: https://www.powtoon.com/c/bUypsA24f9K/1/m

Me with AAI vision

The Vision of American Academy of Innovation. This is a still frame from my Teachers for Global Classrooms video.

ThingLink: A tool that turns Infographics into interactive experiences. This is my description of where my school is at regarding technology implementation: https://www.thinglink.com/ scene/853070881360969730

Here is a link to other Web 2.0 and social media tools: http://oedb.org/ilibrarian/101-web-20-teaching-tools/

Noah with Killingsworth quote

As part of the TGC video, I interviewed some of my STEAM it Up students on camera before a green screen and had them speak on what global competency meant to them.

Another assignment was to create a video of how my school is integrating global education. I was teaching out of the school’s library at the time because my science lab was being built upstairs, and I hung up a green screen and interviewed my students on why they thought global education was important. They also videotaped me. Unfortunately, I got the lapel microphone a bit too close to my mouth and the audio got distorted. I still need to redo the video with better audio, but if you want to see it, here is the link: https://youtu.be/9FE78JTID9E.

Slide01

Title slide from my presentation at the UCET (Utah Coalition for Educational Technology) conference in March, 2017.

In March 2017 I presented a session at the Utah Coalition for Education Technology (UCET) conference and shared some of the things I learned from my Teachers for Global Classrooms course, including what global education is and four technologies that can help in teaching the four competencies. I used Indonesia as my example of another culture and described my upcoming travel experience.

To Investigate the World, I shared a new resource by the U. S. Geological Survey called EarthExplorer. Here is the link: https://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/. It acts as a one-stop shopping center for digital elevation models and includes worldwide DEMs in various formats and even Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) data. All you have to do is type in the name or coordinates of the area you want to download and it will list the target. Click on the correct item from the list (if there is more than one) and it will move the Google Map pointer to the correct spot. You then choose the data set(s) to download. I chose the Aster Global DEM. Then click the Results button and it will open up a window with the target grayscale height map, which can be saved (best to rename it as the numbered file name won’t be of much use to you).

Slide09

Using EarthExplorer from the U.S. Geological Survey, I downloaded digital elevation models as grayscale height maps, which I then modeled into terrains in Daz3C Bryce. Here I am showing (clockwise from upper left) Mt. Toba, Gunung Merapi, most of Bali, and the Wasatch Front of Utah. I live close to the mouth of the large canyon (Provo Canyon) emptying the Wasatch Plateau in the middle of the image.

I tried this out for various volcanoes in Indonesia, including Gugung Merapi near Yogyakarta, Gunung Tambora (the one that blew up in 1815 and caused the Year Without a Summer), Anak Krakatau (the Child of Krakatoa), and Lake Toba, which caused a six-year volcanic winter that almost wiped out the human race 74,000 years ago. Once I have the grayscale height maps, I can easily load them into my 3D modeling software (in this case Daz3D Bryce) and add textures, etc.

For Recognize Perspectives, I discussed creating Infographics and turning them into ThingLinks. I also talked about looking up English translations of newspapers from around the world to get another culture’s perspective on world events. Here is a good site to visit: http://www.world-newspapers.com/

For Communicate Ideas, I showed PowToons as a technology for easily creating videos that’s much more fun to use than Adobe Powerpoint or Google Slides.

Take Action

My slide for Competency 4: Taking Action. I propose to collaborate with my host school in Indonesia to collect and compare weather patterns.

For Take Action, I spoke of collaborating between schools to gather global weather data (see: http://worldweather.wmo .int/en/home.html) or take astronometrical readings.

At the end of my presentation, I included links to several other programs that promote teacher travel for global education. I am including a PDF of my presentation here:

Global Education-Digital Tech-s

You can go to the final slide and link to the programs yourself. But be warned: I plan to apply for several of them myself in the next two years.

Slide15

Links to other programs that promote teacher travel and global education.

The presentation went well, with about 12 people in attendance. I encouraged them to apply for the TGC program, which had a deadline of the following Monday. I hope some of them do. It has already been a valuable program for me just from what I have learned from the online class. Of course, what I will learn in Indonesia will go much further.

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