Trying to find math inside everything else

Today was the second, main day of the PGL conference. There was a lot going on, a non-stop day of events. Let me try to break it down.

Curriculum Development for Global CompetenceHeidi Hayes Jacobs
This talk was…agitating. The speaker was sarcastic. She seems to have not adjusted her talk at all for her audience, railing against us for not doing things that we are, in fact, doing at that very conference, such as watching a film about the schools in Finland. She asked the question “Why aren’t students doing TED talks?” when they, in fact, are. It’s what TED Youth Day is all about, and we had a session about it in the ISSN conference. Her pleas for Web 2.0 tools often seemed superficial in their application (Wordle), and she seemed to have a point of view that tech was better just because it was tech. (Later in the day I had a conversation with my co-worker about how an abacus would be a great tool for improving place value numeracy.) The Clearinghouse at Curriculum 21 does seem like a great resource, though.

What’s Global in the Common Core Standards?
A good question that wasn’t really answered. This session seemed to be about how they are answering that question, but not really working on it ourselves or providing an answer.

Light-Speed Technology for the Global ClassroomAlan November
Excellent talk. While perhaps not as mind-blowing as Andreas Schleicher, I felt like Alan really had an idea of the complexity of not just using technology but knowing how to use it. He informed a lot of people of the dangers of things like the Google/Facebook filter bubble and had some lessons on how to really circumvent it. It’s important that our students learn, and thus we learn ourselves first, how to search more specifically. (His example, in trying to find how UK schools teach the American Revolution, was to focus the search only on .uk sites, specifically their version of .edu, which I forget at the moment.) Our students also need to know how to check the veracity of a site (the example of martinlutherking.org was given, but searching for academic .edu sites that link to it reveals its insidiousness). His talk also really had a much more global focus, and how we can find those different perspectives online if we know how to look.

Game Design and Gaming for Students
Great session, I came away with a lot of resources, contacts, and ideas. I think I’ll have a whole future post on gaming in the classroom, so I won’t elucidate too much. But I hadn’t really considered game design as an educational tool. Think about it, though: when you think about game design, you don’t need to just know the rules of a game, you need to know WHY those rules are the way they are. A much deeper understanding.

Teaching about the UN: Model United Nations as a Tool for Global Learning
This session was run by students and they were all really impressive. We ran through a practice MUN session ourselves, I got to ask them about how their school runs it, and I got really excited for the possibilities of our embassies in our school this year.

Tme to collapse now, one day left!

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