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Learning without Boundaries

LWB first brought this vision to Minnesota through our Wash and Learn Initiative (WALI), where we aim to bridge the digital divide and provide access to educational resources, one laundromat at a time. It’s time to introduce a different kind of learning without boundaries and start a change in practice that will lead to individualized learning for all students.  

Creating learning communities with social media technologies

This research aims to support the use of the opportunities offered by social web technologies to create cross-group learning communities to encourage students and teachers to move beyond the safe comfort of traditional boundaries. Educators from the two schools share their experiences in creating a “borderless learning” environment by using social media technologies to expand learning communities beyond their classrooms. One of our common interests is to use social media technologies not only to create local learning communities, but also to expand these communities beyond our classrooms. 

“Learning Without Borders”

Our common goal was to bring students from both institutions together in learning activities to eliminate boundaries. In this project, learning was a shared experience, not a passive activity. In the third grid, we asked students to reflect on their experiences of participating in this “Learning Without Borders” collaboration. Our students appreciate the opportunity to practice infinite learning and not just read it. 

Different goals are set by teachers and students

Pre-service teachers were able to use Slack as a true live experience and gain a sense of self-efficacy in teachers’ ability to use technology for pre-service instruction, while ELA 9th graders were able to use the same site to learn about “themes” in literature, as well as digital mixes. Two groups have different goals based on interests: elementary teachers want to learn how to teach and achieve self-efficacy, while ninth graders want to learn digital mixing and literary topics, but the third digital space gives them a common headquarters to achieve their goals.  

Using Connected Learning (CL) principles

This collaborative case study looked at the experiences of 30 9th grade English language (ELA) students and 17 pre-service English teachers collaborating in the digital third space on activities designed using Connected Learning (CL) principles. This study, under the theme “Learning Without Borders”, examined student responses to the use of a video discussion tool (Flipgrid) to facilitate cross-group collaboration between classrooms at two universities.

Collaborating in a vibrant virtual learning community

Ursula Valdes designed the same class as a collaborative international learning experience in collaboration with a colleague from Peru, its capital, Lima. Ursula Valdes knew that for a course like this to be successful, she needed students in her class and in Peru to participate in in-depth discussions on environmental issues affecting the two countries. Ursula Valdes teamed up with a colleague from Peru to teach the same class in two countries at the same time, creating a vibrant virtual learning community that encouraged students from all walks of life to work and learn together. 

Co-teaching across international borders

They used Skype to create a separate virtual classroom, allowing students from both countries to make voice calls, chat and text messages, and even conduct live video conferencing over the Internet. Teachers use various communication technologies to attract students from different countries, and teachers from all countries jointly teach and manage courses. Instructors will discuss and practice various ways to increase student engagement in online video lessons.   

Teachers will understand the importance of teachers as facilitators who teach critical thinking skills to students and mediate for students in the external and online world. Teachers will understand the concept of the open classroom and experiment with ways to bring the outside world into the classroom. Teachers will be able to identify the benefits of blended learning for teacher courses.   

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Understanding students through self-reflection

We will try to experience for ourselves what our students experience and gain an understanding of them through self-reflection. Teachers are experts in teaching physical activity in the classroom, walking, making eye contact, communication, face-to-face interaction with students. In this lesson, we will explore methods for engaging students in online learning using the surrounding “distractions”: at home and the Internet.   

Thanks to this and other new tools, teachers and students have access to unlimited knowledge and ideas from around the world. In these virtual rooms, FIU students learn the collaboration skills they may need to communicate with professionals from and around the world. 

An unrestricted learning environment

From a slightly different perspective, students conceptualize the learning space as something that is not limited to the physical classroom, but rather enhanced by connections made over the Internet. Students’ reflections on experience increase their awareness of learning as it occurs centrally in relation to the distributed phenomenon mediated by social technologies. We chose this reading because it fulfilled one of the central objectives of learning that is not limited by geography, culture, time and space.   

Collaborative Online International Learning

This project is one of nearly 100 projects that FIU has been involved with since its first engagement in 2017 with Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), a global technology-led learning approach that began at the State University of New York.

The virtual partnership will allow the high school classroom teacher to integrate the digital project into their regular curriculum as they see fit (and learn to use the new digital tools at their own pace without college audiences) and save the hassle. All the teachers on duty at the local high school in a major metropolitan area known for its traffic jams. We have managed to maintain the asynchronous nature of distance learning while also introducing the social interaction that many are accustomed to in the hyper-connected digital age. 

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