Curious DavidGlobal EducationVirtual European Cultural Immersion Project

Building Bridges Kindergarten through 99+

My mother was a first-grade teacher; my sister taught in high school and college. My father-in-law and brother-in-law were high school principals; my sister-in-law taught in elementary schools. I have a long-standing interest in building and crossing bridges that connect teachers and learners of different ages and from different cultures. I continue to discover and marvel l at internet tools that facilitate “learning without borders.”

While I blogged for a year at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online as “Curious David” one of my most valued colleagues in learning was a middle school teacher (thank you Pamela, for all you taught me). I find considerable value in monitoring the blogs of Richard Byrne, Steve Johnson, Larry Ferlazzo, and of course the ubiquitous Jane Hart.

Recently I have begun investigating the capabilities of epals and edmodo as tools I might use to reduce barriers between learners from different cultures (including academic cultures) and different ages.  The payback has been immediate both in developing of new virtual friends and of being impressed at the amazing kinds of learning experiences our children are being introduced to.  I am becoming quite impressed by the teaching/learning capabilities of learnist.

What bridge-building tools have you discovered that can promote collaborative leaning across cultures—and across ages Kindergarten through 99+?


Curious DavidGlobal EducationVirtual European Cultural Immersion Project

Musings about Virtual European Cultural Immersion Experiences

Sunday I had a wonderful Skype session with my nephew, Andrew Bowman and his family now living in Switzerland. The video was crisp — he was using an IPad mini and I was sitting by my MacBook Pro. The sound was clear and the technological glitches were minor. I still need, however,  a few more practice sessions with some old and new international friends (Thank you, Irma Milevičiūtė, for your patience, kindness, ideas, and assistance as I begin learning through Epals about the wonderful work you do in beautiful Lithuania!).  I still need to master how to record Skype sessions and to practice embedding such conversations into blogging software such as WordPress. I’m also eager to compare Skype with other Skype-like video conferencing tools (e.g. Google plus hangouts and Oovoo).

I’ve rediscovered Curtis J. Bonk’s book The world is open and I am pondering to what degree I want to infuse my courses with global awareness and connections before I retire—or afterwards!

Here are some incipient thoughts I am exploring.  I welcome  YOUR thoughts and reactions—especially those of you living in other countries.

  • I see a need and many opportunities to increase global awareness of my students  through the use of media such as BBC NewsGoogle News, and Newsvine. I was thrilled last week when one of my student research collaborators in the “Pioneering a Virtual European Cultural Immersion Course” project  Phoumany Phouybanhdyt alerted me to some of Carroll University library’s global news resources  she had learned about in  her  World Politics class.
  • I’m very much interested in investigating how I might become a member of (or associated with) Etwinning.  My thanks to student research collaborator Catrina Duncan who first brought this potential resource to my attention and to my new and old European friends Irma Milevičiūtė and Reidar Ommundsen who pointed me in some directions on how to join.
  • I’m debating the value of incorporating Kiva or some such international charity/ service component into the classroom to reinforce global compassion.
  • To what degree should I explore global views of religion, spirituality, and being?
  • How essential (and what degree of mastery is essential ) for our students to learn  non English languages? What should be the role of tools such as Google Translate and  Livemocha?  I am always humbled at the mastery of English of my international friends and embarrassed at my own failure to master the basic elements of their beautiful languages.
  • Does it make sense to incorporate into my courses, where appropriate,  cultural universals such as musiccusine, sports, and literature?   So much to think about, but I enjoy thinking—and I welcome your thoughts in particular about what are ideally the key elements for an international cultural immersion experience. Looking forward to your comments.
Miscellaneous

Reaching Out Internationally

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I’m becoming quite excited about this research project with my S-Team students which involved their creating a “virtual” European cultural immersion experience. So far we have created a Wiki on Wikispaces, built a Ning, and begun to establish international contacts. I’ve discovered, through Epals, tremendous global education resources and made a new Lithuanian friend who has already taught me a lot and reinforced my belief in the kindness of people throughout the world. Tomorrow I try Skyping to Switzerland!

So much to learn—together.

 

 

 

Miscellaneous

Is it time for me to graduate from TypePad to Word Press?

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I’m beginning to find myself handicapped by the limitations of TypePad and motivated to explore the additional “power user” features of Word Press. Thanks to Jane Hart for extending her Ten New Tool Challenge and her blog software comparison activity for nudging me into this transition.

Miscellaneous

Stop the Internet—I want to get off!!!

From time to time I disconnect, disengage, from seemingly always being online. It is easier to so do during the summer, since I opt NOT to teach or commit myself to grant work during that time. As author Naomi S. Baron acknowleges in her thoughtful book Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World, one needs to be alert to the personal, cognitive, and social consequences of “24/7” connectivity.
Is Google making us “stoopid” (sic) or smarter? How can I ever find time to explore, evaluate, improve the 3000+ learning tools which Jane Hart has alerted us to? How can I avoid being pushed off the edge of the “Edgeless University?”—-or should I resist?
I resolve these questions by stepping back, engaging in intense physical activity, reading widely, and consulting the Newf!

 
On the Internet No One Knows that You are a Newfoundland.

Miscellaneous

Preparing for My 64th Semester of Teaching at Carroll…

It was good to  be sitting at my office desk at school today. Spring semester classes don’t begin until Wednesday, and I had an unusually large amount of uninterrupted time to clean the office, organize materials,discard last semester’s uneaten lunch, and think about my three courses. Precious moments of uninterrupted, focused reflection, planning, and action are rare for me once classes begin, because I choose to have an open door policy for students and colleagues.
I’m teaching Introductory Psychology (after a one semester hiatus) for probably close to the 100th time. I taught it as a graduate student at Ohio State and I have taught here at Carroll a number of summers and evenings in addition to almost every semester since February of 1978. Indeed, this coming semester I shall yet again be teaching a daughter of one of my former students. In some ways Introductory Psychology is the most difficult course for me to teach. Most students are not majors, and it is a challenge to simply and with integrity condense a discipline I have explored for for almost forty years.
This semester, influenced by some conversations I’ve had with several colleagues and students, I am going to incorporate several innovations.

  1. a section on cross-cultural psychology which will occur at the time that social psychologist Richard Nisbett is speaking on campus about the “Geography of the Mind” (see my earlier blog).
  2. having students read and respond to some of my future (and some of my older “Curious David”) blogs that deal with psychological topics. I may create a special wiki for them.
  3. involving students in some fashion with research I shall be conducting with 12 seniors. I am toying with five research topics—the effects of color on behavior, revisiting the “Mozart effect,” revisiting “subliminal” persuasion, evaluation research (e.g. the efficacy of Rosetta Stone software), and systematic evaluation of Web 2.0 learning tools. As the President of this institution is fond of saying, “stay tuned.”

Carroll truly is being enriched more and more by the presence of international students. Today, while photo-copying, I struck up a conversation with a student from Brazil. Last semester I had the delightful experience of learning with and from a student from Vietnam. A former graduate school classmate of mine has just become an editor of a British journal. A Norwegian friend who mentored me in 1974 has just published a book. My discipline is finally becoming more culturally aware, much less chauvinistic—see  Arnett, J. J. (2008). The neglected 95%: Why American psychology needs to become less American. American Psychologist, 63, 602-614— and recognizing that the world is indeed flat.  How exciting; what fun!
There is much about which to be curious.That is vital to keeping me playful, energized, and wanting to teach and to learn.
Thanks to my incipient readership. Based on statistics I can monitor, I am already attracting a readership base at a higher rate than I did writing for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last year. And this without Mom’s help!

Keep those comments and feedback coming either through posting or by sending them to dsimpsonnorthlake@mac.com. 

Enough for now. I’m dog tired.

 

On the Internet no one knows that you are a Newf

Miscellaneous

Web20comics

I shared these cartoons with my freshmen at the end of our course both to illustrate Slideshare and the talent of the cartoonist, but also because I believe that if you “get” the jokes, you are aware of the technological tools and some of their hazards.

| View | Upload your own

Miscellaneous

Notes for a January 16, 2009 Technology Day Presentation at Carroll University

Below are the points that I wish to explore in my presentation. Each is a resource-rich hypertext link documenting some of the things I’ve discovered in the past year.

  1. Omega and Alpha…
  2. Pioneering at Carroll…
  3. Taking Hart to heart…
  4.  Feeding frenzy
  5. World-wide collaboration
  6. Tools in schools (K-12!)
  7. Reading and Writing
  8. Caveats
  9. Beginner Tools (free)
  10. Curious David Redux
Miscellaneous

Language and Culture

I have long had a fascination with languages. In high school I studied Latin for two years and followed that with two years of Spanish. When I graduated from Oberlin College in 1971 with an A.B. in Psychology I also had studied the equivalent of a Spanish major (including credits earned at the University of Guanajuato, Mexico). While a graduate student at Ohio State University I marveled at the language fluency of foreign fellow graduate students (I spent 6 months doing research at the University of Bergen, Norway and was humbled by the challenges of learning Norwegian and by how much more about the United States Norwegians knew compared to me!). A critical component of these language learning experiences was having opportunities to be exposed to the literature, theater, art, history, and cultural contexts of these languages. It will be interesting to discover what added value such tools as Rosetta Stone software contribute to efforts to internationalize this campus. I have yet to see convincing empirical evidence that the software lives up to its heavily advertised promises; perhaps research seminar students and I will produce some evidence.
Reading two books recently, Richard E. Nisbett‘s The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently… and Why and Malcolm Gladwell’sOutlier’s: The Story of Success, has revitalized my interest in relationships between language, culture, thought, and behavior. Richard Nisbett, whom Gladwell acknowledges as a major influence on his thinking that resulted in this book, will be an invited speaker at Carroll University on March 24, 2009.

Miscellaneous

Pioneering Web 2.0 Technology Tools (Part 1)

I’ve begun developing a presentation I’m scheduled to give on January 16 to Carroll faculty tentatively titled “Pioneering Web 2.0 Learning Tools with Carroll Students: Educational
Technology of the Future, Catching Up with What Fifth-Graders Already Know,
or Another Fad?”I hope to
share with interested members of the Carroll community some of the Web
2.0 learning tools and resources
that I have explored this past semester(Download FYS 100 Section U Syllabus – Dr, David Simpson Labor Day Version PDF with my students (who were especially playful with their photoshop skills).