Community News Posts

New Way for WorldVuze Teachers to Connect and Collaborate

New Way for WorldVuze Teachers to Connect and Collaborate

We have listened and heard from many educators that you would like a way to connect and collaborate together with other classrooms that are on WorldVuze.

We’ve created a WorldVuze Teacher Google Community where you can do just that! It’s a private community, which only teachers who have been validated on WorldVuze can join. Click here to join now!

already a worldvuze teacher?

If you’re a K-12 educator and not already registered to WorldVuze, you can sign up to WorldVuze and join the Google Community once you’ve been validated by us. WorldVuze will always be free for K-12 teachers and students anywhere in the world.

On the WorldVuze Teachers Google Community, you can post initiatives you would like to collaborate on with other WorldVuze classrooms or ideas for how you’d like to go beyond the discussions on WorldVuze. By signing up to WorldVuze, you are not automatically part of this Google teacher community and will need to opt-in here to participate.

We have set up three categories for your posts:

  • Elementary classrooms
  • Secondary classrooms
  • French classrooms
    *WorldVuze will be available in French starting September 2017! More updates to come…

Check back into the WorldVuze Teachers Google Community periodically for new collaboration opportunities. We will also send updates through our monthly teacher e-blasts highlighting what you are sharing!

This community is for you, so please share your ideas if there are ways we can make this community even better for you by emailing us at info@worldvuze.com

The Critical Thinking Consortium’s Webinar: 5 Powerful Learning Opportunities Using WorldVuze in YOUR Class!

This October, The Critical Thinking Consortium’s (TC2) Dr. Garfield Gini-Newman facilitated a 1-hour interactive webinar “5 Powerful Learning Opportunities using WorldVuze in YOUR class!”, highlighting critical thinking opportunities when using WorldVuze in the K-12 classroom.

You can watch the full webinar recording here:

Webinar Highlights
In this webinar, Professor Gini-Newman explores the following themes:

  • How does technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge intersect?
  • What should be the defining characteristics of the 21st century classroom?
  • When can critical thinking be integrated in the classroom?
  • How can inquiry be used as a stance to support thinking classrooms?
  • What is the difference between student engagement and student empowerment?
  • How can you help your students gauge the quality of information they are receiving?
  • How does the student learning experience change when taught from a “knowledge hierarchy” versus a “knowledge network” stance?
  • How can you and your class identify and create questions that invite critical thinking?

A Peak Inside the Webinar
Professor Gini-Newman offers strategies for fostering thinking classrooms that can be integrated while using WorldVuze with your class. Here’s some strategies you can learn in the webinar:

The Baloney Meter
Screen Shot 2016-11-07 at 1.51.31 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attributes of a Critical Thinking Question

Screen Shot 2016-11-07 at 1.59.15 PM

Wheel of Qualifiers (Turning questions into “critical thinking” questions)
Screen Shot 2016-11-07 at 2.04.51 PM

We want to thank the Critical Thinking Consortium for sharing these powerful strategies with the WorldVuze community and invite educators to share ideas for future webinars by emailing us at info@worldvuze.com.

About The Critical Thinking Consortium
The Critical Thinking Consortium supports many thousands of educators through a range of face-to-face, online and print resources and services developed around a classroom-proven approach to embedding critical thinking. TC2’s aim is to help students learn to think and think to learn.

Miss Murray’s Class “Talks” the Better than Before Challenge!

When compared to 31 of the world’s wealthiest countries, Canada’s children are among the least satisfied with their lives, ranking 25th according to UNICEF’s Report Card 13: Fairness for Children. Canadian child and youth well-being is on the decline.

“UNICEF Canada is committed to implementing the rights contained in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and that includes children’s right to be heard. We need to hear from young people to really understand their concerns and their thoughts on how to make Canada a better place for them”, says UNICEF Canada Policy Officer, Stacia Sahi.

watch miss murray's classWe joined Miss Murray’s Grade 8 class at Crescent School last week, who shared their thoughts on UNICEF Canada’s Better than Before Challenge and how classrooms across the country can join from now until the end of May 2016.

K-12 teachers can sign their class up for free on WorldVuze where their students can safely engage in this and other discussions with students across Canada and around the world.

UNICEF QuestionsBy sharing their perspectives on the 5 Better Before Challenge questions on WorldVuze (tagged UNICEF2016), students can share what is important to their well-being and how they think Canada can be a better place for children and youth to live. This is a chance for students to use their voice to make a real-world impact and help advocate for change to improve well-being for children and youth in Canada.

Learn how your class can join the Better than Before Challenge this May 2016 and share the challenge with two other classrooms you know to engage in this exciting dialogue!

NEW Features – Video Questions, Class Profiles, and More!

NEW Features – Video Questions, Class Profiles, and More!

WorldVuze just got more engaging! This month we are introducing new features that will allow classrooms to feel more deeply connected to one another by offering new mediums and opportunities to engage with the world.

Video Questions
Test video question

 

Ask a video question as a class or use a video to inspire discussion.

 

 

How?
Start by asking a question as you normally would by typing out your question and multiple choice options in the question field.

Add video question

 

Turn it into a video question, using YouTube or Vimeo, by finding the video you want and using the proper embed format.

 

 

 

 

For YouTube the proper embed format is:
https://youtube.com/embed/VIDEO_ID

Your video’s ID is the letter/number combination after the v= in your videos url. See the VIDEO_ID for the WorldVuze Student Case Study video, for example, highlighted in yellow below. That means, the proper embed format for the WorldVuze Student Case Study video would be https://youtube.com/embed/gdUlTt0tdTIExample Video_ID

Picture Questions
How might pictures or images be interpreted from different perspectives? You can explore this new medium for discussion by posting your own picture questions!

How?

Sample picture question

 

 

Simply find your image and add it to your next question on WorldVuze.

 

 

 

Class Profile
Learn more about the class behind the question by adding your own class profile.

How?
class profile

Add a class picture and class description that students and teachers around the world can see by editing your class, under your profile tab.

 

See class profiles of others by clicking on the class name or class profile icon next to their question, such as the Grade 6 Class below.

class profile

New to WorldVuze? Check out our 5 Steps to Get Your Class Started on WorldVuze blog, our case studies, or demo videos page. Already using WorldVuze, but interested in opportunities to further foster 21st century competencies in your students through inquiry using the technology? Consider joining one of our training sessions near you or bring WorldVuze trainers to your school.

Watch in 3 Minutes How a Student Can Explore Global Perspectives Through Her Own Inquiry

Grade 7 student, Carly, shares how WorldVuze works from a student perspective and tells a story of how she used it as a tool to explore first-hand perspectives on a topic she was curious about. Watch as Carly independently walks through the process of inquiry from beginning to end, driven by her own interests.

Learn How to Integrate Global Education through Inquiry

Learn How to Integrate Global Education through Inquiry

Global Education Conference 2015Join us this Wednesday, November 18th at 12pm EST at the free, online Global Education 2015 Conference for our session “Global Education Technology for an Inquiry-Based Classroom”! During this 1 hour session, we will explore how to use the WorldVuze education technology to support educators in integrating global perspectives in their curriculum through an inquiry lens.

 

 

How can you join?Time zones

1) Find and click on your time zone on this page.

 

 

 

 

 

sessions2) Click on the link for the session called “Global education technology for an inquiry-based classroom” OR click on the session link here directly to take you to the Blackboard collaborate page.

*Make sure your computer is compatible with Blackboard collaborate.

 

 

 

We look forward to seeing you there! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Julia Coburn at julia@worldvuze.com. Also, check out the Global Education Conference 2015 to participate in many fascinating sessions to help your class think and learn more globally!

Learn How One Class is Using WorldVuze in 3 Minutes!

We joined teacher librarian, Jean Rehder, from Nelson Mandela Public School in Toronto, Canada who shared with us how she is using WorldVuze with classes at her school to inspire powerful student-driven dialogue. Check out this quick 3 minute video to learn some tips for integrating global perspectives into your curriculum.

WorldVuze Student Ambassadors Featured on CTV

WorldVuze Student Ambassadors Featured on CTV

CTVCongratulations to the WorldVuze student ambassadors, who on April 22nd shared how they celebrated Earth Day by connecting with children around the world on WorldVuze through a dialogue on the environment. Next year, we hope to make this initiative even bigger and better, but this doesn’t mean you can’t continue your conversations about the environment and thousands of other topics all year round.

These four passionate Grade 6 students also made their voice heard at Earth Day Canada’s 2015 Earth Day Assembly, alongside Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray.

Check out the video of the students on CTV here!

Student Corner – A Grade 6 Student Explores Governance

Student Corner – A Grade 6 Student Explores Governance

The most important part of the WorldVuze experience is hearing what students have to say. Learn from the experience of a Grade 6 student, Carly, in her own words as she independently explores governance on WorldVuze:


“Every few days I check WorldVuze. My favourite things to do on the site are reading the answers from kids from different countries. Especially, if the question is about something [from] there own country. For example, I was looking at other peoples answers to the question “Do you think the government in your country is trustworthy?”. I have been told Mexico does not have a great government. So, I was wondering if the children of Mexico felt this way.

Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 6.29.39 PMHalf of the answer chart said “not at all”, one quarter said “sometimes”, and one quarter said “most the time”. I found this very interesting. Than I decided to look at what kids in other countries were saying. The responses from others were all so interesting.

Something that stood out to me was the answers from other students in Canada. I thought everyone felt our government was doing a great job. Turns out, Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 6.31.53 PMnot everyone feels this way. 3 out of 24 said the our government was not at all trustworthy. 2 out of 24 said sometimes. 9 out of 24 said most the time. 5 out of 24 said yes. The rest were not sure. This was super interesting to me. It made me more aware of the perspectives of Canadians on the Canadian government.”

Classrooms, submit your explorations and discoveries on WorldVuze for the next “student corner” by emailing Julia at julia@worldvuze.com!

Join the Earth Day Challenge!

Many of our environmental challenges are global in nature – from climate change, overpopulation, pollution, energy use, waste, water, to biodiversity. Activities in one community can impact others around the world. Earth Day is a reminder of our need to reflect on how we can protect the environment, but these discussions should last all year round.

Join us this year in our Earth Day Challenge from now until Earth Day (April 22, 2015) to spur a dialogue around environmental challenges that we all face together. Perhaps you want to have a better understanding on how people in different communities are impacted by pollution or climate change. Maybe you want to find out suggestions on how other people are reducing their impact on the environment in their community or in their school. Through these discussions, we can expand our thinking on environmental topics, learn from people experiencing environmental challenges from different geographic locations, and understand how we can best tackle these challenges together.

Watch this video from our Earth Day Challenge student team (who are spearheading this campaign!) to find out how your class can get involved.

  1. Post all of your Earth Day questions to WorldVuze and tag them as “EarthDay2015”
  2. Students answer Earth Day questions posted by your own and other classrooms. Find questions by typing in “EarthDay2015” in the search bar
  3. Check back on our blog once a week for updates and a video diary from the Earth Day Team reacting to your questions and perspectives you are sharing
  4. Share your own class reactions (through pictures, video, text) to the Earth Day discussions happening on WorldVuze and send them to info@wordvuze.com to share with the community through our blog and weekly teacher updates
  5. Invite three more classrooms to join the Earth Day Challenge!

Turn the news into a conversation and engage in a “diversity of thought”

An article in the Guardian today “Why does diversity in the media sector matter?” discussed the importance of diversity in forming and reporting on the news, bringing together news agencies from the BBC, the Guardian, GNM, and Knight-Mozilla. They note that diversity goes beyond looking or sounding different, but involves many factors coming together (age, background, life experiences, peers) that influence the “diversity of thought”.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 9.16.29 AMOn WorldVuze classrooms have the opportunity to ask questions that matter to them. Sometimes these questions are formed from a book you are reading or a discussion that has stemmed from the unit you are working on in class. Another way you can engage your students in meaningful dialogue on important local and global issues is by using the news as a starting point.

Take this article about the loss of a Northern white rhino at the San Diego zoo, leaving only 5 remaining members of the subspecies in the world. This is an opportunity for your class to engage in the inquiry process and think of a wide array of questions. Some questions may be:

  • What role do you think zoos should play in conserving wildlife?
  • What do you think is the responsibility of the “average person” to protect endangered or threatened species?
  • What support do you think conservationists need to truly protect endangered species, such as the Northern white rhino?

The process of developing a good question that can inspire a meaningful and engaging discussion can be challenging, but is one of the most important parts of this learning process. Set criteria with your class about what a “good question” looks like for WorldVuze (one important criteria you should strongly consider is that the question seeks opinion or perspective, not fact).

The value of being exposed to a diversity of perspectives is immense. It is central to developing fundamental 21st century competencies such as critical thinking and collaboration. It helps break down barriers and stereotypes by going beyond any one isolated point of view representing a place, such as a country or a city. By exploring multiple points of view on a regular basis, it not only creates an opportunity to consider new perspectives and ways of thinking, but can also alter our perception of each other.

Diversity helps to inspire innovation and creativity. In fact, in the September 2014 issue of Scientific American focused on Diversity from a scientific perspective in a series of articles. One article, by Fred Guterl, “Diversity in Science: Why it is Essential for Excellence” found that diversity relates to the quality and effectiveness of teams as it makes us address our unconscious biases and tends to make people prepare and critically analyze their own point of view more thoroughly as a result. The article goes on to share the gravity of being exposed to a diversity of thought in saying: “Scientists pride themselves on their objectivity, but personal experience and point of view have a lot to do with what questions get asked in the first place and how researchers go about answering them. The people in science and engineering are driving the world’s most vital engine of prosperity and new ideas. Who are they?”.

If you take this concept beyond science and apply this phenomenon to all fields (i.e. environmental management, international development, city planning, etc.), you can only imagine the potential impact it can have on how we may solve all of our most pressing problems.

Quick Tip – Finding Patterns in Answers on WorldVuze

We have created WorldVuze to present information in a way that will allow you and your students to easily sort and find patterns in answers to questions and dig deeper to understand why they and their peers are thinking the way they do.

Take a question asked by a Grade 5 class from the International School of Geneva in Geneva, Switzerland: Do you think animal testing should be allowed? So far, 44 students from 4 countries have answered this question. There are many ways your students can sort through these answers.

1) Students can examine a pie chart of the answers

2) Students can filter the answers by how students have answered the question. For example, first by looking at the answers of students who said “yes” (choice a); then looking at the answers of students who said “no” (choice b); and so on.

Sample question: What were some common reasons cited by students when students answered “yes”? How about “no”?

3) Then students can further filter answers by country, region, age, gender, and time. For example, you may want your students to compare answers between the “United States” and “Sweden”, or from students in one province of Canada “Ontario” to another “Saskatchewan”. Students can also use the pie chart, which adjusts to the filters they have set, to quickly capture a visual comparison.

Sample question: What are the similarities and differences between answers coming from students in Sweden compared to the United States?

Additional Questions you may want to add:

Statistics
You can ask your students questions about the quality of the information they are receiving. How many answers will you need to find a real pattern?

Reflection
You can ask students to reflect on the answers they read and examine whether any of the answers had changed the way they are thinking about the topic or the way they thought other students would have responded. This is what we call a “mindshift”. They can then share their mindshifts, if they have had any, on the question page itself!

There are so many examples of classroom lessons that we will continue to share, but we also want to hear from you! What are some creative ways that you are using WorldVuze in your class?

What Image Comes to Your Head When You Hear “Sierra Leone”?

When Hindo Kiposowa and his students from Bumpe High School in rural Bumpe, Sierra Leone enthusiastically joined our pilot last spring, none of us would have anticipated what would be coming. One of the first questions asked by the class at BHS was “Do you know anything about Sierra Leone? Please describe what you know or what you would like to know.” 

Many students who had responded were not aware of the country, while others piped in. Over a short period of time working with Hindo, I came to know a person committed to education and a person determined to empower his students to bring change to the Bumpe community, the country, and the world.

The dream for the school in April 2014 was to have their own computer centre. With this technology, access to resources could be expedited and students and teachers would have a greater connection to the world at their fingertips. Hindo had sent a document outlining his yearly plan to cover a range of topics with his students from: careers, technology, education, health, peace, environment, agriculture, entrepreneurship, and law.

So how were the students in his class engaged on WorldVuze without the computer centre you might ask? It was through the determination of Hindo who worked with his students and on his own time came home and used his own resources to communicate with me to share his students’ questions. Prior to working with us, Hindo has had a long commitment toward global education, working with TakingITGlobal.

If you look up Sierra Leone in Google now, you will be hard pressed to see anything more than news about the Ebola epidemic. Without other connections to this place, will this become the new face of Sierra Leone?

In a recent article posted by the Guardian, it has been cited that there are 20 deaths per day due to Ebola in the country. It is hard to truly grasp what these statistics mean. Where do you find out how people living through this experience are thinking and feeling about it? In order to learn more, we need to first support each other in these most pressing times. If you were in this position instead, I truly believe that a person like Hindo would help you. He and his community are working tirelessly to ensure that the deadly Ebola epidemic does not claim any more lives than it already has.

Hindo and his students are setting up opportunities to connect to their classrooms. If you are interested in learning with them, please find out more by reading Jennifer Klein’s article, Ebola in Bumpe: Connect Your School to Real Grassroots Action. Most importantly, please show your support by donating to their lifesaving educational and sanitation initiatives here!

As a global community, let’s do our part to stop this epidemic. Our hope is that soon, when we bring up Sierra Leone, it will be a new topic of conversation.

Uncovering Assumptions

Last spring we joined Nelson Mandela Public School in Toronto, Canada on a class visit and were able to witness an exercise in students uncovering stereotypes before our very eyes. The class had previously been investigating the topics of “child labour” and “racism” and wanted to extend their learning by understanding how other students in different countries thought about these topics.

Before they looked at the answers from other students, these Grade 6 students were asked to “predict” what they thought students from different countries who had answered the question had said. How did what students from different countries say either confirm or disprove their assumptions? Keeping in mind the limited number of answers contributed in our pilot (of 600).

This investigation led to a deep discussion. Students had come into the experience with an understanding that others can form “stereotypes” of them, but were beginning to uncover their own assumptions about the world and ask questions about their “mental models” of others.

This exercise in uncovering assumptions can be repeated with your own class questions and when delving into questions posted by others that interest your class!