The Global Search for Education: Top Global Teacher Bloggers – What’s New On Social?

By C M Rubin

This post was originally published here.

2016-04-27-1461770339-1502221-cmrubinworldTopGlobalTeacherBloggersTechnologyMontage500.jpgOur world is interconnected. We no longer live in isolated communities. More than ever before we are part of a global community. The social media innovations making this connectivity easier with each day that passes are also being used to enhance learning.

Our Global Teacher Bloggers are pioneers and innovators in fields such as technology integration, mathematics coaching, special needs education, science instruction, and gender equity. They have founded schools, written curricula, and led classrooms in 13 different countries that stretch across every populated continent on earth. These teachers empower and enrich the lives of young people from nearly every background imaginable.

Today in The Global Search for Education, our Top Global Teacher Bloggers share their answers to this month’s question: What are the best examples you have seen of teachers using social media to enhance learning?

Maarit Rossi (@pathstomath) from Finland says her school has partnered with the YLE’s (Finnish Broadcasting Company) News Class. It’s all part of a media education project in which students learn about journalism “under the guidance of professional journalists.” Maarit explains it’s a win-win situation for all. Teachers are able to have access to great resources and students get real world media experience. As for YLE, they “get a new dimension to their operations, the young people’s perspective of the world’s phenomena.” Read More.

Your students are already caught in social media – so how do you compete for their attention? You don’t – just find them there! Elisa Guerra (@ElisaGuerraCruz) from Mexico does just that. One of her amazing projects: she teamed up with a music teacher in New York and many adventures later, live concerts were held miles from each other. Skype, FaceTime and LiveStream all played a role. “Our Concert was far from perfect, but our audiences exploded in applause….” Read More.

Referred by Todd Finley (@finleyt) is Gerard Dawson (@GerardDawson3) from New Jersey who highlights the ways Twitter can be used to build a culture of reading among teachers and staff as well as among students. One example: his school librarian Amy gave each teacher a sign for their doors on which to post the book they were currently reading along with the unique hashtag: #HHSReads. The hashtag has become a place for teachers to share and discuss their books. Twitter can also be used by students to share and recommend books. Read More.

Dana Narvaisa (@dana_narvaisa) recommends the perspectives of Oskars Kaulens (@Oskars_Kaulens) who discusses the benefits of blogging. Blogging motivates students to share their opinions on various topics. Blogs help develop writing skills and create online discussion. “They learn to be polite and be responsible for what they write online. My students have created culture diaries (online blogs) to write short references on cultural events they have attended.” Read More.

Global Poetry Unites is all over Twitter right now for National Poetry Month, and Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) from Camilla, Georgia points out “…classrooms are participating from everywhere! Just look at the hashtag #ClrPoem on Twitter and you’ll see lots of kids involved in the current challenge to write a poem using the color red.” Check this out plus 9 other cool things Vicki has seen educators doing. Read More.

Warren Sparrow’s (@wsparrowsa) school in South Africa has produced a learning platform for all students, which allows them to create their own social media accounts that the school can monitor, and to administer rights to the various learners. Students have the option to use either Google Apps for Education or Microsoft Office 365. They have managed to use a single sign-on so that “the students do not have to worry about logging onto the one account and then having to log into a different account to change platforms.” Read More.

Miriam Mason-Sesay (@EducAidSL) based in Sierra Leone reminds us that not all schools around the world have the good fortune to be able to use social media in a classroom setting yet. “With so many schools both in urban and rural settings lacking even the most basic amenities: toilets, blackboards, enough exercise books etc., the means to get online and participate in the global conversation about anything is well out of reach of even the most committed educators.” So what did EducAid’s teachers do during the Ebola crisis to engage youngsters with their education while schools were shut? Read More.

Rashmi Kathuria (@rashkath), hailing from India, talks about the benefits of using closed Facebook groups to enhance learning. Students and teachers are able to “share important questions, post assignments, create discussions and share useful weblinks for learning a particular subject. Every year, I create a closed group with my students for doing the same.” Read More.

Blogger at Large Beth Holland (@brholland) recommends we check out Meghan Zigmond’s (@MeghanZigmond) blog. And Zigmond really likes Pernille Ripp’s Global Read Aloud which connects classes through social media. “When a class participates they are invited to read books on a schedule, tweet their thinking, and even participate in chats on Twitter. Designated hashtags are an amazing way to facilitate this. Check out last year’s tag of #GRAAmy to see examples”. Read More.

Craig Kemp (@mrkempnz) highlights the value of Ed-Chats. Teachers are becoming more and more engaged in online chats through Social Media tools such as Twitter. During these online chat sessions, educators from all over the world can come together to discuss a topic, sharing resources, articles, links etc. “This learning gets transferred directly into their learning environments and spread to improve student learning opportunities.” Read More.

Nadia Lopez (@TheLopezEffect) shares the story of Julia DeCoteau, a 7th grade teacher at Mott Hall Bridges Academy who used social media to execute a non-fiction unit of study based on the book I am Malala. The book tells the story of Malala, the remarkable young woman who was nearly killed because she advocated for girls to have access to education in areas like Pakistan. Ms. DeCoteau believed her students would be able to empathize with Malala’s story “because of their own experiences with daily violence and lack of equity that exist in a poor community such as Brownsville, Brooklyn.” Just prior to beginning the unit, loss of funding impacted the purchasing of the Malala books and it was at this point that social media became an essential tool. Read More.

The Top Global Teacher Bloggers is a monthly series where educators across the globe offer experienced yet unique takes on today’s most important topics. CMRubinWorld utilizes the platform to propagate the voices of the most indispensable people of our learning institutions, teachers.

For more information.

2016-04-27-1461770496-930595-cmrubinworldtopglobalteacherbloggers_headshots5001.jpgTop Row, left to right: Adam Steiner, Santhi Karamcheti, Pauline Hawkins2nd Row: Elisa Guerra, Humaira Bachal, C. M. Rubin, Todd Finley,
Warren Sparrow
3rd Row: Nadia Lopez, Katherine Franco Cardernas, Craig Kemp,
Rashmi Kathuria, Maarit Rossi
Bottom Row: Dana Narvaisa, Richard Wells, Vicki Davis, Miriam Mason-Sesay(All photos are courtesy of CMRubinWorld)


Join me and globally renowned thought leaders including Sir Michael Barber (UK), Dr. Michael Block (U.S.), Dr. Leon Botstein (U.S.), Professor Clay Christensen (U.S.), Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond (U.S.), Dr. MadhavChavan (India), Professor Michael Fullan (Canada), Professor Howard Gardner (U.S.), Professor Andy Hargreaves (U.S.), Professor Yvonne Hellman (The Netherlands), Professor Kristin Helstad (Norway), Jean Hendrickson (U.S.), Professor Rose Hipkins (New Zealand), Professor Cornelia Hoogland (Canada), Honourable Jeff Johnson (Canada), Mme. Chantal Kaufmann (Belgium), Dr. EijaKauppinen (Finland), State Secretary TapioKosunen (Finland), Professor Dominique Lafontaine (Belgium), Professor Hugh Lauder (UK), Lord Ken Macdonald (UK), Professor Geoff Masters (Australia), Professor Barry McGaw (Australia), Shiv Nadar (India), Professor R. Natarajan (India), Dr. Pak Tee Ng (Singapore), Dr. Denise Pope (US), Sridhar Rajagopalan (India), Dr. Diane Ravitch (U.S.), Richard Wilson Riley (U.S.), Sir Ken Robinson (UK), Professor Pasi Sahlberg (Finland), Professor Manabu Sato (Japan), Andreas Schleicher (PISA, OECD), Dr. Anthony Seldon (UK), Dr. David Shaffer (U.S.), Dr. Kirsten Sivesind (Norway), Chancellor Stephen Spahn (U.S.), Yves Theze (LyceeFrancais U.S.), Professor Charles Ungerleider (Canada), Professor Tony Wagner (U.S.), Sir David Watson (UK), Professor Dylan Wiliam (UK), Dr. Mark Wormald (UK), Professor Theo Wubbels (The Netherlands), Professor Michael Young (UK), and Professor Minxuan Zhang (China) as they explore the big picture education questions that all nations face today.
The Global Search for Education Community Page

C. M. Rubin is the author of two widely read online series for which she received a 2011 Upton Sinclair award, “The Global Search for Education” and “How Will We Read?” She is also the author of three bestselling books, including The Real Alice in Wonderland, is the publisher of CMRubinWorld, and is a Disruptor Foundation Fellow.

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¿Niños matemáticos vs. Niñas lectoras?

¿Niños matemáticos vs. Niñas lectoras?

Este artículo fue publicado originalmente en Educación Futura

En el patio de recreo, un grupo de niños de primer grado se entusiasma en un improvisado partido de futbol. Hace falta un jugador para emparejar los equipos. “¿Quién se apunta?” – grita uno de ellos.

Amanda, que observa desde cerca, siente una descarga de entusiasmo.  De un salto se pone en pie, pero antes de poder dar el paso su maestra la cuestiona con serena calidez: “Los niños juegan muy rudo. ¿Estas segura de que quieres ir con ellos?” Los pocos segundos que Amanda se detuvo fueron suficientes para que alguien más tomara el codiciado puesto.

La pequeña perdió una oportunidad para activarse físicamente y divertirse, pero también para desarrollar sus habilidades espaciales. Además, quizá cuestione su audacia la próxima vez que sienta el impulso de unirse a los “juegos de hombres” y se vaya haciendo cada vez más pasiva. Y por cierto, quizá acaba de perder también la oportunidad de convertirse, algún día, en ingeniera o matemática.

Incluso los buenos maestros, con la mejor de las intenciones, caen con frecuencia en la trampa de los estereotipos. Cerrar la brecha de género en la educación requiere un esfuerzo serio y consciente.

Según datos de la OCDE (2015), los varones obtienen mejores resultados académicos en matemáticas y ciencias en comparación con las niñas, pero éstas los superan en habilidades lectoras. Este fenómeno ha estado presente por décadas. En 1980, investigadores de la Universidad de Johns Hopkins sugirieron que esta brecha se debía a una “habilidad masculina innata para las matemáticas”. En otras palabras, proponían una superioridad genética de los niños con respecto a las niñas, por lo menos en esta área del conocimiento.

Aunque este estudio fue ampliamente criticado y se convirtió en el centro de una acalorada controversia, la idea de que las diferencias en los logros educativos de niñas y niños tiene una raíz genética se ha permeado hasta nuestros días. Pero, ¿es así, o es el ambiente el que lentamente segrega a niños y niñas para conformarse a modelos socialmente aceptados, según su género?

niños-escuelaRodrigo tiene diez años y está enganchado con los libros.  Tanto así, que a veces preferiría leer que salir a jugar con sus compañeros. Además, es muy bueno dibujando y puede concentrarse por horas derrochando creatividad. Pero cuando esto sucede, algunos niños le hacen burla: lo consideran afeminado o débil. La presión por “encajar” es cada vez más fuerte, y Rodrigo pronto entrará a la adolescencia. Necesita con urgencia un mentor que lo valide y apoye, antes de que abandone las “cosas de niñas” que lo apasionan, con tal de sentirse aceptado.

¿Cuál es, entonces, el papel que deberíamos jugar como maestros?

Aquí, algunos ejemplos de lo que podemos hacer en nuestras escuelas:

  1. Fomentar la actividad física también en las niñas, desde temprana edad. Esto incluye cosas tan elementales como recomendar vestimenta apropiada para todo tipo de juegos: es difícil trepar a un árbol usando un vestido, por ejemplo. Permitamos que nuestras niñas se ensucien con lodo, que suden, que sean heroínas al rescate de sus propias aventuras. No las limitemos por considerar que estas actitudes “no son propias de una señorita”.
  2. Proveer amplias oportunidades para la resolución de problemas en una variedad de contextos activos. Podemos retar a nuestros alumnos –niños y niñas- a tomar riesgos y asumir diferentes roles, incluyendo los de liderazgo, y crear una cultura en el salón de clases en donde hacer muchas preguntas sea incluso más valorado que dar las respuestas “correctas”. Esto creará un clima de confianza donde tanto niños como niñas puedan expresarse libremente.
  3. Diseñar un ambiente seguro para que los niños puedan conectarse con su lado artístico y desarrollar su creatividad – rasgos usualmente asociados con una personalidad “femenina”. Engánchalos en las artes, la música y la literatura descubriendo sus intereses y ofreciéndoles materiales estimulantes que puedan disfrutar.
  4. Concientizar a los padres y enlistarlos como aliados en contra de los estereotipos de género. Todos estamos expuestos a fuertes mensajes en los medios y a ideas preconcebidas. Podemos actuar en base a ellos de manera automática. Es común, por ejemplo, que los padres dejen que los niños varones jueguen más tiempo afuera, y que prefieran que las niñas se queden dentro de casa leyendo, platicando o ayudando con las labores. Pídele a tu hijo que te ayude a cocinar y lavar los paltos, y pídele a tu hija que saque la basura y pasee al perro. Lee con ellos todos los días, y asegúrate de que ambos terminen sus tareas escolares a tiempo y con calidad.
  5. Ofrecer modelos positivos de mujeres en las ciencias y hombres en las humanidades, considerando para ello personajes históricos y actuales. Cuida tus palabras y acciones, porque tus propios estereotipos pueden emerger inadvertidamente. En el aula, fíjate cuántas veces das la palabra a niños o a niñas, y por qué lo haces (¿Para recuperar su atención? ¿Para mantenerlos tranquilos?)

Mi hija, Ana, estudia la Licenciatura en Matemáticas Aplicadas en  una reconocida Universidad en la Ciudad de México.  En sus clases, aproximadamente la cuarta parte del grupo son mujeres. Me siento orgullosa de ella por atreverse a defender sus intereses, pero me entristece pensar en las “Amandas” que no están ahí porque las convencimos, cuando eran pequeñas, de que las niñas no son tan buenas para las matemáticas.

Cada niño o niña tiene el potencial para ser excelente en donde sea que encuentre su pasión, y los maestros debemos de ser sus defensores, no sus detractores. Ahora, dejémosle eso claro a Amanda y a Rodrigo la próxima vez que los encontremos.

Que podría ser en nuestro salón de clases, justo ahora.

Benbowm C, & Stanly, J. (1980) “Sex differences in mathematical ability: Fact of artifact?”  Science, Volume 210, 12 December 1980.
OECD (2015), The ABC of Gender Equality in Education: Aptitude, Behaviour, Confidence, PISA, OECD Publishing.


Fundadora y Directora Académica del Colegio Valle de Filadelfia, preescolar, primaria y secundaria. Reconocida con el Premio Alas-BID como “Mejor Educadora de Latinoamérica” 2015.

Social Media in the Classroom: Tips and Ideas

Social Media in the Classroom: Tips and Ideas

Your students are already caught in social media – so how do you compete for their attention? You don’t – just find them there.

Social media is an area where I recognize myself as a learner. With so many new tools and trends coming out, I realize I might be behind the newest and latest, and even neglecting many amazing resources that have been out there for a while. That said, here are some ideas:

 Flip you classroom with YouTube. I designed social studies projects that could be completed almost independently by my 7th to 9th graders, produced videos with the content that I would have otherwise taught at school, uploaded them to YouTube, and searched for resources already in the web that I could use. I created documents in which I described each assignment and rubrics. Then I organized everything neatly on my school’s website (you could use your own blog as well).YouTube Webschool Filadelfia

At first, it was a lot of work. Producing and posting videos and lessons on top of my regular teaching schedule was tough. Then I made it part of their projects to have students actually do some of the teaching. Either individually or in teams, they produced and published videos as well. My workload decreased somehow, but most importantly, their learning increased substantially!

Now, the kids do a lot of video producing, -not just for my own classes anymore. And some students even have their own YouTube channels.

Facebook as a collaboration tool. I wanted a place where I could virtually and safely interact with my students, and where we could keep our conversations organized. Because I had made my flipped classrooms open to anyone, I created a Facebook page for content sharing, but also a closed Facebook group for our class. My students were already in Facebook on a daily basis, so our learning integrated with their lives seamlessly.

Tweet to reflect on learning. “The most important thing I learned today was…” Answer that in 140 characters. This is what I asked my students to do after each class. Their answers could be related to actual subject content, new or revised abilities, and personal insights. Use a classroom #hashtag to easily find what everyone else is saying and to engage in conversations.

Skype your music to the world. One of the most ambitious media projects I have ever embarked on was #ConcertIn2Countries, for which I teamed up with Melissa Morris, a music teacher in New York, The plan was to have our elementary school violin ensemble perform alongside Melissa’s high school musicians.Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 9.48.51 AM

After many rehearsals and substantial challenges, we held our two concerts miles away from each other. Then, at a set time, we used Skype, FaceTime and LiveStream to connect live – and the magic began. Our Concert was far from perfect, but our audiences exploded in applause.

Social media will not teach your lesson – it will enhance it. It will not change your curriculum or even make your subject more interesting (that’s our job, isn’t it?) But, it will bring content closer to your learners and make it easier and more appealing for them to engage.

And of course, we all want engaged learners, don’t we?