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Monday, July 15, 2024
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From classroom to global collaboration

CQUniversity Senior Lecturer in Education Dr Miriam Ham is set to present research findings on information gathered in a classroom setting at the Global Cities gathering in Washington in July.
 
Global Cities is a philanthropic organisation that paves the way for teachers to improve their students’ cultural understanding and development of students’ levels of global competence through connecting students in one context, with students in another country, so that they can interact and work together on a project.
 
The Global Scholars international virtual exchange program has connected more than 11,500 students in 51 cities.
 
“Think a virtual pen pal but with more structure by the teacher on a project,” Dr Ham explained.  
 
“The program has been running for over 10 years and at the point that I got involved, the team at Global Cities were designing a way for teachers to assess their students’ development of skills through blog posts,” she said. 
 
“They designed a set of student learning outcomes  – that we called a codebook – so that teachers could gain a better understanding of a range of skills, attitudes and values that their students had developed through their participation in the Global Scholars program.
 
“The reason this is significant is that although teachers teach skills like tolerance, acceptance of diversity, desire to engage with others in a positive product way to solve problems or being able to listen to someone else’s point of view, it is often really hard to assess students’ skills and then report them to parents in an acceptable way. Imagine as a teacher trying to tell a parent that you have assessed their child’s level of acceptance of others and that they failed!”  
 
Dr Ham said the Global Cities team attempted to address the gap and worked out a way for teachers to be one step closer to being able to report on some of those important skills.
 
“As experts in education, we know that if we ask a teacher to assess something, we need to make sure that the ‘something’ is included in the curriculum that a teacher is required to teach, otherwise, what’s the point?” she said.
 
“This is where I came in; I mapped the connection between the Global Cities Codebook to the Australian National curriculum of Year 7 Science.”

At the same time, a team from Kazakhstan and a team from the USA mapped a year level of a subject from their context using the codebook. 

According to Dr Ham, the process helped to both validate the usefulness of the codebook to a range of curriculums worldwide, and help unpack how such a mapping exercise might be done and why it could be useful when designing classroom activities and assessment tasks.
 
When she presents on the panel at the upcoming event in Washington from July 23-24, Dr Ham will be one of three experts explaining what they did and what was learnt.
 
“Our aim is to help the teachers and education specialists who work with Global Cities consider their own approaches for using the Codebook as a mapping tool, before they implement the Global Scholars program in their classrooms and schools and begin designing assessment for their students.”

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Mareeba Multicultural Festival’s new committee members and Kip Moore joins Savannah lineup.

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