Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Globalized Perspective: Awareness, Participation, and Conversation

One of the greatest assets of globalization is the connection across borders between people. How would those who speak different languages, whose limits on travel or sharing of experiences connect with others? Certainly, aspects of globalization demand us to question motives of commercialization, capitalism, and autonomy. However, in view of the connections between people and ideas, globalization offers the opportunity for awareness-raising and for learning about issues, ideas and ways to participate on a world-wide front.
The emphasis is on the individual's "self-initiated, non-hierarchical participation" (Castro, Danker, Delacruz, Fuglestad, Roland & Stokrocki, 2011, p. 38) that establishes a place from which communication, collaboration and connection can occur. The act of putting one's self out on a network, be it Twitter, Facebook, online websites such as Art Ed 2.0, one's own website, or creating a wiki through which others can connect and share, requires an element of risk. Will anyone respond to my ideas? Will anyone really care? Or, even care enough to respond and share their ideas? Establishing communities of practice requires more than just a lurking presence on a site. Engaging means asking questions, adding feedback or additional resources to a thread of conversation, allowing others to learn from, and question our experiences. The dialogue that ensues is essential for participation in communities of practice.

I would say I have learned almost everything via Twitter--or more specifically from the amazing educators, thinkers, artists, scientists, researchers and compassionate givers on the network. I follow more than those in education, as I see the links to big ideas and questions that reside in multiple avenues of thought. How can I limit my thinking, if I demand a greater perspective from my students? How can I best provide them with the wealth of resources that are available, if I don't access all that is in the world "at our fingertips?" It requires of me a certain multi-tasking, strategic process in order to keep these learning tools available--thus the "hashtag" and the notes to self! I communicate via Instagram in order to document all that is happening: my goal this year is to create a mini-book that visually documents our journey. However, the images share my process with others that spur conversation and ignite other possibilities for my students as well as others'. Just as this process of documenting our learning on "e-Learning" via the University of Florida network, we are capable of collaborating through our shared postings on Facebook (UFArtEd) as well as on Art Ed 2.0. My collection served as a tool for a prior class, but I continue to access the annotated links and share with others in other networks (

How can we best demonstrate the respect that enables people of different backgrounds, experiences and aspirations to come together and learn in a positive, constructive manner? The conversations we have enable us to think in broader terms and share best practices in order to improve the quality of the education we provide, as well as build on the practice of art education on a global scale. The most important part of this process is remembering that while we share the same network, our value and cultural systems may be different. That's what we teach to our students as they build on their experiences with each other through art.

Castro, J.C., Danker, S., Delacruz, E. M., Fugelstad, T., Roland, C., & Stokrocki, M. (2011). Do-it-Yourself professional development through online personal learning networks as a 21st century form of self-initiated, non-hierarchical participation in communities of practice. Canadian Art Journal, 9(2), 38-53.


  1. You raise some interesting points and questions Samantha, on a topic that has been on my front burner for some time now. One question in particular tweaked my interest: "How can we best demonstrate the respect that enables people of different backgrounds, experiences and aspirations to come together and learn in a positive, constructive manner?" You point to Twitter as your most enlightening resource. My question for you (and others) is just how diverse is your flock of followees? Do you intentionally seek out, for example, (art) educators from other countries and cultures to follow on Twitter? Do you (or other art teachers) engage in curriculum projects that cross over cultural boundaries? What are the benefits of such endeavors for ourselves and our students? What challenges do we face in making such experiences happen and worthwhile?

  2. You've got me thinking, ... I need to do some research! Thanks for commenting... I will be back :)