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K-12 Technology
Global Pen Pals

Nov 15, 2016 2016-11-15

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Digital Pen Pals for Global Dialogues

A program called Generation Global, part of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, focuses around the skills of dialogue for adolescents aged 12–17. Teachers interested in using Generation Global first must register their schools with the program. Then they can access free lesson plans to introduce the basics of dialogue. Students practice dialogue skills, such as active listening and speaking from the “I” perspective, with one another in class. After students have been introduced to the skills involved in productive dialogue, the teacher can set up various types of interactions with classes in one of the 20 countries where schools have signed up for Generation Global. Teachers can choose a one-to-one dialogue with another class, or they can choose to participate in a multipoint dialogue, where up to four classes are participating. All the dialogues are moderated by a trained facilitator who keeps the conversation moving, helps students get past the awkward beginning, and makes sure that everyone feels safe within the dialogue. The dialogues are all in English. Additionally, Generation Global has a secure online feature that allows two classes to commit to a longer dialogue on a series of questions. The site groups students for a more intimate experience, and they respond to one another in writing. Teachers and facilitators can see all these interactions, and the technology offers teachers a dashboard on their students’ participation.

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