As you can see, Generation Global has an incredibly important mission in mind with helping students to connect with each understand and to better understand differences across cultures. It’s an amazing resource and the fact that the entire service is completely free (at all levels, for all resources, and for all activities) just makes it that much better.
Within that overarching mission of helping students learn how to navigate difference, Generation Global focuses on three specific approaches:
- To equip teachers with resources to better prepare students with dialogue skills (all free)
- To connect students through a secure online platform to engage in dialogue
- To connect students through facilitated video conferences and/or cross-cultural dialogues with each other.
Currently over 40 different countries are involved with Generation Global and that number is growing every day. Whether a teacher just wants to use the CCSS-aligned Generation Global curriculum to help students improve dialogue skills, or if they want to go deeper and give their students the opportunity to begin having discussions with students around the world, these are all possible through their service.
And for teachers who might be nervous about the technical side of videoconferencing with other schools, they provide 1-on-1 support and training to prepare teachers, which of course, is also free. Plus, all video calls are facilitated by a trained Generation Global staff member, so you’ll always have someone there to assist as well.
Next, let’s take a look inside the application and see how everything comes together. One of the first places to check out as a teacher is the Resources page. You’ll find a ton of excellent curricular resources that you can use, regardless if you plan on using any other Generation Global features.
Each topic is broken down into multiple lessons, and the lessons are designed to be used with any grade level. In the Essentials of Dialogue module, you also get practice opportunities in order to better prepare your students to engage in online dialogues with other students, or to engage in videoconferencing.
All of the lessons are in PDF format and come with background information, discussion questions, worksheets, and are overall well-structured to facilitate classroom implementation.
Outside of the resources, you also have access to the Discover tab. This is where your students can engage with others in an online dialogue, and where you as the teacher can come to see what conversations are happening.
One thing that I love about Generation Global are their moderation procedures. Aside from having inappropriate words in nearly every language banned, Generation Global staff will also begin a conversation with any student who has attempted to post something rude or inappropriate.
The teacher will also be notified of this, and the Generation Global staff member will engage in a discussion to try and help the student explore other (less harmful) ways of expressing what they were trying to say.
There are always a variety of conversations going on, around a bunch of different topics (e.g. issues affecting women and girls, freedom of belief, etc.), and you can sign your students up for any conversation that you think would be beneficial for them to participate in.
They also have structured series of conversations that you can sign your students up to participate in called Team Topics. These are 4 week long events where students are put into groups and progress through a variety of discussions. They have new questions that go live every week, and they are grouped with different students from other classes around the world.
The final area of Generation Global that you can explore are the videoconferences. These videoconferences can facilitate up to 4 schools, or you can chat with a single partner school. All videoconferences are facilitated by a trained Generation Global staff member, and a technology test will be run before the conference begins to make sure there won’t be any connection issues (which is always incredibly frustrating, so it’s great to see they have some preventative measures in place).
There is also a lot of training and support offered here for teachers, as the Generation Global team has seen this area to be one where teachers are most nervous.
Finally, if you’re interested in reading more about Generation Global in action, they’ve got a great collection of case studies available so you can learn more.
Overall, I am a huge fan of Generation Global. Their mission of bringing students together to engage in dialogue across cultures is absolutely essential and the resources they have designed to facilitate these activities are top notch. Whether you’re just interested in using their resources to bring these skills into your own classroom, or if you’re wanting to give your students the opportunity to engage in text-based and video discussions with students around the world, they are ready to support you.
The fact this entire service, and all the resources are available completely free to teachers around the world only makes it more impressive. I absolutely recommend signing up for Generation Global and getting your students involved in these important and necessary conversations!
The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
I was not compensated for writing this review.