STUDENTS: ONE LINK, ONE CLICK, ONE WORLD
Lene Jensby Lange
President of Global School Alliance
Hello, have you ever been to New Orleans? Or to a little village outside Hanoi and seen how they live there? Or to Auckland or to the capital of New Zealand? To a little Viking Ship Museum in Denmark? Or perhaps to Toronto?
Well that actually happened to me last year in the company of a bunch of young people across the Globe. And before I go futher I will just introduce myself. My name is Lene Jensby Lange. My day job is – and my big passion – running a consultancy in education reimagining what teaching and learning could look like and what our educational facilities and learning spaces could be.
But this year I am here to share another story that started back in March last year just after the conference in Bologna was cancelled. And it’s a story of youth connecting globally. Have a look!
(VIDEO STARTS – the blue text is video text)
One Link. One Click. One world.
When the world shut down
We linked up
Appreciating our diversity
Each week we find more connections
Let’s meet … us two brothers…from London
And become closer friends
From 35+ countries
Everyone has a seat at the table
LINK ONLINE LEARNERS – LOL
(LENE) So back when the lockdown started in all our countries I think a lot of us were worried about how this would affect young people.
Their daily lives had changed over-night. They couldn’t go to school. They couldn’t see their friends. They were stuck in their rooms. And stuck behind screens receiving education that was not perhaps at that time really suited for what we know about teaching and learning.
So that worry actually turned into the emergence of Link Online Learners. It’s a youth club. It’s an initiative of connecting young people.
It’s where we try to create a platform, hold a space for young people to meet each other. So while the world was closed, we wanted to open it up.
And for young people to see that there is still a whole big beautiful world out there that you can connect with.
There are new friends to be made. There are cultures to learn about. And most of all there ARE people who care about you and who enjoy your company and you showing up for these Link Online Learners sessions every week.
So I will let you hear from one of our participants, one of our young people Marko. Here you go Marko!
(Marko) Hi guys, I am Marko Ristoski.
|(Noor) Hi everyone. I am Noor from Saudi Arabia.
With LOL I speak freely,
it is where I express myself.
I am not shy anymore.
(Hannah) Hi everyone.
So why do I want to share Link Online Learners with you? Well, it’s actually pretty interesting what happened to us all last year.
Our buildings were taken away, our normal communities were taken away, our friendships – and it also took away geography really.
It took away our schedule and the way we typically manage time.
So when we look at school, when we take away time, place, and the people and the content really, what’s left? Or what steps into its place? And what we try to… it’s all about trying to make use of those constraints that we meet every now and then, which we definitely all faced the last year and will continue to do for a while.
And if we look at it here, we were able to go from a school that was either open or closed to a 24/7 accessibility.
Young people connecting online with learning resources and with each other. And we have a wonderful speaker, just after me, Amna from Pakistan, who has the most amazing story to share about that.
So we can go also from permanent – a permanent school you are part of – to being part of different things, temporary things or maybe something that pops up which can add to the richness of learning.
Also when Place is taken away from us – when we can’t go to a school building – the virtual world is there at our hands and available. And we can connect with all sorts of communities, all sorts of people.
People who share our interests and passions – and in this case people who are also really keen to learn about other cultures and to experience the world through the eyes of others.
And actually what we have each of us, which we think is normal and just our everyday life, is pretty exotic when somebody else looks at it, somebody that lives maybe in a completely different place on this little Globe that we share. Also that is a very good example of how this actually enables us to connect with a wider community.
With people we would have never met in real life, but now we can be friends, we can do things together.
And I am going to share with you some of the moments that really have stood out to me during this last year with Link Online Learners
and all the wonderful young people who are now part of my life and part of each others lives.
And as for the Content, the content of learning, I think we’ve had – at least in my country – not the same content as we would normally have in school. Sometimes it’s been a little bit reduced. But here we can add richness. We can use each other to provide that content to open up that curriculum. To let the world flow in and learn through the world, from the world through the eyes of each other.
So in the process we build compassionate global citizens. We practice communication. We practice collaboration skills. We practice what it means to be from different cultures. We talk about what is special to our culture, and what we eat, where we live, how we live and how things are. And we co-create things.
So there is so much to be learned. So many great 21st century skills that come out of this. This is part of why I wanted to share the story of Link Online Learners with you.
You can do something just on a national level if you don’t want to take your kids international. It also depends on the level of English.
We do this in English because that is the language that the founding group has in common, but it could be in other languages as well
if there are enough volunteers knowing that language and being able then to invite a group of kids who speak that language and feel that is (more) natural.
But really it goes so well with the young people using the English they have available to them where they are, and it’s just marvelous.
And I think we ARE able to understand each other just across so many countries. So there is no level of English that is necessary
– just maybe the most basic – and then it will grow from there. And the whole group is very accommodating and helpful.
I also wanted to share with you some of the highlights. Because it is not just about meeting each other. It is also about having those special moments that have become so rare the last year where the richness of experience in our lives has been really low.
We can’t go places, we can’t travel, we can’t be together and have those kinds of experiences.
We have had Jeff from Wisconsin who has a search and rescue dog showing us how that works. So we have met the dog and seen how it works. We have seen how students in New Orleans work on robotics and their robotics competitions and the amazing things they are able to do through project-based learning and technology that is applied – so (seeing) what they do in high school in New Orleans, in this particular high school.
We have had a band playing. We have had this international band with people from London, young kids from London, and I think we had some kids from Toronto involved, and North Macedonia.
And we had some wonderful students from New Zealand who decided to put together podcasts interviewing young people from other countries about their country, their culture and having everybody chip in and ask questions. And then they edit them. And there’s now a wonderful podcast series (This Global Life) that everybody can access and hear children talking to other children about their countries, their lives and what that means.ù
(ZOE) Hello Leute. My name is Zoe and I am from Germany.
Today I am here to present to you the 4th episode of our podcast This Global Life.
Every week a group of young individuals, including myself, gather together to further investigate the history, culture and lifestyles of a certain country.
This week we will be traveling to Italy. We have a large variety of students
from all around the world joining us each week, and we would love for you to be part of it.
So go ahead and sign up on the Link Online Learners website. Anyways, that’s all for me.
Grab a seat and enjoy!
(OLIVIA) Hi, my name is Olivia and I am from New Zealand.
Just expanding on what Zoe was saying we went around the group at the start of this weeks’ discussions and introduced ourselves,
just in the hopes that it will help you in hearing different accents and voices.
I am Olivia and I am from New Zealand
Hi I am Elliot. I am also from New Zealand in the same room as Olivia.
Hi I’m Aurora and I am from Italy.
Hi I’m Austin and I am from USA.
Hi I’m Hannah and I’m from the United States
Hi I’m Noah and I am also from the United States.
Hi I’m Noor. I’m from Saudi Arabia.
Hi I’m Zoe and I’m from Germany.
I am Gerry and I am Australian but in Canada.
Hi, I’m Sarah. I’m from Canada
(OLIVIA) Okay would anyone like to begin?
Pizza…..Isn’t it true that..
well do you guys think that we stole it?
Or does it seem like it’s… like when some thinks of pizza they still think of Italy?
What does it seem like?
(AURORA) So the feeling that most of the Italians have for pizzas around the world is that you didn’t steal it.
But we think that maybe it’s like a very bad thing when you put strange things on pizza.
Okay, in school, do you learn any languages, more than Italian?
(AURORA) Yeah, in school we usually learn English, (…) but in some high schools you try to learn other languages like Spanish and German or French…
(LENE) We also have some young people who are really into acting and film. And together they have formed a group in a breakout room in our Zoom space where they have written plays together.
So we have actually seen several plays during this last year where they have practiced. They have written it, they have practiced and then for the next session they would appear, sometimes dressed up and then they would play out their screenplay for us, in front of a live global audience….
***Videoclip THE PLAY***
A few hours later, Scrooge, missing his son…
– You’ll be stuck in the chains that your grief has built FOR ALL ETERNITY!!!
– All of this is going to bring you a very sad life Mr. Scrooge.
Really great acting. And that’s all over zoom.
You are in different parts of the world….
(LENE) So we have had young kids, teenagers, being able to act in front of others. Play their instruments. Sing. We have seen art that children have made. And we have just enjoyed each other’s company.
***Videoclip from Vietnam***
Hiiiiiii! Today we are going to have a tour to the centre of Hanoi.
We will go there by bus. Let’s go!!
Welcome to Ho Guom. These are traditional toys for children in Vietnam called Tò He
and they are made of clay. Okay so that’s it for todays’ tour.
Now we are going to go home by bus and hopefully not getting lost again.
See you online.
***Videoclip from Wellington***
Wellington I was fortunate enough to travel from my home city Auckland, New Zealand,
to the capital city Wellington for an economics class trip.
I feel very grateful to have such freedom of movement within Aotearoa. Wellington is a beautiful city that blends old and new beautifully seamlessly with impressive buildings, vibrant precincts and charming laneways and suburbs.
Wellington is renowned for it’s coffee. One of the most famous brands being Mojo.
It’s sort of amazing ;). Primarily though, Wellington is New Zealands capital and is home to the famous beehive building.
The actual name beehive is the executive wing of Parliament. Here we can see the parliamentary library which is the yellow building, and Parliament House where I later watched our politicians, including the prime minister Jacinda Arden, take each other one in political oratory in one of the final sittings before the election.
(LENE) I hope this has all given you a rough idea of what Link Online Learners is.
And back in March last year it took roughly 10 people and roughly 10 days to put it all together. And we are still running, and we can soon celebrate one years’ anniversary, having met more than 300 young people from more than 35 countries that have been part of a Link Online Learners global community in that time.
Our bigger vision is of course to encourage global citizenship. To build compassionate citizens that know how to collaborate. That already have a global network and who are able to see the world through the eyes of different cultures, different people and know that there is a big global family that you can collaborate with. Because our future takes all of us. And if you are interested in joining in any way, you are welcome as a volunteer. It is all on our website.
If you know any young person who would like to join, it is also on our website where they can sign up. It’s a weekly Tuesday club that they can join. And not least if this idea resonates with you in any way, also do take the idea and see how you can put it to work where you are and with the young people you work with so that we can connect them and bring them out of this isolation that this last year has been.
Thank you so much for your attention. And here are some Link Online Learner Goodbyes.
(Noor) This is how I say goodbye in Arabic. Bye!!
Awesome, bye, bye, so great to see you, see you later, I really enjoyed seeing you, thank you everybody, thank you, thank you, thank you….