Using technology to communicate, collaborate and understand other cultures

Eva Brown is in her 33rd year of teaching, but she’s quick to point out that she’s still very much a student. Recognized as one of Microsoft Partners in Learning Canada’s Innovative Educators and recently certified as a Flat Classroom teacher, Brown believes that lifelong learning takes time and commitment, and that educators must use that time to pursue best practices.  This belief serves Brown well in her new role as a teacher of future educators, where she helps equip pre-service teachers with tools for a lifelong career — helping other learners on their journey.

In her previous role as head of a high school’s technology department, Brown used all the tools at her disposal to develop a collaborative, cross-cultural exchange between her students and students from the Fisher River Cree Nation, about 200 miles north of Winnipeg.

What is your proudest professional achievement?

I’m most proud of the work I’ve done in global education – using technology to communicate, collaborate and understand other cultures. This is what the Flat Classroom Project is all about. That principle formed the basis for our Building Global Opportunities Together — Anywhere, Anytime project, linking my students (in Winnipeg, Canada) to students from a very different environment (the Fisher River Cree Nation). Through technology, the students were able to learn together about the Treaties and Treaty Relationships of Canada’s First Nations. We combined technology with social studies to facilitate global education.

How can other educators implement what you’ve learned through this project?

The project requires determination and effort—not a budget. The collaboration can occur between classrooms, between communities, or between schools in different countries. Students will learn how to collaborate globally, no matter what the distance in the project. It is important to connect with other educators and find a cause—a real-world cause makes the learning real and rich!

What conditions must change in your country or region to better support education?

Curriculum is outdated in many areas, literacies such as global education and digital citizenship must become part of the mandatory curriculum. Teacher education must be overhauled to provide pre-service teachers with the technology skills and global education experience to infuse these 21st century skills into any curriculum.

What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?

Opportunities must be provided for pre-service teachers to ignite and grow their passion. Such opportunities include networking with business and industry, global educators, and technology companies. It would be so cool to see Microsoft, for example, providing the opportunity for pre-service teachers to participate in the Global Forum.

If you could give one educational tool to every child in the world, what would it be?

A collaboration tool, in whatever form that takes. We must work together.

Are you optimistic about the future of education?

In terms of teachers, I see a great deal of passion for education among pre-service teachers, but they need to see and experience enthusiasm from more experienced teachers.  In terms of education overall, I view global education as a source of peace, because once students work with students from other cultures, they become much more aware and appreciative of what their fellow students have to offer.

A collaborative, global education approach seems to reap many benefits. What unexpected results have you seen from this type of collaboration?

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Experience global collaboration
with the Partners in Learning Network!

Innovate in the classroom, help your students build the skills they need for the future—such as problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity—with Partners in Learning.

You’ll meet other innovative teachers for collaboration opportunities, get access to free teacher resources, and learn about great ways to improve your personal teaching practice using technology.

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About Eva Brown

Instructor/Developer, Teacher Education, Red River College School of Learning Innovation, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Microsoft Partners in Learning Innovative Educator
Eva Brown has been teaching for 32 years with a focus on technology.

Birthplace: Carman, Manitoba, Canada
Current residence: St. Andrews, Manitoba, Canada
Education: Bachelor of Education (University of Manitoba),  Masters in Education
(University of Manitoba), A.R.C.T. (Music/Organ Performance, University of Toronto), Certificate in Adult Education (CAE), Flat Classroom Certified Teacher,  Certificate in Emerging Technologies (April, 2012, University of Manitoba)
Websites I check every day: my PLN (personal learning network), and Palm Springs weather of course!
People who inspire me most: my husband and son, my students, my PLN
Favorite childhood memory: eating carrots from the garden
Next travel destination (work or pleasure): Palm Springs, California … always … my home away from home!
Favorite book: Failure is Not an Option, Gene Kranz
Favorite music: Jazz

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