Two new(ish) ideas

Germs of ideas…could make good PhD theses for someone…

  1. ‘International Forum’ for each university department: all students are invited to (and maybe get credit for) a forum where they can openly discuss how questions, issues and ideas in their discipline are addressed in their own country or culture. This could start out with discussion of how the home country approaches the discipline and higher education generally, and then move on to topics in the discipline. Students would have ownership of the forum, but staff would also be involved to learn from what the students say and contribute their own insights.
  2. Pairing primary and secondary school classes up with other classes around the world: as a very big idea, this would be part of the national curriculum (and countries worldwide would be encouraged to take part by some likely international body). Each school year the class would be paired with a class in a different country, and perhaps be given a general type of interaction as befitted the age of the students; for example, younger students might exchange drawings and photos of their school, home, local shops, etc. while older students could talk about cultural events or explore social norms. It would be hoped that the regularity of the interactions would, over time, help the students to approach each other without judgment or preconception, and thus by the time they got to the harder topics would not need a lot of scaffolding to treat each other respectfully. As much of this interaction would be done online (live video, shared multimedia spaces, blogs, apps, etc.) this would also be an opportunity to develop digital skills and digital literacy, explicitly and implicitly. There are plenty of examples of this type of thing as a one-off, but a sustained approach would be very interesting…
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