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Edcommons panel

Educators from Roosevelt and University of Southern Queensland brainstorm on meaning of being a global educator

Posted: 04/17/2012

While they may be oceans apart, students and alums from Roosevelt’s College of Education have found that a meeting of minds is entirely possible with peers as far away as the University of Southern Queensland in Australia.

Using the latest in technology, teachers and prospective teachers from the two institutions recently brainstormed together via video-conferencing over what it means to be a global educator. In all, 25 current College of Education students and two alums, Lamont Holifield and Jan Mulqueeny (pictured above), both teachers in the Chicago area, were part of the discussion.

EduPanel

The two sides – one in Toowoomba, Australia (at right), and the other in Room 407 of Roosevelt’s Gage Building (above) – agreed that diversity and personal relationships are critical if global education is to thrive.

“There was a lot of common ground on the issue,” said Judith Gouwens, a Roosevelt professor of education and one of the organizers of the panel discussion that connected educators in what’s known as an Education Commons.

“It was very exciting and motivating for people so physically far apart to be able to exchange ideas on an important issue that affects all of us in the teaching field today,” she said.

The Education Commons concept was first developed at the University of Southern Queensland by its professors Karen Noble and Robyn Henderson, also a visiting professor at Roosevelt in 2010.  The two envisioned it as a way to bring students into the education profession before they actually take to the classroom.

“We’ve had these kinds of meetings for years now, connecting educators and students all over Australia, but it’s the first time we’ve organized a panel engaging teachers and prospective teachers from completely different parts of the globe,” Henderson said.

The hour-long discussion, held April 10, was such a success that Gouwens and Henderson, research partners who have studied the issue of migrant education in Illinois, are planning for another Education Commons in the near future.

“We have a lot of students who have no real international experience and this kind of meeting is helping to open the door to the world for them,” said Gouwens.