Growing Up Global: Will it Leave a Mark on the Human Psyche?

Men often hate each other because they fear each other;
they fear each other because they don’t know each other;
they don’t know each other because they can not communicate;
they can not communicate because they are separated.”
~~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

What do you think?


“Global Computer Networking” courtesy of cuteimage /

When I first read these words, I immediately started wondering: Will our students’ ability to connect and collaborate on a global scale eventually help to dissolve human conflicts and overcome such hate and fear? Will students who regularly communicate and form relationships with students of different cultures and lifestyles become any more tolerant and understanding than those who don’t?

“People Joining Hands” courtesy of Apple’s Eyes Studio /

Our students are clearly ‘growing up global’ in a connected world — where those of us in North America regularly chat with others already in “tomorrow”, where inspiring Korean commercials can be viewed on YouTube around the world, and global projects like the Travelling Rhino project see students in classrooms around the world all working to help solve the very same issue.

“Global Computer Networking” courtesy of cuteimage /

As educators create and conduct more and more new global activities and projects, and as we invite world-wide student participation and collaboration, what are we learning about the effects they are having on our students’ values and beliefs? Am I just acting on some blind belief or vague assumption that these things are good for my students?? Or is there some solid body of evidence which proves this is true? What can we do to monitor and provide evidence of what is happening as a result of these global connections — if indeed, there even is any change?!?


“Islamic Prayer” courtesy of tiverylucky /

They say that when the astronauts sent back pictures of that first human view of Earth from space, it forever changed our collective perception of Planet Earth as “Home”.


“3D Earth” courtesy of chrisroll /

And I have to wonder: Like seeing the planet from space for the very first time, will ‘growing up global’ also leave its indelible mark on the human psyche? Will growing up globally connected help to create a new generation who take it for granted that we are all one connected people who must resolve our differences to work and live together as we journey through space and time on this tiny blue planet?

As our population increases and our access to resources decreases, will growing up global and learning in a connected global classroom make any difference at all to the human ability to overcome fear and hate, and to solve problems together?

2416550113_d663e89311_z“Holding Hands” by Kevin under CC License BY-NC-SA

What can we do to help make it so?

There are no magic answers, no miraculous methods
to overcome the problems we face, just the familiar ones: 
an honest search for understanding, education, organization, and action…. 
…inspired by the hope of a brighter future.
~~Noam Chomsky

Please join the Global Classroom Project and #GlobalClassroom Chats if you are interested in discussing and working with others on these issues.



About Cathy Beach

Recently retired elementary teacher and outdoor educator in rural Ontario, Canada. My Olympic Journeys may be over, but they lead me into some very exciting adventures with teachers and kids and the world of connected learning...
This entry was posted in 21st Century Learning, Change, education, technology. Bookmark the permalink.

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