February 5, 2013
The doctoral students assisted students in creating this lunar vehicle that is made from edible materials including cheese, sausage and bagels.
Texas Tech University students are taking the initiative to share their knowledge on a global level.
Through a program in the College of Education, doctoral students focus on science collaborations with students around the world.
The 22 students within the cohort collaborated on three different science inquiry projects: World Moon Project, designing instructional video games with college students in China; and building edible models of lunar vehicles with groups of high school students in Brazil.
The project lasted about six weeks and involved a lot of email communication and Skype sessions, allowing many opportunities for interaction.
Linda Cook, a doctoral candidate from Coppell, worked on all three projects and regularly worked with three college students in China and five high school students in Brazil.
“Within a global collaborative project, the learning outcomes reach far beyond the content addressed,” Cook said. “We each learned about cultural and time differences, the importance of clear and effective communication, empathy and the importance of humor in breaking cultural barriers.”
The students on each side of the collaboration learned about digital citizenship, collaboration, problem solving, creativity, professional ethics and responsibility. Language barriers and technical difficulties challenged the students, but through a combination of many types of communication students reached a mutual understanding and the projects were successful.
“I believe that the world would be a richer, safer, better place if more students engaged in global collaboration learning,” said Cook.
Denise Selmo, an elementary school teacher in São Palo, Brazil, agrees with Cook, and said she thinks that global learning has benefited her students in a way typical learning doesn’t. Texas Tech doctoral students assisted her students in creating a lunar vehicle that is made from edible materials including cheese, sausage and bagels.
Selmo’s students embraced the opportunity to not only learn about English, science and mathematics by building the replica, but they also learned about tolerance and understanding for other cultures.
“It helped my students increase vocabulary and helped them understand more of the American culture by working with the Texas Tech program,” Selmo said. “It has opened doors for me and my students by providing them with lessons they would not have learned without the program.”
Selmo and Cook both believe the project was a success and both would consider working in a program like this again.
“The lessons learned about cultural understanding were more than anything students could read in a textbook,” Selmo said. “It would be beneficial to all students to learn this way because it takes learning to a new level, a global level.”
The opportunity for doctoral students to participate in global collaboration occurs every year or two when the graduate class on using technology in scientific teaching is offered.
The College of Education at Texas Tech University offers a full range of programs, including eight doctoral degrees, 12 master's degrees and two bachelor's degrees with numerous specializations leading to careers in public or private education as teachers, professors, administrators, counselors and diagnosticians.
Programs in the college are housed in two departments. The Department of Curriculum and Instruction offers undergraduate programs leading to initial teaching certificates and graduate programs in bilingual education, curriculum and instruction, elementary education, language literacy and secondary education.
The Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership offers graduate programs in counselor education, educational leadership, educational psychology, higher education, instructional technology and special education.