ISSA 2008 Conference: All Classes Through Global Glasses

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Issa_logoImage courtesy of www.du.edu/issa/.

It was windy, all right: The icy gusts tearing across Lake Michigan threatened to hijack my breath and use it
for fuel on the short journey into the city. And I learned of the storied political
‘hot-air’ during excursions to Chicago’s
famous landmarks.

In addition to these blustery mainstays of the Midwestern
Capital, there were some new winds of change stirring at a hotel in the small
suburb of Itasca, Illinois this past weekend. At the 7th annual International Studies Schools
Association conference
, visionary educators, administrators, university
researchers, non-profit organizations, and others met to share best practices and coordinate efforts to
internationalize curricula and schools. My Wonderful World, along with National
Geographic Education’s Geography Action! program, participated as an exhibitor
and presenter to the gathering of more than 300 attendants.

It was a truly inspirational event. Andy Revkin and Jimmie
Briggs
, both New York-based journalists, delivered keynote addresses on the
climate crisis and the tragedy of child soldiers. Reformers, with titles like
“Director of Global Studies,” presented on a broad range of international
education topics, from integration of technology and new media techniques to
theoretical application to classroom praxis, with taglines like “social
networking for global understanding;” “complexity, adaptive change, and
globalizing education;” and “teaching about genocide.”

As a campaign to “give kids the power of global knowledge,”
it was focus on the issues that got My Wonderful World most excited about the
conference. Geography is, of course, a vital piece of any international studies
curriculum, and even makes sense as an overarching contextual framework for such a
curriculum. In many ways, “globalizing” the curriculum is synonymous with
infusing geography and the geographic perspective into the teaching of
traditional and new subject areas. The geographic lens enriches all subjects,
including history, earth science, economics and civics. And all the other “globalize
your school” initiatives, including international classroom connections, study
abroad and exchanges programs, and foreign language instruction, are grounded
within and complementary to a comprehensive geography curriculum.

We left the ISSA conference with a new set of like-minded
friends, an affirmed sense of empowerment, and a reenergized dedication to our
mission. If you met us at the conference, please drop us a line and tell us about your favorite parts of
the event. Also, look for me to feature some of the programs I encountered on
upcoming installments of the blog!

Sarah for My Wonderful World

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