Global education interconnects methods of teaching from worldwide systems to encourage the international development of environmental sustainability, as well as contribute toward fortifying global industries.
These educational initiatives prioritize global access to school from the primary to the university levels, instigating learning experiences that prepare students for multinational leadership roles. One such tool promoting globalization in education is Empatico. Regarding this, we recently had an interaction with Bijal Damani, an Indian educator who also happens to be the Global Empatico Connector. Please see her response and transcript from the interview below.
What’s the best way to define Empatico? What problems does it solve, for whom & how?
Empatico is a free tool for educators to connect their classrooms with others around the world. It is a comprehensive tool which combines everything needed for virtual connections: live video, file sharing, a partner classroom and scientifically well researched age specific activities. Empatico focuses on 6-11 years old because children at this age are old enough to understand their role in the world, but young enough to be positively influenced by the experiences. Empatico aims at sparking curiosity, kindness and empathy among children.
1] Strengthening Social and Emotional Learning
Unfortunately, in our schools we rarely get a chance to collaborate and understand what is happening in the classes around the world. There is so much to learn from our different cultures, food, religion, geographical locations, cities and landmarks, folktales – it is a rich heritage. So when classrooms connect, students realize that how each ones of us are different, yet similar to each other. This understanding prepares students to be more adaptive, open and empathetic to people from different cultures and backgrounds. Empatico activities help students learn and practice crucial life skills as perspective taking, critical thinking, cooperation and respectful communication. I believe, had this understanding been there in the adults, there will be no war or terrorism in this world.
2] Preparation to be part of diverse Future Workforce
The students who are in the age bracket of 6-11 years old right now, will be part of the global work force after 2030. As per OECD’s report on Skills for 2030 “Social and emotional skills, such as empathy, self-awareness, respect for others and the ability to communicate, are becoming essential as classrooms and workplaces become more ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse. Achievement at school also depends on a number of social and emotional skills, such as perseverance, efficacy, responsibility, curiosity.”
It is very important to provide these experiences to our students to prepare them for the future workplaces.
3] Peer Learning
When students learn about culture, folktale, geographic location, food, weather, social issues, festivals, family systems, schools and education system from their own peers it is more effective. I had the pleasure of connecting a classroom to teach about Weather by interacting with a students studying in school from 45 Degrees to -2 Degrees. Imagine the power of that lesson where students can ask questions to students in various weather conditions and get the answers first hand from them. Peer learning leaves an ever-lasting understanding for students.
On other occasion, my students in India connected with students in Australia, Egypt, Namibia, Malaysia and Greece to share the games students play. And I am glad to share that these students are now playing all the games shared by their peers.
4] Opportunity to travel : No passport needed
Many of our students do not have the opportunity to see new places, meet different types of people or learn about other cultures. While technology has come along way in connecting us, it can also start meaningful conversations and social interactions. By creating shared and engaging interactions for educators and students, Empatico believes we can spark a global movement to spread kindness and empathy around the world.
A government school children in Maharashtra, India connected to a private school in UAE and they had a lot to share and learn from one another.
5] Professional Development Opportunity for Teachers
Before connecting the classroom, teachers text or video chat to decide the flow of the classroom connection. It gives an opportunity to teachers to get connected with teachers from around the world and exchange notes on their classroom practices. Moreover, Empatico generates a Certificate for teacher, which can be part of teacher’s Professional Development Portfolio.
6] Building Relationships around the world
Empatico provides students and teachers with the opportunity to learn about different perspective and practice interpersonal skills that are crucial for building cross-cultural relationships later in life. Without a doubt, today’s youth will interact with many different types of people when they’re older. Interacting, cooperating and building relationships with people from different backgrounds and cultures will contribute to students’ success and to the success of our society as a whole.
How do I use Empatico in my classroom?
It is very easy to use Empatico in your classroom.
- Register on http://bit.ly/Empatico
- Fill all the details related to age of your students, days and time when you can connect and activities which interest you.
- Ask for Matching Your Classroom.
- A lot of classrooms that you can connect to will be offered to you. Send the Match Request to the ones, which you would like to connect.
- Once matched, talk (Chat or Video) to the teacher and decide the mutually convenient day , time and activity for Classroom Connection
- Connect your class for the activity mutually decided by both the teachers
- Reflect on the interaction (Very powerful stage to get student insights)
Why do teachers in different countries love it?
Teachers from around the globe love Empatico because it gives them a chance to bring excitement, fun and lot of critical thinking focused discussions in their classrooms. Not every teacher or child gets a chance to travel around the world, but Empatico gives them an opportunity to explore classrooms located in various parts of the world and interact with students to understand their culture. Not only that, teachers love it because all the activities are planned in detail and all the resources needed to run the activity are available. One does not need many resources to carry out this exchange. All teachers need is a laptop or mobile with camera, Wifi connection and a determination to give more than just textbook knowledge to their students. J
Best part of it all is Empatico is and always will be a FREE tool for teachers to use. Who wouldn’t love this great free global tool?
27,653 Educators , 32,950 Students from 143 countries are already onboard, connecting their classrooms.
What are Empatico’s expansion plans for India?
Empatico is a global tool available to all the teachers who would like to connect their classroom to any classroom around the world.
I, Bijal Damani as a Global Empatico Connector is helping spread the word about this amazing tool. Any teacher/principal or school administrator who is interested in adopting this tool for their school can get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org, join the Teachers Using Empatico Whatsapp Group http://bit.ly/EmpaticoTeacher.
Empatico provides many opportunities to teachers in form of various programs like Kindness Week, Kindness Champion Fellowship and many more. Currently, Empatico is available in English and Spanish but I am sure more languages will be added in the future.
I sincerely hope that all the teachers take advantage of this amazing free global tool, especially teachers from India should take up this opportunity to connect their classes globally at no cost. Empatico aims to reach more than 1 million children by end of 2020.
Empatico has already partnered with Teach For All, Ashoka Foundation, Teach SDGs, World’s Largest Lesson, NNStoy, Participate and Twitter to spread awareness about this tool across the globe.
When and how did your association with this start?
As an educator, I have always been active in spreading kindness in the community. Along with my students, I spearhead Social Entrepreneurship Project- Galaxy Bazaar which has raised more than ONE CRORE THIRTY LAKHS (INR 13 million) and donated the same to provide free quality education to girls from underprivileged section of the community. So I when I got to know about Empatico, I believed we shared a common vision. So I have been helping in spreading a word about this tool to teachers around the globe.
Who would you call your competitors? And how are you different?
There may be many video conferencing tools but Empatico is a safe enclosed platform which provides everything that a teacher needs for connecting the classroom – video , detailed activities, software to match the class as per the age, grade, time and activity preference. Secondly, Empatico has been created by Kind Foundation with a very clear objective: to spark curiosity, kindness and empathy for a better tomorrow. It is and will always be a FREE tool for educators and students .
What according to you are the skills that can make students future ready?
Schools and educators have a very challenging job of preparing students for a job which may not even be existing at the moment. But based on World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, I believe following skills will help students survive and success in future.
- Adaptability : An ability id changing with the change
- Creativity : Thinking Out of the Box
- Analytical Thinking : Logical decision making
- Curiosity : Learning to learn
- Diversity and Cultural Intelligence: An ability to work and thrive in a team from diverse culture
- EQ : Empathy and Integrity ,
- Technological Knowledge
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