Look around. The world is changing in incredible ways. Increasingly sophisticated and accessible technologies are driving social, political, environmental, and economic systems at an unprecedented rate. What does this extraordinary level of interconnectedness have to do with education?
Sure, foreign relations and trade have shaped the world for centuries if not millennia. But for the first time in history, individuals are competing for jobs and economic opportunities with those who may not be in their communities, states, or countries. Getting a job is increasingly a worldwide competition: it matters less and less if the person who can do the job is in Birmingham or Beijing or Beirut.
The global marketplace doesn't signal risk alone. It also holds a great deal of opportunity. Already one in five American jobs are tied to international trade. The number will continue to increase because foreign markets and sourcing represent the greatest growth opportunities for American businesses.
Beyond economic competitiveness, global collaboration is needed to avert national security risks, natural disaster damage, and global epidemics. And it's through collaboration that we can learn from other countries' school systems to improve our own. Connecting ideas globally drives innovations that can improve the livelihood of people throughout the world. Indeed, the reasons and ways people connect, compete, and collaborate around the world are nearly limitless.
Schools are preparing students for college, livelihood, and civic responsibilities. Some school systems today are training students how to succeed in this vastly interconnected world, while many more strive to do the same.
Global Learning is a new blog dedicated to the rapidly changing world and how school systems are keeping pace. This author, and my guest bloggers, will share research, policy analyses, and best practices drawn from American classrooms as well as school systems from around the world. I welcome comments, questions, and constructive debate.