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A Working Committee Report December 2023

Empowering Education: Overcoming Socioeconomic Barriers through Technology

Recommendation on a Unit of Study for Global Competence


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Table of Contents

Exploring Global Issues in Medemer Academy

Recommendations to the School

Choosing a Topic

Group Reflection








Assessment Narrative


School Setting



Unit Plan

Assessment of Core Concepts

Bringing it Together

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This unit plan is a strategic response to the urgent need for equitable education amidst global socioeconomic disparities. Grounded in the ethos of fostering inclusivity, leveraging technology, and promoting global competence, this curriculum aims to transcend boundaries, empower students, and cultivate critical skills for the 21st century. The primary impetus behind this unit plan is to address the entrenched barriers that socioeconomic factors pose to quality education. Recognizing the persistent disparities in access and resources, the curriculum seeks to bridge these gaps by harnessing technology as an equalizer. By integrating Genial.ly, an innovative tech tool, the plan endeavors to democratize learning, ensuring that all students, irrespective of their backgrounds, have access to a rich, interactive educational experience. At its core, this curriculum aims to foster global competence among students. It aspires to equip learners with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes essential for engaging effectively and responsibly in an interconnected world. Through collaborative learning, cross-cultural interactions, and exploring global issues, students are encouraged to deeply understand diverse perspectives and cultivate the skills necessary for active global citizenship. Recognizing the transformative potential of technology in education, the unit plan strategically integrates digital tools to enhance engagement, collaboration, and creativity. By leveraging technology, the curriculum addresses the digital divide and prepares students for a tech-driven future. In summary, this curriculum empowers students by addressing socioeconomic barriers, nurturing global competence, and integrating technology, ensuring they are equipped to thrive in a diverse, interconnected world.

School Setting

Location and Size


Cultural Influences

Community Engagement

Economic Diversity

Environmental Focus

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Finance and Innovation - Green Technology

Choosing a Topic:Global Issues, Perspectives & Perceptions, and Local Concerns

Citizenship - Refugees

Health - Mental Health Awareness

Table 1 - Further Exploration of the Topic

Education - Socio-economic Inquality & Technology

1 / 10

0 / 10

5 / 10

Environment - Water & Sanitation

2 / 10

2 / 10

As a dedicated work group tasked by the school's administration to select a focal point for a unit on Global Competence, we faced a challenging decision-making process. The array of critical global issues made it hard to pinpoint a single focus. Through thorough brainstorming sessions encompassing multifaceted topics like environment, health, citizenship, and education, we narrowed down our choices. After an engaging discussion and deliberation, we presented a few top contenders and conducted a . Eventually, the collective voice led us to our chosen focus: 'Education - Socio-economic Inequality & Technology.'This topic resonated strongly with our team, signifying a crucial nexus where global disparities meet technological solutions, aligning perfectly with our goal of fostering global competence among our students.


Assessment of the Global Focus

Having chosen the global issue of 'Education - Socio-economic Inequality & Technology', we sought to understand the influence of global and cultural events on this issue. Additionally, we examined what specific values and attitudes, skills, and behaviors students should possess to achieve global competency. Moreover, we scrutinized the role of technology, evaluating how it either impeded or propelled efforts to address this critical topic.

Core Concepts: What global and cultural events affect this issue?

Values and Attitude: How do we know students have developed the values and attitudes needed to address global citizenship

Skills: How do we know students have developed the skills needed to become globally competent?

Behaviors: How do we know students have developed the behaviors needed to become globally competent?

Technology: How has technology hindered or enhanced addressing the topic?

View in Table Format

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Bringing It Together

In synthesizing the details encapsulated within Tables 1 and 2, by exploring the impact of socio-economic inequality on education and the role of technology in enhancing educational access, we embark on a journey to distill a comprehensive framework. This synthesis aims to seamlessly weave together the key ideas from these tables, along with infusing the core competencies of Global Competence by Boix Mansilla & Jackson (2011). Our objective was to uncover and articulate the key values, attitudes, skills, and behaviors essential for students undertaking a deep exploration of our topic. By merging these sources and competencies, we seek to outline a holistic approach to empower students on their journey towards global competence and understanding.

In amalgamating the multifaceted perspectives embedded within the tables with the foundational competencies of Global Competence, a coherent framework emerges. This synthesis underscores the critical values of empathy, open-mindedness, and respect for diverse perspectives. It emphasizes the importance of 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, effective communication, and collaboration across diverse boundaries. Moreover, this union integrates the essence of the four competencies by Boix Mansilla & Jackson (2011), challenging students to investigate the world, recognize perspectives, communicate effectively with diverse audiences, and take action to drive positive change. As students engage with this unit, the cultivation of these values, attitudes, skills, and behaviors stands as a testament to their enriched global competence and their preparedness to navigate and positively impact our interconnected world.

Empathy & Open Mindedness

Effective Communication & Collaboration

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Cultural Competency & Global Awareness

Adaptability & Collaboration

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Values & Attitudes: Developing empathy towards diverse perspectives and cultures, coupled with an open-minded approach, signifies an ability to understand and appreciate different worldviews (Meens, 2017). Behaviors: Demonstrating respect for diverse cultures, perspectives, and backgrounds, exhibiting openness, tolerance, and appreciation for different viewpoints and traditions (Colvin & Edwards, 2018).

Values & Attitudes: Encouraging critical thinking about global issues and analyzing information from various sources to propose solutions reflects proactive engagement in addressing global challenges (Danju & Uzunboylu, 2016). Skills: Developing 21st-century skills by analyzing complex global issues, considering multiple perspectives, and evaluating information to make informed decisions. Identifying biases, cultural influences, and potential solutions to global challenges (Asia Society & OECD, 2018). Global Competence Competency: Students investigate the world beyond their immediate environment by exploring various global issues and understanding their complexities (Boix Mansilla & Jackson, 2011).

Values & Attitudes: Engaging in respectful communication across cultural boundaries, actively listening, and expressing thoughts clearly are essential skills for collaborating on global issues (Dauber & Spencer-Oatey, 2023). Skills: Developing 21st-century communication and collaboration skills by communicating ideas clearly and respectfully across cultures and contexts. Working effectively in diverse teams, understanding and respecting different viewpoints to achieve common goals (Global Competence Associates, 2023). Global Competence Competency: Students recognize perspectives, others’ and their own by actively engaging with diverse viewpoints and fostering an understanding of differing cultural perspectives (Boix Mansilla & Jackson, 2011).

Values & Attitudes: Acknowledging and valuing differences in cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds without prejudice or bias indicates a genuine respect for diversity (Akkari & Maleq, 2020). Skills: Fostering 21st-century cultural competency and global awareness by understanding and respecting cultural differences, being open-minded, empathetic, and adaptable in diverse settings. Staying informed about global issues, trends, and events (UNESCO, 2023). Global Competence Competency: Students communicate ideas effectively with diverse audiences by being proficient in engaging and conveying their thoughts across different cultural contexts (Boix Mansilla & Jackson, 2011).

Behaviors: Demonstrating adaptability and flexibility in diverse situations, being comfortable navigating various environments, adjusting to new cultures, and embracing change (Colvin & Edwards, 2018). Skills: Enhancing 21st-century skills by engaging in effective collaboration across cultural boundaries, forming meaningful connections and networks with individuals from diverse backgrounds (Global Competence Associates, 2023). Global Competence Competency: Students take action to improve conditions by applying their learning to make a positive impact on local or global issues (Boix Mansilla & Jackson, 2011).

Part 2 - Exploring Genial.ly and its Potential

Part 4 - Ethical Reflection and Improvement

Global Competence Unit Plan

Part 3 - Designing Solutions with Genial.ly

Part 1 - Understanding Socioeconomic Barriers

Title: "Empowering Education: Overcoming Socioeconomic Barriers through Technology"

Goal: To explore the impact of socio-economic inequality on education and discover ways technology can enhance educational access.


MYP Unit Planner

Goals / Demonstration

Assessment Narrative





  • Explain what socioeconomic barriers are in schooling.
  • Examine case studies that illustrate the difficulties people encounter in various socioeconomic situations.
  • Assign research projects to get data regarding the effects of these barriers.
Development of:
  • Empathy and Open-Mindedness: Develop empathy towards diverse perspectives and cultures.
  • Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving: Encourage critical thinking about global issues, proposing solutions.


  • Present Genial.ly as a tool for creating interactive content.
  • Provide students with interactive workshops to investigate Genial.ly features.
  • Discuss and analyze examples of how technology, including Genial.ly, has been used to address educational inequalities.
Development of:
  • Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving: Engaging students in analyzing Genial.ly's functionalities and ethical discussions, fostering proactive thinking to propose solutions.
  • Effective Communication and Collaboration: Encouraging communication across diverse contexts and teamwork during peer collaboration and group activities.


  • Divide students into groups of five and give scenarios that illustrate how socioeconomic constraints affect education.
  • Assist students in creating interactive solutions to the problems they've discovered using Genial.ly.
  • Assist with peer review and editing.
Development of:
  • Cultural Competency and Global Awareness: Embracing diversity without bias, fostering open-mindedness and adaptability across different cultures.
  • Adaptability and Collaboration: Encouraging flexibility and effective collaboration across diverse backgrounds for innovative problem-solving.


  • Engage students in discussions about the ethical considerations of using technology to address educational inequalities.
  • Showcase their efforts and insights in presentations that conclude the unit.

Hover for Goals Click for Demonstration

Assessment Narrative

Purpose of Assessment in General:



Special Education

Political, Social & Psychological Factors

Cultural & Linguistic Bias


Assessment serves a fundamental purpose in education by gauging student progress, understanding, and mastery of specific learning objectives (Ronan, 2015). Formative assessments, occurring throughout learning, offer insight into ongoing progress and guide instructional adjustments (Lamprianu & Athanasau, 2009). They allow teachers to adapt their teaching strategies to suit student needs, fostering a more effective learning environment (SanBdoCitySchools, 2015).However, there are aspects and concerns associated with assessments:

Fair & Balanced


Types of Assessment:

Ensuring fairness and balance in assessment involves creating instruments that measure learning objectives accurately without bias (Looney, 2011). It's crucial to avoid favoritism toward certain groups or methods of learning, allowing all students an equal opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills (Ronan, 2015).

Assessments in special education require tailored approaches (Looney, 2011). These assessments must accommodate diverse needs, offering alternative formats and supportive structures to ensure equitable evaluation (Lamprianu & Athanasau, 2009).

Standards provide a framework for assessment, setting benchmarks that clarify expected learning outcomes (Looney, 2011). However, it's crucial to strike a balance between standardized assessments and personalized learning, acknowledging that students may demonstrate understanding and skills in various ways (Ronan, 2015).

Diagnostic assessments are conducted at the beginning of a new course, grade level, or unit of study. They aim to gauge students' existing knowledge, skills, and understanding in a specific subject area. These assessments help teachers identify students' strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to tailor their teaching strategies to meet the diverse needs of their students (Ronan, 2015). They are low-stakes tests designed to uncover misconceptions and errors in a narrow sub-domain, providing teachers with quick insights into students' understanding (Lamprianu & Athanasau, 2009).

Formative assessments occur throughout the learning process and aim to track students' progress toward specific learning goals. These assessments help teachers understand how students are advancing in their learning and allow for adjustments in teaching methods to better facilitate student understanding (Ronan, 2015). They involve various types, such as selected-response, constructed-response, and performance assessments, and employ tools like exit slips, graphic organizers, and self-assessments (Ronan, 2015). Formative assessments engage students in their learning process, encouraging reflection, discussions, and inquiry-based learning (Common Sense Education, 2016).

Summative assessments occur at the end of a course, unit, or academic period and evaluate students' overall understanding and mastery of the material. They measure the extent to which students have achieved specific learning objectives or standards. Unlike formative assessments, summative assessments focus on outcomes and often take the form of traditional tests or projects. However, the emphasis is shifting towards making these assessments more authentic, relevant, and varied (Looney, 2011; Lynch, 2016). These assessments provide valuable data for system monitoring and improving teaching and learning (Looney, 2011).

Assessment instruments must be sensitive to cultural and linguistic diversity to prevent inherent biases that might disadvantage particular groups (Lamprianu & Athanasau, 2009). Creating assessments that consider various cultural perspectives and language nuances ensures a fair evaluation of students' abilities, irrespective of their backgrounds (Lee & Shin, 2020).

Political, social, and psychological factors can influence assessment outcomes (Looney, 2011). External pressures, societal expectations, and students' psychological states can impact their performance. Educators need to navigate these influences to create an assessment environment that supports students' well-being while accurately measuring their progress (Looney, 2011).

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Recommendations to the School

The main goal of this section is to improve the learning process' effectiveness and inclusiveness (Dighe, 2000). These suggestions are designed to create an atmosphere in which learners may interact with the material in a meaningful way, teachers can provide engaging and adaptable instruction, and the unit's main goals can be accomplished effectively and thoroughly. Now let's explore the particular areas of emphasis that make up the main body of these recommendations.

  • According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. (2012), the school needs to ensure that they have a strong, dependable internet connection and provide access to resources so that students can collaborate online, conduct research online, and use Genial.ly at all times.
  • The school needs to make reforms to the workshops for professional development to help teachers (Asia Society/OECD, 2018) become more adept at using Genial.ly for teaching and address various socio-economic differences.
  • The management team has to encourage collaboration between facilitators of different subjects so that the unit plan can be integrated into a variety of disciplines to promote a multidisciplinary learning environment.
  • It is vital to establish a system for keeping track of students' progress during the unit. Schedule frequent feedback meetings with teachers and students (Gay and Kirkland, 2003), to discuss any issues concerning the completion of the project. This will ensure proper implementation and management of the unit and its deliverance.
  • The teachers alway need to make sure the lesson plan takes into account the students' varied backgrounds and experiences (Brisk et al., 2002) and modified accordingly to fit in the context of which the lesson is being carried out. Facilitators need to include material that offers a global outlook on overcoming socioeconomic barriers and modify activities to meet student differences (Dighe, 2000).

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Transcending geographical borders, time zones, and cultural barriers to unite as a cohesive force.

Thank you for your time, and consideration reading our report.

Group Reflection

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Why is this topic worthy of exploration?Addressing socio-economic inequality in education due to poverty, gender disparities, cultural barriers, and global pandemics, while exploring the role of technology in enhancing educational access, is crucial within a middle school curriculum. Understanding these complex issues fosters empathy, awareness, and a sense of responsibility towards promoting equitable education for all. For instance, delving into how lack of access to education perpetuates cycles of poverty and examining how technology can bridge these gaps.Perspectives and Perceptions:Incorporating the study of socio-economic inequality in education through the lens of technology encourages students to explore diverse perspectives. They can delve into how socio-economic factors, gender biases, cultural norms, and global crises impact educational access and opportunities. Discussing varying viewpoints fosters critical thinking, empathy, and understanding of the challenges faced by marginalized communities. For example, examining how cultural beliefs affect educational opportunities for girls in certain societies.Local Concerns:Within the context of Education and Socio-economic Inequality, students can explore local concerns related to educational disparities in Southern California. This exploration involves understanding how poverty, cultural diversity, and access to technology influence educational opportunities in the community. Engaging in discussions and activities empowers students to advocate for educational equity, promote technological literacy, and support initiatives that bridge the digital divide. For instance, organizing fundraisers or donation drives to provide technology resources for underprivileged students or volunteering in local educational programs aimed at bridging socio-economic gaps.

Option 3: Environment - Water & Sanitation

The community exhibits economic diversity, with a range of income levels. This diversity is evident in the housing landscape, which includes both suburban homes and apartment complexes. Medemer Academy prioritizes inclusivity, ensuring that all students, regardless of their socioeconomic background, have access to quality education.

Economic Diversity

Part 4 - Ethical Reflection and Improvement

The objective of the last part of the unit is to facilitate reflection and evaluation among students regarding the ethical dimensions inherent in the use of technology to tackle educational disparities. Through critical examination and introspection, students will delve into the ethical considerations associated with employing technological solutions to address inequalities in education (Brey, 2006). Students will be actively engaged in in-depth discussions that probe the ethical implications of utilizing technology as a tool to combat educational inequalities. These discussions will serve as a platform for students to explore and analyze the multifaceted ethical aspects linked to employing technology in educational settings, fostering a deeper understanding of its complexities.As a culmination of their learning journey, students will showcase their endeavors and insights acquired throughout the unit in presentations. These presentations will serve as a comprehensive platform for students to exhibit their understanding of ethical considerations and the application of technology in addressing educational disparities. It will provide an opportunity for them to articulate their perspectives, share their innovative solutions developed using tools like Genial.ly, and present their critical reflections on the ethical implications of employing technology for educational equity. This part concludes by highlighting the students' comprehensive grasp of the ethical intricacies associated with technology-based solutions for educational inequalities. Their presentations not only represent the culmination of their efforts but also emphasize their critical reflections and insights garnered, signifying their enhanced ethical awareness in utilizing technology for societal advancement within educational realms.

Why is this topic worthy of exploration?Introducing Green Technology, a facet of Finance & Innovation, into a middle school curriculum aligns with Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). This global issue combines financial literacy with innovation for a sustainable future. Understanding green technology, such as solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles, instills a mindset of responsible consumption, innovation, and financial decision-making that positively impacts the environment. It empowers students to envision and create solutions for a more sustainable world, connecting financial choices with environmental responsibility.Perspectives and Perceptions:Incorporating Green Technology within a middle school curriculum enables students to explore diverse perspectives on sustainability and innovation. They can delve into how financial choices and technological innovations, like smart grids and energy-efficient appliances, influence environmental impacts. Encouraging critical thinking about these perspectives nurtures creativity, problem-solving skills, and a deep understanding of the role of finance and innovation in addressing global environmental challenges. For example, examining how the adoption of electric vehicles affects not only personal transportation but also contributes to reduced carbon emissions on a larger scale.Local Concerns:At the heart of a unit on Finance & Innovation lies an exploration of local concerns related to green technology. Students can investigate how their community engages with sustainable practices, such as recycling programs, green building initiatives, and the implementation of solar energy in local businesses. This exploration involves understanding the significance of renewable energy sources, waste management, and the implementation of eco-friendly technologies locally. By engaging in projects and discussions, students become advocates for green technology adoption, contributing to a more environmentally conscious society. For instance, exploring how local businesses incorporate sustainable practices, like utilizing green building materials or adopting energy-efficient technologies, directly impacts the community's ecological footprint.

Option 4: Finance and Innovation - Green Technology

Given California's commitment to environmental sustainability, Medemer Academy actively engages in eco-friendly practices. The school participates in recycling programs, promotes water conservation, and has a school garden. Students are involved in projects addressing local environmental challenges, aligning with the state's emphasis on ecological responsibility.

Environmental Focus

In the pursuit of creating an inclusive and impactful learning environment, understanding the effectiveness of assessment strategies is paramount. Within the context of our unit centered on socio-economic barriers in education and the utilization of Genial.ly as a solution tool, various formative assessment strategies play a pivotal role.

Formative Assessment Strategies

Feedback Loops

Peer Collaboration Assessment

Reflective Journals or Discussions

Workshop Activities

Question and Answer Sessions

These sessions serve to gauge comprehension levels and stimulate deeper inquiries among students. In the context of this unit, Q&A sessions are pivotal in clarifying concepts regarding socio-economic barriers and technology's role in education. Engaging students in thoughtful discussions nurtures critical thinking, allowing them to delve deeper into the subject matter.

Through workshops encompassing various activities, discussions, quizzes, and exit slips, ongoing understanding and engagement are assessed at different stages of Genial.ly exploration and solution design. These activities not only evaluate students' grasp of technological tools but also measure their ability to apply this knowledge to tackle socio-economic challenges in education.

Reflective journals or discussions centered on personal connections and gained insights serve as a potent assessment tool. These reflections provide a platform for students to articulate their understanding of socio-economic barriers, technology's impact, and their personal connections to the subject matter, offering valuable insights into their comprehension.

The consistent monitoring and provision of feedback during project creation, revision stages, and ethical discussions are instrumental in guiding students throughout the unit. This formative assessment strategy ensures that students receive guidance, corrections, and reinforcement at critical junctures, aiding in the refinement of their ideas and ethical considerations.

Assessing the effectiveness of student collaboration within groups during solution designing is crucial. Observing how students collaborate, communicate, and contribute within their groups sheds light on their teamwork skills, problem-solving approaches, and adaptability, all of which are fundamental in addressing socio-economic barriers through Genial.ly-based solutions.

Part 2 - Exploring Genial.ly and its Potential

Workshop 2: Exploring Advanced Features

Workshop 4: Real-World Applications

Workshop 3: Real-World Applications

In this section of our study unit, we focus on empowering students with the essential skills needed to harness the potential of Genial.ly, a dynamic tool poised to address socio-economic barriers in education. Through a series of workshops, we will embark on an exploration of Genial.ly's interface, its fundamental and advanced features, and its application in effecting positive change within educational landscapes.

Workshop 1: Introduction to Genial.ly

Workshop 1: Introduction to Genial.ly Goal: Familiarize students with the interface and basic features of Genial.ly. Activities:

  • Overview Presentation: Introduce Genial.ly, its purpose, and potential applications.
  • Interactive Demonstration: Show examples of interactive content created using Genial.ly.
  • Hands-on Session: Guided exploration of the platform, allowing students to navigate and experiment with basic features.

Workshop 2: Exploring Advanced Features Goal: Enable students to delve deeper into Genial.ly's functionalities and tools. Activities:

  • Feature Analysis: Breakdown of specific tools within Genial.ly, such as embedding multimedia, interactive elements, and design options.
  • Interactive Task: Assign a task requiring students to incorporate multiple advanced features into a Genial.ly project.
  • Peer Collaboration: Encourage students to work in pairs or groups to explore features collaboratively.

Workshop 3: Real-World Applications Goal: Showcase how Genial.ly and similar technology have been used to address educational inequalities. Activities:

  • Case Studies: Present examples of projects or initiatives that utilized Genial.ly or similar tools to tackle educational disparities.
  • Analysis & Discussion: Facilitate discussions on the effectiveness, impact, and ethical considerations of using technology in such scenarios.
  • Group Activity: Divide students into groups to research and present their findings on a specific case study or project.

Workshop 4: Creating Content for Change Goal: Empower students to use Genial.ly as a tool for addressing educational inequalities. Activities:

  • Project Briefing: Introduce the final project task: creating interactive content using Genial.ly that addresses an aspect of educational inequality.
  • Brainstorming Session: Guide students through brainstorming ideas and potential content for their projects.
  • Workshop/Consultation Time: Provide dedicated time for students to work on their projects, offering guidance and support as needed.

Skills: How do we know students have developed the skills needed to become globally competent?

Critical Thinking: Globally competent students can analyze complex global issues, consider multiple perspectives, and evaluate information to make informed decisions. They can identify biases, cultural influences, and potential solutions to global challenges (Asia Society & OECD, 2018).Effective Communication: Students who are globally competent can communicate ideas clearly and respectfully across cultures and contexts (Dauber & Spencer-Oatey, 2023). This includes proficiency in multiple languages, adapting communication styles, and understanding non-verbal cues (Soft Skills for Healthcare, 2023)Collaboration and Teamwork: Global competence involves working effectively in diverse teams, understanding and respecting different viewpoints, and leveraging diversity to achieve common goals (Global Competence Associates, 2023). Students should showcase the ability to collaborate across cultures and background.Cultural Competency: This skill entails understanding and respecting cultural differences, being open-minded, empathetic, and adaptable in diverse settings (Meens, 2017). Students should demonstrate an awareness of global cultures, traditions, and perspectives.Problem-Solving: Globally competent students can identify, analyze, and propose solutions to complex global challenges. They showcase creativity, resilience, and adaptability in addressing issues that have local, national, or global implications (Danju & Uzunboylu, 2016).

Critical Thinking, Effective Communication, Collaboration and Teamwork, Cultural Competency, Problem-Solving Generated with AI ∙ December 27, 2023 | Microsoft Bing | Imange Creator from Designer

Why is this topic worthy of exploration?Exploring Environment and Water & Sanitation in Southern California within a middle school curriculum aligns closely with Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). This topic embodies the essence of sustainability, offering a rich tapestry of interconnectedness between ecological balance, economic well-being, and societal resilience. Understanding these intricacies is pivotal for students to develop a holistic view of how their actions impact the environment and communities, nurturing responsible citizenship and stewardship (UNESCO, 2018). For example, studying local water conservation initiatives like using drought-resistant plants or implementing rainwater harvesting systems.Perspectives and Perceptions:Incorporating ESD into middle school studies on this topic allows students to explore diverse perspectives. They can investigate how cultural, economic, and environmental backgrounds influence perceptions of water and environmental issues (HRE USA, 2022). Encouraging critical thinking around differing viewpoints fosters empathy, encourages inclusive problem-solving, and empowers students to engage meaningfully with complex global challenges. For instance, discussing varying viewpoints on water usage and conservation practices in different communities.Local Concerns:At the heart of this middle school unit on Environment and Water & Sanitation lies an exploration of localized concerns. Through an ESD lens, students delve into pressing issues such as drought, water quality, and conservation efforts in Southern California. They investigate the delicate balance between preserving biodiversity, protecting local ecosystems, and addressing community needs for clean water. This hands-on approach instills a sense of responsibility, empowering students to propose and implement actionable solutions within their community. For example, participating in local beach or river clean-up projects or advocating for reduced plastic use in the community.

Option 1: Environment - Water & Sanitation

Medemer K12 Academy stands as a microcosm of California's diversity, embodying its cultural richness, economic variations, and commitment to environmental stewardship. Nestled in a diverse suburban community, our school serves as a beacon of academic excellence, nurturing students from varied backgrounds and preparing them to thrive in an interconnected world. As a public alternative school, it boasts a student body of 150 students across middle school with a student-teacher ratio of 12 to 1.

Location and Size

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Why is this topic worthy of exploration?Studying the plight of refugees within the framework of Citizenship in Southern California presents a profound opportunity for middle school students to delve into global citizenship and human rights through the lens of empathy and inclusivity. Understanding the challenges faced by refugees fosters an appreciation for diverse perspectives, encourages empathy, and promotes an active commitment to human rights. For instance, exploring the stories of refugees, their experiences, and the fundamental human rights they seek amidst displacement and resettlement.Perspectives and Perceptions:Incorporating the study of refugees into middle school curriculum encourages students to explore diverse perspectives on global citizenship and human rights. They can delve into how societal, cultural, and political factors shape perceptions of refugees and migration. Encouraging discussions about the varying viewpoints promotes understanding, empathy, and awareness of the challenges faced by displaced populations. For example, discussing media portrayals of refugees and the impact on public perceptions and attitudes.Local Concerns:Within the context of Citizenship and Refugee Studies, students can explore local concerns related to refugee resettlement and support in Southern California. This exploration involves understanding the challenges faced by refugees in the region, access to resources, and the role of community engagement in fostering inclusive societies. Engaging in activities and discussions enables students to advocate for refugee rights, participate in support initiatives, and promote inclusive communities. For instance, organizing donation drives for refugee support organizations or participating in cultural exchange programs with refugee communities in the area.

Option 5: Citizenship - Refugees

Medemer Academy encourages community engagement through various initiatives. Local businesses, nonprofits, and professionals often collaborate with the school, providing mentorship programs, internships, and guest lectures. This fosters a sense of interconnectedness between the school and the broader community.

Community Engagement

Embarking on a journey to comprehend the multifaceted challenges entwined within socio-economic barriers in education, coupled with the dynamic potential of Genial.ly, sets the stage for an enlightening exploration. As we step into the expanse of this unit, it's vital to lay the groundwork, understanding how assessment strategies intricately weave into our quest for knowledge and innovation. Delving into the strategies that precede instruction, we navigate the landscape of assessment, illuminating pathways to harness students' prior knowledge, aspirations, and readiness for the transformative journey ahead. Pre-unit Survey: The purpose of this strategy is to gauge students' prior knowledge, perceptions, and experiences related to socio-economic barriers in education and their familiarity with technology tools like Genial.ly. Students could respond to questions about their understanding of socio-economic challenges in education, their thoughts on technology's role in addressing these challenges, and their prior experience with Genial.ly or similar tools. This survey helps in tailoring the unit's content to the students' existing knowledge and shaping the approach to meet their needs effectively.KWL Chart (Know, Want to Know, Learned): This strategy aims to activate students' prior knowledge and curiosity about the unit's topics. Before starting the unit, students complete the "K" and "W" sections, noting down what they already know about socio-economic barriers in education and what they want to learn or understand better (Bailey, 2017). Throughout the unit, they can continuously update the "L" section, recording what they've learned. This chart encourages students to engage with the subject matter actively and allows the teacher to track individual or collective progress in understanding the unit's concepts.

Pre-instructional assessment strategies

Part 1 - Understanding Socioeconomic Barriers

The preliminary segment of this educational module constitutes a pivotal investigation into the nuanced tapestry of socioeconomic barriers pervasive in contemporary society. Structured to elucidate the intricate nature of these barriers, this phase employs a diversified array of pedagogical methodologies. Commencing with immersive narratives, multimedia presentations, and in-depth real-world case studies, the session explicates the intricate impacts of age, gender, ethnicity, and poverty on educational access. Beyond mere definitions, it endeavors to engage students in investigative research endeavors, fostering a profound understanding of the widespread ramifications experienced across diverse societal strata. Moreover, this module serves as the cornerstone for fostering specific values, attitudes, and competencies among learners. Progressively, the unit endeavors to cultivate empathy by immersing students in a comprehensive exploration of diverse perspectives and cultural paradigms. This strategic engagement aims to nurture not only open-mindedness but also a profound comprehension of the challenges encountered by disparate socioeconomic groups worldwide. Concurrently, the segment is deliberately structured to refine critical thinking acumen by instigating thought-provoking dialogues on global issues. Encouraging proactive discourse, it prompts students to proffer viable solutions, fostering a mindset inclined toward innovative problem-solving within the contextual framework of socioeconomic barriers. Structurally, this phase unfolds through a meticulously orchestrated sequence of activities. Commencing with captivating content delivery—leveraging evocative narratives and multimedia to captivate student interest and underscore the salience of the subject—the unit seamlessly transitions into comprehensive discussions. This deliberate discourse enables students to actively participate in examining and debating the multi-dimensional impacts of socioeconomic constraints on educational access. By integrating real-world case studies and localized scenarios, students gain an enriched comprehension of the global prevalence of these barriers and their tangible ramifications on educational opportunities. Furthermore, the unit thoughtfully carves out dedicated periods for application and introspective reflection. By encouraging students to draw personal connections to the topic, this phase invites introspection regarding the manifestation of socioeconomic constraints within their immediate communities or personal spheres. Culminating with a robust question-and-answer session, this phase engenders an open dialogue that deepens students' conceptual grasp of the subject matter. Notably, this foundational understanding serves as a catalytic precursor for ensuing unit activities that harness the innovative potential of Genial.ly for novel problem-solving approaches. In essence, this comprehensive phase represents the foundational bedrock for students' holistic understanding of socioeconomic barriers to education. Seamlessly integrating theoretical tenets with practical applications, it intricately primes students for proactive engagement in subsequent unit activities tailored toward addressing these pervasive societal challenges.

The community served by Medemer Academy reflects California's diverse population. According to the most recent census data, the community includes a mix of ethnicities, with a notable representation of Hispanic, Asian, and African-American families. This diversity enriches the school environment, fostering cultural exchange and understanding. At Medemer Academy, the total minority enrollment is 49%, and 84% of students are economically disadvantaged. Medemer Academy aims to be inquiry-based, encouraging students to explore concepts deeply and make connections across disciplines.


EDUC 5810 - Living & Learning Globally Group Assignment - Group 0004A

Acknowledgments Special thanks to our instructor Dr. Scheib, for his guidance and support. A big thank you to our family, friends, and colleagues who have supported us during the process.

Angelo Pimental Tianjin, China High school Educator

University of the People

Abdullah Shehna Idleb, SyriaArabic Teacher

Maged BotrosTemecula, USAPhysics Professor

Raonak LalSuva,FijiGeography Teacher

Technology: How has technology hindered or enhanced addressing the topic?

Digital Disparity: The disparity in access to technology, known as the digital divide, widens socio-economic gaps in education (Kloza, 2023). Students from lower socio-economic backgrounds often lack digital devices and reliable internet, limiting their participation in online learning and hindering skill development, thereby curtailing their educational and economic prospects.Inequity in Online Education: The COVID-19 pandemic underscored disparities in online education access. Marginalized communities, particularly in the U.S., faced learning losses during lockdowns due to inadequate online instruction (Agrawal, 2022). This starkly highlights how technology can deepen existing socio-economic disparities in education.EdTech for Equity: Conversely, technology can mitigate educational disparities. Educational technology (EdTech) tools can enhance learning experiences, improve academic performance, and boost student engagement (Agrawal, 2022). However, their impact relies on equal access for all students.Infrastructure and Digital Literacy: Technology's educational impact hinges on infrastructure and digital skills. Inadequate broadband access and lacking digital proficiency curtail students' ability to fully benefit from technological educational resources (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, 2016).Education's Democratization Potential: Technology holds promise in democratizing education by granting access to quality resources irrespective of socio-economic status. However, realizing this potential mandates addressing the digital gap and ensuring equitable technology access for all students (United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, 2016).

Digital Disparity, Inequity in Online Education, EdTech for Equity, Infrastructure and Digital Literacy, Education's Democratization Potential Generated with AI ∙ December 27, 2023 | Microsoft Bing | Imange Creator from Designer

Behaviors: How do we know students have developed the behaviors needed to become globally competent?

Respect for Diversity: Globally competent students demonstrate respect for diverse cultures, perspectives, and backgrounds (Colvin & Edwards, 2018). They exhibit openness, tolerance, and appreciation for different viewpoints and traditions.Adaptability and Flexibility: Students with global competence display adaptability and flexibility in various situations. They are comfortable navigating diverse environments, adjusting to new cultures, and embracing change.Empathy and Cultural Sensitivity: Global competence involves empathy and cultural sensitivity. Students understand and appreciate different cultural norms, practices, and values, showing empathy towards individuals from diverse backgrounds.Global Awareness and Open-mindedness: Competent students exhibit global awareness by staying informed about global issues, trends, and events. They possess an open-minded approach, seeking to understand and learn from diverse perspectives.Collaboration and Networking: They engage in effective collaboration across cultural boundaries, forming meaningful connections and networks with individuals from diverse backgrounds. They actively seek opportunities to collaborate and work towards common goals in diverse teams.

Rspect for Diversity, Adaptability and Flexibility, Empathy and Cultural Sensitivity, Global Awareness and Open-mindedness, Collaboration and Networking Generated with AI ∙ December 27, 2023 | Microsoft Bing | Imange Creator from Designer

Why is this topic worthy of exploration?Introducing Mental Health Awareness within a middle school curriculum aligns profoundly with Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). This global issue encompasses emotional, social, and psychological well-being, essential for fostering resilient and empathetic individuals. Understanding mental health promotes a supportive environment, encouraging students to develop self-awareness, empathy, and strategies for personal and societal well-being, crucial elements of sustainable living. For example, exploring mindfulness practices, stress management techniques, and the importance of seeking support from trusted individuals or mental health professionals.Perspectives and Perceptions:Incorporating Mental Health Awareness into middle school studies through an ESD lens opens pathways for students to explore diverse perspectives. They can delve into how cultural, societal, and personal factors shape perceptions of mental health. Encouraging discussions on varying viewpoints promotes understanding, reduces stigma, and empowers students to support themselves and others in fostering mental well-being. For instance, discussing media portrayals of mental health issues and how they influence public perceptions.Local Concerns:The exploration of Mental Health Awareness at a middle school level involves understanding local concerns and challenges. Students investigate how mental health issues affect their community, including access to resources such as counseling services, community support groups, and awareness campaigns within the school. By engaging in discussions, activities, and community initiatives, students become advocates for mental health awareness and supportive environments, fostering a culture of empathy and understanding within their immediate surroundings. For example, organizing peer support programs or mental health awareness events within the school.

Option 2: Health - Mental Health Awareness

Values and Attitude: How do we know students have developed the values and attitudes need to address global citizenship?

Empathy and Open-mindedness: Demonstrating empathy towards diverse perspectives and cultures, coupled with an open-minded approach, signifies an ability to understand and appreciate different worldviews (Meens, 2017).Respect for Diversity: Acknowledging and valuing differences in cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds without prejudice or bias indicates a genuine respect for diversity (Akkari & Maleq, 2020). Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving: The capacity to think critically about global issues, analyze information from various sources, and propose solutions reflects proactive engagement in addressing global challenges (Danju & Uzunboylu, 2016).Effective Communication: Engaging in respectful communication across cultural boundaries, actively listening, and expressing thoughts clearly are essential skills for collaborating on global issues (Dauber & Spencer-Oatey, 2023).Active Engagement and Responsibility: Taking part in local or global initiatives, advocating for positive change, and assuming responsibility for making an impact demonstrates a commitment to being an active global citizen (Ahrari et al., 2014).

Empathy and Open-mindedness, Respect for Diversity, Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving, Effective Communication, Active Engagement and Responsibility Generated with AI ∙ December 27, 2023 | Microsoft Bing | Imange Creator from Designer

Core Concepts: What global and cultural events affect the issue?

Cultural Norms and Gender Bias: Cultural beliefs and norms often perpetuate gender-based disparities in education. In many societies, traditional gender roles and biases limit educational opportunities for girls. Unequal access to education based on gender perpetuates socio-economic inequality, affecting future opportunities for these individuals (Katten, n.d.).Socioeconomic Status (SES): Lower SES limits quality education access, creating an inequality cycle that affects academic success and future opportunities. Equalizing resources and tailored support for lower SES students is vital for ensuring universal access to quality education (APA, 2017).Policy Changes: Governmental policies on education funding and social welfare programs play a critical role in either alleviating or exacerbating socio-economic disparities in education (Leila & Kimpo, 2022).Global Pandemics: Events like the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted disparities in access to education, amplifying the divide between socio-economic classes due to remote learning challenges and unequal access to technology (Walters, 2020).Cultural Movements: Social justice movements advocating for equal access to quality education for all socio-economic backgrounds influence educational discourse and policies worldwide (Griffiths, 1998).Climate Change Disruptions: Increasingly frequent natural disasters and environmental disruptions due to climate change disproportionately affect educational access. Marginalized communities often bear the brunt of these events, facing school closures, displacement, and reduced resources, leading to disruptions in their education (UNESCO, 2023).

Part 3 - Designing Solutions with Genial.ly

Cultural Inclusivity in Learning

Promoting Gender Equality

Once socio-economic barriers and Genial.ly features are understood by the students, the facilitators of the unit are to plan for designing solutions with Genial.ly to address socioeconomic constraints in education while focusing on the objective of Problem-Solving and Innovation. In this part of the unit, it is centered on "Designing Solutions with Genial.ly," students are immersed in a multifaceted exploration of socioeconomic constraints affecting education. The journey begins with groups of five students, each presented with real-world scenarios encapsulating challenges such as limited technology access due to poverty, language barriers, or disclusion as a result of gender and culture differences (Aydin, Ozfidan, Carothers, 2017). A deliberate emphasis is placed on understanding the context of these scenarios through research and collaborative analysis. Moreover, a Genial.ly workshop equips students with the skills needed to learn this interactive platform. The brainstorming sessions that follow foster creative ideas as students creatively propose methods to use Genial.ly's adaptable features to meet the issues that have been identified.After understanding and prioritizing various issues, students are required to actively engage in the creation process under guidance. Review and revision of the project tasks will facilitate constructive feedback, sparking collaborative discussions for refining and enhancing each solution. Throughout the unit, the students not only tackle real-world challenges but also develop a keen sense of innovation (Robinson, 2007), actively employing Genial.ly as a tool for creative problem-solving within the realm of socioeconomic constraints affecting education. Some ways to address socio-economic barriers are ensuring access to educational resources (Brisk, Barnhardt, Herrera, & Rochon, 2002 and technology, promoting gender equality, cultural inclusivity (Gay & Kirkland, 2003), enhancing communication and student teacher engagement. Below are examples of how Genial.ly can be used to design solutions. However, this is not limited to their choice of global issues and solutions.

Access to Education Resources

Once they've created these projects using technology (Robinson, 2007), students can then use Genial.ly as a presentation platform to showcase their findings, which will occur in Part 4. It offers a visually engaging way to present information, making it accessible and captivating for their audience.

Access to Educational Resources Poverty: Collaborate on creating an online repository of free educational resources (Brisk et al., 2002) and tools. Identify websites, apps, and platforms offering free access to textbooks, tutorials, and educational games. Encourage students to compile these resources into a user-friendly database accessible to all. Genial.ly Use: Use Genial.ly to design an interactive map or infographic showcasing these resources. Include descriptions, links, and user reviews to guide others on how to access and benefit from these materials.

Promoting Gender Equality in Education Gender: Launch a podcast or video series discussing gender biases in education and ways to overcome them. Explore topics like gender-specific learning styles (Aydin, Ozfidan, Carothers, 2017), historical gender disparities in education, and the importance of inclusive teaching methods. Genial.ly Use: Create engaging multimedia presentations on Genial.ly, incorporating audio clips, videos, and interactive elements to convey the message. Share these presentations on social media platforms to reach a wider audience.

Cultural Inclusivity in Learning (Gay & Kirkland, 2003) and (Dighe, 2000). Culture: Develop a blog or website focusing on cultural diversity in education. Highlight stories, experiences, and perspectives of students from various cultural backgrounds. Discuss how embracing diversity enriches the learning environment. Genial.ly Use: Utilize Genial.ly to craft visually appealing infographics or timelines displaying key cultural milestones or celebrations. Incorporate images, text, and links to external resources to provide a comprehensive understanding of diverse cultures.

California's cultural influences are woven into the fabric of Medemer Academy. The IB curriculum integrates elements that celebrate the state's history, arts, and innovation. For instance, literature classes might explore works by California authors, and history lessons could emphasize the state's role in social and technological advancements.

Cultural Influences

In exploring socio-economic barriers and Genial.ly's potential, understanding how summative assessments capture student comprehension is crucial. Two key strategies, the Designing Solutions with Genial.ly Project and Reflective Essay, intersect practical application and deep understanding. These assessments go beyond measuring knowledge; they serve as platforms for students to display their creativity, critical thinking, and ethical considerations when tackling educational disparities.Designing Solutions with Genial.ly Project: The purpose of this summative assessment strategy is to evaluate students' ability to practically apply their understanding of socio-economic barriers in education through the creation of Genial.ly-based solutions. Students, working collaboratively in groups, undertake the task of identifying and addressing real-world challenges using Genial.ly's features. This project aims to assess their creativity, critical thinking, and proficiency in using technology as a tool for social change. Evaluation criteria could include the depth of understanding exhibited, the innovation displayed in solutions, and the effectiveness of their Genial.ly projects in addressing identified barriers.Reflective Essay: The reflective essay serves as a platform for students to articulate their insights, experiences, and ethical considerations gained throughout the unit. It assesses their ability to critically reflect on the ethical dimensions of employing technology to address educational disparities. Students are prompted to analyze the ethical implications, consequences, and responsibilities associated with leveraging technology for societal advancement in education. This essay allows them to showcase their understanding of ethical considerations while demonstrating their capacity for metacognition and critical analysis within the context of socio-economic barriers and technological solutions.

Summative Assessment Strategies

The unit plan "Empowering Education: Overcoming Socioeconomic Barriers through Technology" is an exciting investigation into the interaction of education, technology, and social equity that sets off on an important element of Education for Sustainable Development. This unit plan aims to address educational barriers and gives students the skills they need to understand the complex system of socioeconomic constraints that prevents them from accessing education. The concept, which is based on creativity and teamwork in problem-solving, aims to use the adaptable digital platform Genial.ly as an agent for change. Fundamentally, the unit seeks to impart a deep comprehension of the various obstacles that people encounter globally in their pursuit for education, which are challenged by social and economic inequality. Through the development of a synthesis between theoretical understanding and real-world application, students are motivated to both understand these barriers and take an active role in promoting education for sustainable development. With the introduction of technology as a powerful tool in education, Genial.ly's integration acts as an indicator, enabling students to create interactive solutions that go beyond traditional boundaries. This unit drives students beyond theoretical discourse and into the domains of creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork—all critical abilities for negotiating all aspects of a contemporary, globalized society. This unit aims to go beyond ordinary educational paradigms through a combination of thought-provoking discussions, real-world linkages, and hands-on experiences. It is an invitation to students as well as teachers to set out on a path of exploration, creativity, and empowerment—a path where education turns into a transformative force that can open doors to a future that is more inclusive and equitable and dissolve socioeconomic barriers.

In our collaborative efforts to devise a global competence unit for the hypothetical institution, Medemer Academy, our group focused on essential practices and crucial lessons learned during our successful endeavor. Employing tools like Google Drive and WhatsApp, we utilized technology to bridge geographical gaps, emphasizing its role in facilitating communication across distances.Our exploration of socio-economic educational disparities and the impact of technology on global issues benefited significantly from the diverse perspectives within our team. These varied viewpoints highlighted the importance of fair educational strategies that prioritize inclusivity and leverage technology to address educational gaps worldwide. However, we encountered logistical challenges, particularly in coordinating meetings across diverse time zones, impacting workload distribution. A key takeaway was the necessity of setting clear expectations at the project's outset to mitigate discrepancies in future collaborations.Despite efforts to unify our approaches, a divergence persisted, with some members fully engaged while others remained detached. This prompted reflections on integrity, diligence, and shared responsibility within our collaborative context. Nonetheless, our collaboration was instrumental in crafting our final product, the "Empowering Education: Overcoming Socioeconomic Barriers through Technology with Genial.ly" unit plan. This plan resulted from collective efforts, with each member contributing significantly to its conception and execution.Our journey yielded valuable insights. Key principles emerged, such as the significance of inclusive introductory meetings that set the tone for collaboration, fostering an environment where diverse ideas could flourish. Upholding integrity among team members was pivotal, fostering trust and reliability, which we aim to instill in our students.Additionally, embracing shared responsibility cultivated unity within our team, enabling us to navigate challenges and successes collectively. Implementing these principles into our classroom collaborations will create environments conducive to nurturing global competence, respecting diversity, and empowering students to contribute meaningfully to a connected world.Challenges we encountered led to the establishment of effective communication protocols, language translation tools, and project management strategies to navigate diverse backgrounds. Open dialogue, respect for differing perspectives, and fostering a positive virtual environment were instrumental in fostering team cohesion amidst cultural differences. In conclusion, our collaborative journey, despite challenges, culminated in a comprehensive unit plan. It resulted from unwavering commitment, cooperation among team members, and support from our instructor. This experience enriched our understanding of global education issues, imparting invaluable lessons on effective collaboration emphasizing inclusivity, integrity, and collective responsibility.