Toward a Truly Transnational, Collaborative Future in Education

Campaign for education USA – 27th August 2013

by Joshua Sheridan Fouts

LinkedIn, the international jobs and professional networking site, recently announced that it was going to allow students 13 years and older create profiles on its site. LinkedIn is the latest example ofStudent with magnifying glass how young students worldwide—that is, students who have access to the Internet and the educational opportunities to make them aware of the opportunities available on a site like LinkedIn—can now learn about a world of work that exists beyond the boundaries of their country and city.

While the LinkedIn news is great for the students who are in economically and socially affluent regions, how can we address the needs of kids outside the reach of LinkedIn? How can we make accessible Education for All across borders and cultures and communities?

A gathering of colleagues and collaborators are hoping to address this and related questions at a conference this October 3 & 4, 2013 in Kuching, Malaysia. Our meeting, called the Transnational Collaborative STEAM Education Summit, will convene worldwide business-leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, executives, NGOs (such as UNESCO and the UN), government leaders, policymakers and academics from around the world; from Brazil to Vietnam, Myanmar, Sweden, China, the United States, England and Greece.

The focus of the Transnational Collaborative congress will be to explore collaborative approaches to education to help create 21st Century jobs skills especially for underserved and disadvantaged communities. We will be looking at transnational collaborative science education and its impact on everything from trade to pedagogy.

Despite the growing internationalization of education and the broadening reach of the Internet, most all education policy is typically addressed as a local or domestic issue. That is, not all schools or governments are thinking about how to connect their curricula and classrooms. Meanwhile, the interconnected nature of the world and the future work, are collaborative—across cultures and across borders.

School signNGOs, such as iEARN, which was co-founded by GCE-US Executive Director Ed Gragert, demonstrate that the power of cross-cultural collaborative learning can be transformative.

Our conference is part of the massive WORLDSTE2013 summit, whichis expecting over 1,000 in attendance in which people from throughout the world and the ASEAN region will be discussing how to improve education worldwide.

Among the confirmed speakers at the Transnational Collaborative gathering include:

Amb. Skip Boyce, President of Boeing Southeast Asia and former US Ambassador to Thailand Dr. Meghan Groome, Executive Director, STEM Learning Initiatives at the New York Academy of Sciences Dr. Meeyoung Choi, Science Advisor for UNESCO Dr. Tin Hlaing, Science Advisor for Nobel Prize Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar; Daw Suu Kyi will be recording a special video message for participants. Tony Ngo, co-founder of Everest Education in Vietnam and a Harvard MBA and investment banker with Bridger Capital. Dr. Rick Switzer, Science and Technology Officer, USEMB Bangkok Dr. Lauren Birney, a STEM Education Professor from PACE University in Dr. Amâncio Friaça, a Brazilian Astrobiologist who is launching a new microscopy and astronomy course on the streets of São Paulo

Using Informal Science Education to Open Eyes and Connect Minds

In my capacity as executive director of Science House Foundation, I have been trying to connect classrooms through a shared interest in discovery through informal science education. Science House Foundation’s largest program,MicroGlobalScope, provides teachers who work with 10-14 year old kids with a complete microscopy kit. Teachers upload student discoveries to a collaborative digital platform where students in over 25 countries share discoveries about science.

We’ve had tremendous breakthroughs in this simple program. Jerry Pavlon-Blum a teacher at New York City’s Gateway School describes Science House Foundation’s globally collaborative approach to science education as a “phenomenal secret” in helping to inspire his kids to want to learn. Here’s a short video with Jerry telling his story:

And in Brazil, our science education work appears to be a new incentive for literacy—inspiring young girls and boys from the favelas of Brazil to want to learn to read and write and make more self-affirming life choices. In our collaboration withLNBio Brazil’s National BioSciences Laboratory and NGO Anhumas/QueroQuero, previously illiterate students asked to be taught to read and write after their hands-on work with microscopes. (Here’s a short video from Brazil telling this story: )

I am thrilled to be a part of the Global Campaign for Education the network of NGOs, educators and policymakers they are connected to, to help augment our shared missions of improving access to quality education worldwide.


Joshua Sheridan Fouts is an anthropologist and social entrepreneur who has spent the past 20 years working to highlight new venues for cultural collaboration, cooperation and education worldwide. He is currently executive director of Science House Foundation, an international human development and cultural collaboration NGO operating in over 25 countries.

The opinions expressed by the bloggers on this site and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Global Campaign for Education-US or any of its coalition members. All comments are moderated by GCE-US staff as this blog is intended to create a dialogue on issues pertaining to ensuring quality education for all.