Participate Learning Glossary

Key terms for global education

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21st-century skills

The attitudes and skills students need to address challenges in work, life and citizenship in the 21st century. These are often identified as critical thinking, problem solving and creativity, and others. From birth and throughout their lives, learners experience a range of events that develop their skills, character and ability to succeed. The foundation of 21st-century skills is rooted in learning that happens in and out of school.

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Announcements keep community members aware of important updates, happenings and events specific to their community. Community members with administrative permissions, such as community leaders, can create them. District administrators can select which schools should receive their message, making updates simpler and more relevant.

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B Corporation

B Corps are for-profit organizations certified by the nonprofit B Lab that meet rigorous standards of accountability, environmental sustainability and positive social impact. There is a growing community of more than 2,100 Certified B Corps from 50 countries and more than 130 industries working toward a unifying goal: to redefine success in business. As a B Corp, Participate is committed to ensuring our social mission drives our organization.

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A collection is an online space that allows educators to upload, gather and share resources such as websites, PDFs, images, videos, and lesson plans. Within a collection are optional discussion boards and the ability to review resources. Collections can be kept private so that only you can see them, shared publicly so that anyone may view them or only open to a select group of people. Contributors can also add files and links to a shared collection. Commenters can post messages in the discussion board for any collection.

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Communities of Practice

According to Wenger-Trayner, “Communities of Practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.” They are a key component of effective professional development because learning is a social activity. Together, members learn and grow through regular collaboration. With our sister company, Participate, learners use an online space to connect, access and share resources, engage in discussions and complete courses together.

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Connected educators

Educators who connect with colleagues outside their school community to create a professional learning network. Connected educators learn new tools, strategies and ideas that are reflected in their classroom.

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A theory of learning that emphasizes the importance of networks. Connectivism poses that social and cultural contexts affect how and when learning takes place.

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Our sister company, Participate, offers professional development courses. They emphasize inquiry-based learning, formative assessment, technology integration, and culturally responsive and student-centered teaching strategies.

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Cultural literacy

The ability to understand and participate in different cultures.

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Cultural competency

Cultural competencies involve interacting and respectfully responding to people from different cultures.

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Digital Badges

Digital badges are a virtual indicator of an accomplishment or mastery of a skill. On Participate’s platform, they are issued to an educator upon successful completion of a course, event or learning experience. A digital badge is a validated indicator of an accomplishment, skill, quality or interest that can be earned in many learning environments. They serve as visual evidence documenting how that skill was obtained.

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Discussions may involve brainstorming, asking questions, sharing resources and announcing events within a community. Any member of a community can create, monitor and contribute to an ongoing conversation surrounding a certain theme, question or topic.

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Dual language immersion

Dual language immersion programs include deliberate literacy development in two languages and authentic exposure to rich language experiences. Many dual language immersion programs start when a child is in kindergarten and continues through fifth grade. Core subjects are taught in the target language at least half of the school day.

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Dynamic badging

Digital badges that evolve in response to the learner’s activity or mastery of certain skills and concepts. Dynamic badges can represent an evolving understanding or progress toward a larger goal. Numerous micro-credentials can also be represented in a single dynamic badge to show completion or progression. The badge image represents each stage of unique educator learning.

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Edcamps are unconferences put together by and for teachers. These informal events are free to attend and anyone can present. Topics for sessions are determined by participants, where the focus is collaboration, conversation, group expertise, and instructional design.

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Digital tools that can enhance teaching and learning when thoughtfully integrated into instruction.

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English Language Learners (ELLs)

Students who are usually from non-English-speaking homes and backgrounds, and are unable to communicate fluently or learn effectively in English. ELLs participate in language assistance programs in their schools to improve their English.

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Global citizen framework

Participate Learning’s guidelines for developing students as active members of society. This framework includes instructional practices and global competencies to nurture students as global citizens.

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Global learning

Learning rooted in the exploration of different cultures. Students examine political, social and economic systems around the world.

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A word or phrase after a hash (#) sign used to identify and collect Tweets around a specific topic or event. Hashtags, such as #CollaborativePD, #badgechat and #sschat, bring together the same community of educators over time during a synchronous chat held weekly or monthly.

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Inquiry-based learning

A form of active learning that poses questions or challenges. Students conduct research, present on a topic and reflect on their learning in an iterative cycle.

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Data that describe and reference other data. This includes information such as issuer, recipient, date issued, description and criteria.

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A subset of specific knowledge, skills or competencies that is part of a larger progression of learning. Micro-credentials are digital credentials that are shareable and personalized.

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Open Badges

The group of specifications and open technical standards developed by the Mozilla Foundation.

Open badges are digital images that contain metadata representing the educators’ learning experiences. These digital badges look similar to images and are shared online. The metadata inside make it possible for people and machines to understand educators’ achievements.

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Participate Local Adviser

Participate local advisers are more experienced Participate teachers. They help the newest visiting international teachers settle into their new environment and overcome challenges to support personal and professional growth.

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Peer review

Peer review offers teachers the opportunity to learn from one another. Teachers apply concepts to their classroom practice, submit evidence of learning, reflect on their experience and receive feedback from a trained peer reviewer. Participate peer review empowers teachers as experts, and places collaboration at the center of professional learning.

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Professional development

Training that advances professional skills and effectiveness. Professional development for educators can include attending conferences and workshops, taking online courses, observations and informal learning experiences.

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Professional learning communities (PLCs)

A set of colleagues who teach the same or similar content areas, and who meet on a regular basis (virtually or in-person) to gather, share and review resources, strategies and student work. Many schools use professional learning communities (PLCs) to provide spaces to collaborate with content-area colleagues.

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Professional learning network (PLN)

A group of educators connected through technology and/or in-person interactions that collaborate with and learn from one another. This network can forge strong bonds and support, empower teacher learning and provide feelings of connectedness. Technology can play a large role in growing a PLN.

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Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. Countries around the world have committed to tackling the world’s biggest challenges by meeting these goals:

  • No Poverty
  • End Hunger
  • Good Health and Well-being
  • Quality Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Affordable and Clean Energy
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Reduced Inequalities
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Responsible Production and Consumption
  • Climate Action
  • Life Below Water
  • Life on Land
  • Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • Partnerships for the Goals

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Twitter chats

Online discussions around a topic or event using Twitter. Chats are often conducted by a moderator asking questions while participants answer. Conversations are ongoing and revolve around practices that are not isolated incidents of resource sharing, providing evidence of sustained collaboration. Educators primarily use chats corresponding to specific hashtags to work towards a common goal, and to share ideas resources, practices and tools. They also reduce isolation and build professional learning networks, both within and beyond schools.

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Virtual exchange

Virtual exchanges can take on many forms, including pen pals, video messaging and even more unconventional projects. They allow teachers to share cultural experiences with their classroom and students around the world. Participate Learning’s visiting international teachers bring their cultural heritage to classrooms and complete virtual exchanges with students in another part of the world while teaching in the U.S.

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