Thursday, April 3, 2014

Face-to-Face with Global Issues

Last month, I had the amazing opportunity to watch students in two distant places--India and China--tackle some wicked global problems. At the Global Social Entrepreneurship Summit hosted by American School of Bombay in Mumbai and the Global Student Leaders Summit in Shanghai, developed by EF Educational Tours, teens from diverse contexts sat down to imagine sustainable solutions to issues like gender inequality, access to clean water, and improving education globally.

Both summits introduced students to the design thinking process, fostered team collaboration, and culminated with pitch sessions where participants had to convey their ideas to judges. The 21st-century skills that are so often talked about as learning goals were being put to practical use. What's more, students had to overcome differences of language and culture to get their teams off to a good start. And at both events, students had the chance to learn from role models who are doing the hard, creative work of social innovation.

What did students take away from the experience? In this post for Edutopia, I share insights from two teams of American students. On the ASB Findings blog, Karishma Galani, one of the summit coordinators, shares her hope that students will put their good ideas into action. I hope so, too. Thinking hard about solutions is critically important, but real innovation involves both thinking and doing.