Education as a Vital Global Marketplace Represents the Future | Edutopia
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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Education as a Vital Global Marketplace Represents the Future

Explore the many ways students are taught around the world.
Owen Edwards
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Austria | Bulgaria | Canada | Chile | India | Japan | New Zealand | Pakistan | Room to Read | Russia | Sweden | Uganda | More Edutopia Resources

Much is made of the idea of the global marketplace, and few of us are unaffected by it. But the expansion of trade between the world's nations, for all its far-reaching effects, is a phenomenon involving commodities, products, and money. In other words, stuff, and the prices paid for it.

Another vitally important global marketplace exists, however, in which ideas rather than things are what count: the great international bazaar of education, a flourishing and bustling agora occupied by thousands of notions, traditions, theories, and practices devoted to the universal need to teach successive generations of the human race. Education is not oil, or electricity, or soy beans, or gold, but it represents something more important than any of those: the future.

For our second annual window on the world of education, we have gone looking for examples of how students are taught in places as different as Austria and Uganda, Chile and Pakistan. In some cases, our writers have found ideas that offer innovations to American educators; in other stories, they show us unique situations that may not hold out practical solutions to teachers in Cheyenne or Chicago, but still serve to broaden and deepen our knowledge of what works best a world away from our schools. Always, we are reminded that in the end all humans are connected through the global, and noble, act of passing along knowledge.

Join us on a world tour:

Owen Edwards is a contributing editor for Edutopia and Smithsonian magazines.

Comments (8)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Lucy Gray's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Wow, this article is a tremendous resource! I am looking forward to exploring all the links offered here.

About a year ago, I started a ning social networking site for educators and students interested in working on global projects. We'd love to expand our network, so I hope others will take a look at the Global Education Collaborative. We're particularly interested in attracting more teachers from Africa and South America.

Some current projects include one on whaling sponsored by a school on Martha's Vineyard, another on food around the world, and another involving language exchange partners. We also have uploaded pictures, videos and links to resources that may be of interest to Edutopia readers.

Thanks again for another great issues of Edutopia!

Marianne Camp's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

I've been teaching children for over 34 years... and I just found you. This is my first visit to Edutopia and I am sooo impressed. Thank You. Thank You.

Jennifer Routhier's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Thank you for posting these wonderful articles about the educational landscapes in other countries. I work for a non-profit called Primary Source, whose mission is to provide K-12 students with a more global perspective. For 20 years, we have offered professional development courses and resources to K-12 teachers about diverse world histories and cultures. We also conduct international study tours for educators every year. If anyone is looking for global education resources for their classrooms, please visit our website,

Paige's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

This information regarding the way students are taught around the world will be a great resource that I plan to share with educators participating in my program.

I am the director of a free classroom pen-pal service, administered by People to People International. Our mission is "peace through understanding" - through education, travel and humanitarian initiatives, we truly believe we can bring peace, one person at a time. Global education in the classroom is the first step!

Hopefully teachers participating in the School & Classroom Program will use this to learn more about the countries they are partnering with.

Thank you,
Paige Leitnaker

Michelle's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

The articles listed are great resources for teachers. Currently in our district we are initiating a program centered around global connections. Our school came up with the concept of "World Day". Each grade level is assigned a country to study and present their findings at the end of the year. You could make your presentation in the areas of food, clothing, music,etc. The children come up with a plan they see fit to present. The grades meet at least once a month to work on their research. When you get closer to the end of the year, meetings could be once a week to finalize the project. The goal is for each student to learn about the different cultures and customs from around the world.

mawheba safey eldin's picture

The links listed in this article are very interesting, especially the articles about education in places as Uganda and Chile. I think that as educators we need to know more about the people in other parts of the world and how they overcome problems of resources concerning education. In our school, we believe that technology integration in learning and teaching has become necessary, but we need to adapt our methods to our limted resources. The articles I read were informative to me because I got a glimpse of what goes on in other countries. We teach our students about different cultures and different countries, but at the end of the day, we're all the same, people aspiring to know more and learn to accept all. Thank you for this article.
Mawheba Safey Eldin
Cairo, Egypt

Dianne Murray's picture
Dianne Murray
school librarian, retired, after 36 years

Anyone else involved with any exchange student programs?? I'm starting a blog about the world of exchange students.
I'd love to hear your thoughts of how schools can utilize and benefit exchange students. Thanks!

Ed Gragert's picture

Thanks for bringing back this 2008 article. In a world in 2014 in which 57 million primary school age children are not in school and another 70+ million teens are not in secondary school, it's critical that we become engaged in ensuring Education For All. In both my work at iEARN-USA ( and now at the Global Campaign for Education-US (, we have worked to bring education issues globally to the attention of US educators and students. I applaud Edutopia, the authors of these linked articles and wonderful folks like Lucy at the Global Education Collaborative for highlighting how we are all stakeholders in education globally

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