Teachers Share Vision for Honors Digital Media for Global Learning

Teachers Share Vision for Honors Digital Media for Global Learning
  • One World
Ravenscroft Communications

Jessica Yonzon and Tomeiko Carter share their process for creating the interdisciplinary course, offered in the Upper School for the first time this year.


Peter Kalenga and Reesha Malde from Camps International speak to the class via Zoom on Wednesday, Feb. 10.

On Thursday, Feb. 4, Upper School teachers Jessica Yonzon and Tomeiko Carter presented at the Global Education Benchmark Group’s Summit on Teaching Global Writers. Yonzon, who is Director of Global Education and a member of the Social Studies faculty, and Carter, who is a member of the English faculty, shared their process for creating Honors Digital Media for Global Learning, an interdisciplinary course offered in the Upper School for the first time this year.

“In the last few years, I began to notice that student travel organizations were offering travel programs with a focus on student-created media content,” Yonzon explained. “I approached Dr. Carter about the possibility of combining Global Learning and Digital Media as a precursor to designing a curricularly backed travel program. We collaborated to develop a new course that would integrate digital media skills into a global competency-based curriculum.

The semester-long course enrolled 17 students this year.

Yonzon and Carter shared their collaboration at the summit, which explored how educational institutions are approaching the integration of global pedagogies into their curricula.

“The process to design the course was a fairly extensive one,” Carter said. “We worked to align the curriculum with Ravenscroft’s Global Education mission and found that such an alignment not only helped serve the school’s mission but also helped to get buy-in from leadership, the Academic Committee and department chairs. We identified content, skills and experiences to reach a wider student body and integrated themes and course materials that amplify global voices.”

Their interdisciplinary approach specifically included trying to make the classroom diverse by drawing students enrolled in the International Diploma program — for whom the course is now a requirement — as well as those who are interested in learning digital media and journalistic skills. 

”We decided on common aims and interests for the course, which was to find humanistic ways to explore global issues, including poverty and much more,” Yonzon said. ”We also had to demonstrate where our respective disciplines would inform one another and how those disciplines would complement the aims of the course. In doing so, we decided to create digital media projects that would allow for extensive global issues research.”

Laurel Carter ’23 used research and statistics as part of her Ted Talk on the conditions of nonprofit schools in Mumbai as described in Katherine Boo’s book, “Behind the Beautiful Forevers.”

“Sample digital media projects for the course include TED Talks, digital posters and a collection of blogs on topics as far-reaching as the gender gap, income inequality and the global housing crisis,” Carter added. “For the TED Talks, students prepare a 10-minute talk, discussing topics ranging from informal waste recycling, migration, and power and corruption, using Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers as a reference. For the poster project, students will create digital posters that address global housing inequalities, doing research, training on Canva and Google with support from librarian Anna-Claire Bousquet. Another student project is a series of reflective blogs on topics such as child labor, access to education and global waste trade.” 

Boo’s book, a journalistic look at slums near the Mumbai, India, airport authority, is one resource for the course. As a digital media reference text, Yonzon and Carter are using “Scholastic Journalism” by C. Dow Tate and Sherri A. Taylor to bolster students’ knowledge of digital media projects. They also have invited guest speakers who augment the course’s outlook. Housing project managers from global organizations WorldStrides and Camps International will speak jointly to students to help them understand the complexities of providing viable housing to vulnerable populations, in this case in Tanzania in East Africa. In order to prepare for the event, students will participate in simulations taking the roles of project managers to understand the budgetary and humanitarian aspects of the process. 

Yonzon and Carter also plan to embed service learning and student actions opportunities in the curriculum. 

“This year, we have partnered with OneProsper International to provide service opportunities for female students to become ‘English Learning Buddies’ and to connect virtually with corresponding female students from low-income households in Delhi, India,” Yonzon said. “Students will engage in a 30-minute English-speaking session each week for 10 weeks. This opportunity will provide students with real-life experiences to communicate and collaborate effectively across cultures.”

“We have also invited the founder of OneProsper to connect with the class as a guest speaker in March,” Carter added.

Eventually, as conditions permit, the teachers want to design an immersive travel experience for students to engage more deeply with the curriculum. Stay tuned for more news from this exciting interdisciplinary program. 

These two slides from Yonzon and Carter’s presentation to the Summit on Teaching Global Writers provide a useful overview of the new course.