The educator facilitates students through the design and implementation of their Knowledge to Action projects. The educator supports students through the experiences of engaging with others and adopting shared responsibility as they translate ideas, concerns, and findings about a global issue into collaborative action to improve conditions, and facilitates a reflective debrief of the experience.
Knowledge to Action (K2A) projects are student-designed and student-led social action projects that convert knowledge gained from research of a global issue into a plan that can be implemented locally, or on a larger scale. K2As are the vehicles through which students begin to identify as change-makers.
Students are the lead designers, thinkers, and decision-makers in their K2A projects. With support from teachers, students (usually working in teams) complete the following seven-step design process:
The design model for the development of K2As is based on a process developed by Stanford University’s d.school (see Resources).
The K2A design process is also built on inquiry-based learning, which means that part of the role of the student is also to ask questions along the way. These questions help guide the students' path, and may or may not be answered. Students may answer their own questions, or get help from teachers and/or individuals who have offered to provide assistance in the project. "Project Allies" via the online Knowledge to Action Collaboratory (see Resources) in answering their questions.
K2A projects promote global engagement by challenging students to investigate an issue that they are interested in and feel passionate about, to understand the issue’s global as well as local impact, and to design a project that addresses the issue in some way: by educating others, becoming an advocate, speaking out, raising awareness, uniting the community, engaging others to participate, performing direct or indirect service, or participating in some other form of social action. The K2A project gives students the opportunity to experience what it means to be a globally engaged citizen and change-maker.
As students develop the core concepts, skills, values, attitudes and behaviors of global competence, they gain a greater understanding of and appreciation for how each individual affects and is affected by the problems and issues that face our global society. As a result, students become more concerned, passionate, and motivated to become globally engaged and make a difference. Global engagement, in turn, fosters the development of openness, humility, self-awareness, empathy, adaptability, collaboration, problem-solving, reflection, and so on; in other words, greater global competence. Global engagement is key to the development of global competence because rather than simply preparing students to become global citizens in the distant future, it gives them the opportunity to think and act as global citizens today (See the Resources section for more information).
Knowledge to Action projects employ many best-practice pedagogies. They are experiential, authentic, challenging, constructivist, reflective, and collaborative (Zemelman, Daniels, and Hyde, 2005). K2As involve cooperative, project-based, and inquiry-based learning—all of which have been demonstrated to promote student understanding in the classroom (Hattie, 2009).
Research studies have shown widespread benefits of cooperative learning. Research also demonstrates that students gain as much or greater factual knowledge from project-based learning experiences compared with more traditional forms of instruction. In addition, students who engage in project-based learning gain increased confidence and motivation, as well as critical-thinking skills and the ability to flexibly use and transfer their learning to new situations (Thomas, 2000).
Inquiry-based practices have been shown to have a more significant impact on student performance than any other variable (Newmann, 1995). And studies show that students learn more deeply when they apply newly learned knowledge to real-world problems. Learning through complex, meaningful projects that require sustained engagement and collaboration helps students develop critical- and creative-thinking skills, as well as effective writing and speaking skills (Barron and Darling-Hammond, 2008).
K2As also involve design-based instruction and service learning, both of which have been shown to foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills and lead to deeper understanding of complex concepts (Thomas, 2000; Corporation for National and Community Service, 2007). Research has shown that these kinds of learning experiences are most successful when students regularly reflect on their process and progress along the way (Gertzman and Kolodner, 1996).
Global competence refers to the knowledge, skills, and dispositions individuals need to be successful in today's interconnected world and to be fully engaged in and act on issues of global significance. The Global Competence Task Force defined globally competent individuals as "those who use their knowledge and skills to investigate the world beyond their immediate environment, recognize their own and others' perspectives, communicate their ideas effectively with diverse audiences, and translate their ideas into appropriate actions" (see link below).
Example Global Competence Frameworks
Example Global Issues
K2A Online Spaces Resource
The items in this following section detail what must be submitted for evaluation. To earn this micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3 and a “Yes” for both artifacts submitted for Part 2.
(500-word limit total):
Please submit the students' decision and perspectives charts for the K2A project (maximum: three chart sets). Include any brainstorming notes from the creation of the chart.
Please also submit a video or audio recording of students participating in the reflective debrief at the end of the K2A project (maximum length: three minutes) OR written reflections from three to five different students that demonstrate how the K2A project helped them engage globally (maximum length: three pages).
(750-word limit total):
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