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Pulse - October 2015

The Pulse on Global Connections


It's been said that the best local questions concerning community welfare are also the best global ones.  "How will this affect our community?" is an example of one such question used by the Amish.  In providing an answer to this and other questions, to what extent do we engage voices with different perspectives?  How do we mobilize our empathy for issues that impact the global community?    What is so significant about the youth that we should ensure they become adept at answering and asking these questions?  Our panel sheds light on these and other important questions when considering the role of Global Connections in K - 20.



Participants  For more information, please contact participants through their organizations.

Julia Coburn
Julia Coburn
Executive Director

Julia Coburn holds an HBSc from the University of Toronto and a Master of Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo. She is the co-founder of WorldVuze (, along with Ellen Palmer. WorldVuze was inspired by over four years of facilitating international classroom partnerships between students in Canada and Tanzania, through an NGO (Cross Community Connect) in rural Tanzania they co-founded with Shadrach Meshach, who she met at the Jane Goodall Global Youth Summit in 2008. Through years of facilitating global education programming for children and youth from pre-K to grade 12 they identified gaps in forming meaningful and ongoing classroom connections. Most pressing was that student's had limited exposure to a diversity of authentic perspectives from different geographic, socioeconomic, and cultural contexts other than their own. Their work now sets to break down these barriers and change the way young people think and learn from one another.

WorldVuze is a free, non-profit platform where classrooms across Canada and around the world can ask questions for a global community of students to safely answer on topics from climate change, human rights, science, technology, and culture. Students can explore these diverse perspectives in many different and engaging ways, including filters and maps that allow students to compare perspectives by country, regions within a country, age, and time. This allows students an opportunity to develop a deeper global understanding of curriculum topics, increases student engagement in local and global issues, and helps students develop skills to be effective 21st century problem solvers.


Jeffrey Demacio



Jeff Demacio is an Elementary Vice-Principal at Legacy P.S. in the York Region District School Board ( A a teacher and administrator, Jeff has been actively involved in initiatives that promote student voice and global connections.

York Region District School Board is the third largest school district in Ontario, with over 122,000 students in 174 elementary schools and 32 secondary schools. York Region students consistently perform above average in provincial testing and the Board is one of the top achievers in Ontario. We believe this is due to a unique combination of students who are prepared and motivated to succeed; teachers who are skilled at helping students learn; strong educational leaders who subscribe to a common vision of excellence; and a supportive community that understands the importance of quality public education.




Tania Rashid

Tania Rashid
Global Education AdministratorTakingITGlobal


 Tania Rashid is the Global Education Program Administrator at TakingITGlobal ( ). For the past 2 years she has been working on projects aimed at bringing global citizenship, environmental stewardship, and student voice into classrooms around the world. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in the subject. Tania believes that technology and social innovation are the keys to overcoming the challenges of 21st century teaching and learning we see today.

TakingITGlobal is one of the world's leading networks of young people learning about, engaging with, and working towards tackling global challenges. We seek to empower youth around the world to become actively engaged and connected in shaping a more inclusive, peaceful and sustainable world.

Anita Townsend
Educational Consultant



Anita has worked in several large school districts in a variety of roles focusing on program development and administration. She was a principal in three different schools each providing a unique context for leadership. Anita was named one of Canada’s Outstanding Principals in 2007. Her most recent school won two national awards for using technology in innovative ways to create more engaging and meaningful learning environments for students. Before leaving public education she held the position of central administrator with responsibility for Student Programs K - 12 and Leadership. Anita is now is an independent educational consultant working with organizations and companies to support school programs with an emphasis on innovative approaches to global collaborative learning for students.

Imagine a lively classroom debate on immigration, rainforests or pandemics where teachers and pupils are linked up with their peers in Ghana or Taiwan and get their opinions on the subject. Now, apply that thought to a school curriculum and you capture the heart of the Global Teenager Project (GTP) ( The Global Teenager Project connects students globally by sharing information in a safe and structured web based environment. The topics and themes are based around big ideas that are relevant to today’s students. The Global Teenager project enables teachers to incorporate new ideas and instructional approaches into their classes and allow students to take a higher level of ownership in learning.