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Stories of Schools Connecting Internationally

Social Studies Projects

WHAT'S HERE:

  Debunking Stereotypes
  Digiteen™
  Eracism Project
  Flat Classroom™ Project
  Food for Thought
  Global Dreamers: Peace Project
  Learning Circles
  Listen To The Walls Talking
  National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Challenge 20/20
  One Day in the Life
  Postcard Geography
  Video Introductions to Communities (NextVista)
  The Way We Are
  Additional Resources

 

DEBUNKING STEREOTYPES


Stereotypes are often not true because they are based on inaccurate generalizations. In this project, students collect information about the cultural stereotypes of their countries. They can interview students from other countries, surf the Internet, and discuss with their friends. After that, they try to determine the accuracy of those stereotypes and begin to debunk them. They may do small-scale research to verify the information they have collected. At the end, they set up a blog where they include all the evidence in the form of essays, images, and short clips that support their conclusion.

  • Age Level: 11-15 Years Old
  • Curriculum Focus: Multidisciplinary – but primarily Social Studies and Language Arts
  • Types of Technology Used: WWW sites, message boards, digital imaging, video production, and blogs; possibly instant messaging and/or Skype
  • End Products for Students: Students will set up a blog where they introduce their countries, expose the stereotypes, and determine the validity of them.
  • Timeline/Schedule: September – May
  • Webpage: http://media.iearn.org/projects/iearn-stereotypes (project guide available here)
  • Contact Person: Saeed Al Abdulsalam  saeed-r-s@hotmail.com  
  • Supporting Organization: iEARN
  • Language(s) of communication: English, Arabic

 

DIGITEEN™


DigiteenThe Digiteen™ Project is a global hands-on project for middle and early high school students focusing on digital citizenship. Students research current topics, write a collaborative report on a wiki, and perform and document offline action educational projects to promote effective digital citizenship at their local schools. Topics of study include digital access, communications, literacy, security and safety, etiquette, rights and responsibilities, law, health and wellness, and commerce. It is an offspring of the Flat Classroom Project.

  • Age Level: 11-15 Years Old
  • Curriculum Focus: Multidisciplinary – but primarily Social Studies and Language Arts
  • Types of Technology Used: Google Documents, Skype, Elluminate (virtual classroom), message boards, wikis, and blogs
  • End Products for Students: research, writing, and online publishing, as well as an Action Project
  • Timeline/Schedule: September – December, January - April, and March - June.
  • Webpage: http://www.digiteen.org/
  • Contact Person: Julie Lindsay, lindsay.julie@gmail.com or fcp@flatclasroom.org
  • Supporting Organization: Flat Classroom Projects, Elluminate, LearnCentral, Wikispaces, Think Global School
  • Language(s) of communication: All, but primarily English.

 

ERACISM PROJECT


Eracism was created by and for  high school students to bring about global understanding and awareness of racism and an attempt to work together to solve problems that racism causes. The project combines asynchronous debate with a final, more formal debate. Teams with judges meet synchronously as avatars in a 3D virtual world called ReactionGrid. Other areas covered involve diplomacy, research, oral speaking, civic discourse, reasoning, logic and reflection. It is an offspring of the Flat Classroom Project.

  • Age Level: 12-16 Years Old
  • Curriculum Focus: Multidisciplinary – but primarily social studies and Language Arts (oral speaking / digital storytelling)
  • Types of Technology Used: Google Documents, Voicethread, Skype, Elluminate (virtual classroom), message boards, wikis, and blogs
  • End Products for Students: digital storytelling, video creation, video conferencing, formal debate
  • Timeline/Schedule: October - December
  • Webpage: http://www.eracismproject.org/
  • Contact Person: Bernajean Porter, Bernajean@digitales.us and Julie Lindsay, lindsay.julie@gmail.com
  • Supporting Organization: Flat Classroom Projects, Voicethread, Elluminate, LearnCentral, Wikispaces, Think Global School, ReactionGrid, Chester County PA Intermediate Unit
  • Language(s) of communication: All, but primarily English

 

FLAT CLASSROOM™ PROJECT


The Flat Classroom Project is a global collaborative project that joins together middle and senior high school students. This project is part of the emerging tend in internationally-aware schools to embrace a holistic and constructivist educational approach to work collaboratively with others around the world in order to create students who are competitive and globally-minded. One of the main goals of the project is to 'flatten' or lower the classroom walls so that instead of each class working isolated and alone, two or more classes are joined virtually to become one large classroom. This is done through the Internet using Web 2.0 tools such as Wikispaces, Skype, and Ning. The topics studied and discussed are real-world scenarios based on The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman.

  • Age Level: 14-18 Years Old
  • Curriculum Focus: Social Studies, though could be interdisciplinary
  • Types of Technology Used: Google Documents, Skype, Elluminate (virtual classroom), message boards, wikis, and blogs
  • End Products for Students: audio/video work, collaborative reports, digital video, reflection reports.
  • Timeline/Schedule: October – December, January – March, and April – June
  • Webpage: http://www.flatclassroomproject.org/ and http://www.flatclassroomproject.net/
  • Contact Person: Julie Lindsay, lindsay.julie@gmail.com or fcp@flatclassroom.org
  • Supporting Organization: Flat Classroom Projects, Voicethread, Elluminate, LearnCentral, Wikispaces, Think Global School
  • Language(s) of communication: All, but primarily English

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT


Students research the recipes of typical food dishes in their countries as well as the origin of the ingredients and recipes, and the legends and stories behind them. Possible project/classroom activities include research, discussion, illustration, and production of a book.

 

GLOBAL DREAMERS: PEACE PROJECT


The Dream a Dream project was developed in Israel in 2000 and first available on the Internet in 2001. The idea started as a vehicle to encourage children and educators to share in a learning environment that would lead to global communication and tolerance.  It inspires children to take a deeper look at the world by exploring, exchanging ideas, and using research tools, which supports a positive learning environment and a shared learning experience. Because of the war between Israel and the Palestinians which began in December 2008, schools were invited to join the peace project. The children felt the need to express their feelings on the subject together with many partners around the world.

 

LEARNING CIRCLES


Learning CirclesLearning Circles are highly interactive, project-based partnerships among a small number of schools located throughout the world. Each session is 14 weeks. To join a Learning Circle, you must be a member of iEARN and complete a Learning Circle placement form two weeks before the beginning of the session. There are three general Learning Circle themes by which classrooms are grouped. The social studies theme Places and Perspectives is listed below. Additional language arts circles can be found in the Language Arts section of the guide.
Places and Perspectives - Places and Perspectives encourages students to explore regional history, culture, government, and geography by sharing their knowledge with people from different locations. The goal is to help students understand how historical events and geographic conditions interact to help shape their lives and to give them a deeper understanding of themselves, their families and their communities. Each classroom sponsors a project for a section in the Places and Perspectives Review. For instance, a classroom might sponsor a section on local legends, interview native inhabitants or the elderly, describe the historical attractions of the area, examine local constitutions, or compare weather patterns, map studies.

  • Age Level: All. Each Learning Circle Theme is divided into different age levels, Primary, Middle, and High School
  • Curriculum Areas: Humanities, Social Studies, Citizenship, Language Arts, Geography, History
  • Types of Technology Used: E-mail, web forums, digital imaging, video production
  • End Products: Publications, and in some cases webpages
  • Timeline/Schedule: Session 1 (Sep. to Jan.) Session 2 (Feb. to May)
  • Webpage: Places and Perspectives http://www.iearn.org/circles/lcguide/pp/pp.html and http://www.iearn.org/circles/
  • Contact: Margaret Riel, USA mriel@us.iearn.org and Barry S. Kramer bskramer48@hotmail.com
  • Supporting Organization: iEARN
  • Languages of communication: English, Spanish.

 

LISTEN TO THE WALLS TALKING


This project is an open, image-based project and an experiment in online collaboration. The idea behind it is to 'listen' to the graffiti talk around us and to record and share interesting finds utilizing the project main site at http://wallstalking.org/Home.mvc/About , Flickr group at http://www.flickr.com/groups/wallstalking/ , and wiki at http://listentothewalls.pbworks.com/ . Sketches, squiggles, doodles and other more sophisticated street art are the parts of public spaces which are often walked by unnoticed. Collecting and sharing meaningful graffiti and other messages from our walls, desks, chairs, T-shirts, etc., can provide us with a picturesque collection of expressions of wisdom, boredom, enthusiasm, dissatisfaction, etc., from different places. This can be revealing in quite unexpected ways and can provide us with many interesting possibilities for further collaborations, interpretations, explorations and manipulations. There are walls talking all around our schools, streets, towns, countries, world – by sharing them we can learn more about ourselves and about the world around us.

 

NATIONAL ASSCOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS (NAIS) CHALLENGE 20/20


The NAIS Challenge 20/20 program is an Internet-based international education program that partners schools from the United States with schools from other countries to work together on one of the 20 global problems described by J.F. Rischard in his book, High Noon:  20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them.  Together, schools identify solutions to these global problems that can be implemented in their own schools and communities and at the local and national level.  Challenge 20/20 offers schools an opportunity to assist their students in acquiring the skills necessary for becoming more globally-oriented and better global citizens.  Challenge 20/20 participating students and teachers form long-lasting bonds and many times the relationships continue beyond the Challenge 20/20 program to partnerships and even student and faculty exchanges and community and service-learning opportunities.

  • Age Level: 5-18 Years Old
  • Curriculum Focus: Social Studies, World Studies, Environmental Studies, History
  • Types of Technology Used: Email, website building, website research, PDF and word-processing, PowerPoint and other presentation software, possibly instant messaging, Skype, other video conference tools, journaling/ blogging tools, photographs, video
  • End Products: Research report and proposal, plus presentations.
  • Timeline/Schedule: Term 1: Registration ends at the end of August each academic year; term goes from September to February; Term 2: Registration ends in May; term goes from May to August. Schools may participate in one or both terms.
  • Webpage: The FAQs are here: http://www.nais.org/global/index.cfm?ItemNumber=150365 Main information and sign up for your school is here: http://www.nais.org/go/challenge2020
  • Contact Person: Ioana Simona Suciu Wheeler, wheeler@nais.org
  • Supporting Organization: NAIS
  • Languages: English

 

ONE DAY IN THE LIFE


Students post messages and images describing ordinary and special days in their lives, and then make cross-cultural comparisons.  Autobiographical documentary photography and video and other media are welcomed.  In addition to ongoing forum activities there are scheduled “One Day” events when students around the world will document parts of one specific day using photography, writing, and other media.

  • One Day in the Life from IranAge Level: 6-18 Years Old
  • Curriculum Focus: Creative Arts, Social Studies and Language Arts
  • Types of Technology Used: WWW sites, message boards, digital imaging, video production, and online chats
  • End Products for Students: Art exhibits
  • Timeline/Schedule: ongoing
  • Webpage: http://media.iearn.org/projects/onedayinthelife
  • Contact Person: Marta Garcia Lorea, Argentina martagl@arnet.com.ar , Chris Baer, USA  cbaer@mvyps.org
  • Supporting Organization: iEARN
  • Language(s) of communication: English

 

POSTCARD GEOGRAPHY


Class-to-class exchange of picture postcards (purchased, computer or handmade). This project creates the opportunity to foster global friendships and can be a gateway to class-to-class exchanges of all kinds. This is a simple project, offered to classes all over the world via the Internet. Your class commits to exchanging picture postcards (purchased, computer, or handmade) with all other participants. This "Class to Class" exchange is appropriate for all ages, for public and private schools, for youth groups, and for homeschools.

  • Age Level: 5-19 Years Old
  • Curriculum Focus: Social Studies, Information Technology, Language Arts, Geography, History
  • Types of Technology Used: Email, Web Based Discussion Form, Snail mail
  • End Products: Display of postcards and maps on bulletin boards, scrapbooks, web pages
  • Timeline/Schedule: Registration ends the end of September of each year. Postcards are exchanged between September and January
  • Webpage: http://pcg.cyberbee.com/
  • Contact Person: Linda C Joseph, ljoseph@iwaynet.net  
  • Supporting Organization: Cyberbee Learning
  • Languages: English

 

VIDEO INTRODUCTIONS TO COMMUNITIES (NextVista)


How can students better learn about the world around them? We are looking for students to try their hand at telling about their towns, their schools, what they learn, what they do on the weekends, and what they hope for the future. Students seeking to learn about other places often have little to use beyond what is in their textbook. This project is designed to help students develop an interest in other places by seeing how their peers in other countries are similar to and different from themselves.

  • Age Level: 12-18 Years Old
  • Curriculum Focus: Social Studies, Language Arts, interdisciplinary
  • Types of Technology Used: WWW-based Forums, Chat, video recording and editing, email
  • End Products for Students: One or more videos of five minutes or less using students' voices and visuals they assemble that convey what they want about their community.
  • Time line/Schedule: Ongoing
  • Webpage: http://www.nextvista.org/
  • Supporting Organization: None
  • Languages of communication: English

 

THE WAY WE ARE


What makes us who we are? In this introductory project, students will engage in a collaborative learning experience. Through email exchanges, students will build friendships and learn about the daily lives and characteristics of the local environment of students who live in another region of the world. This unit may be taught to both lower elementary students (grades 2-4) and to upper elementary and secondary students (grades 5-7). There are notes in each lesson for how the unit can be modified to meet the needs of your classroom.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES


Choices is a program that offers educators several resources with internationally-focused content, including curriculum guides, multimedia, and student forums.

My Wonderful World is a resource network campaign led by National Geographic to expand geographic learning in schools and communities. The emphasis is beyond simple geography lessons and aims to create global connections. The site includes different sections for kids and teens, parents, and educators.

Primary Source is a professional development organization that promotes history and humanities education by connecting educators with people and cultures around the world. This organization strongly supports global education and has plenty of resources to help teachers reach their global awareness goals with their students.

UNICEF Voices of Youth is a project created by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for young people who want to know more, do more and say more about the world. Through readings on the website and participating in forums, children and adolescents in different countries explore, speak out and take action on global issues that are important to them and lead to creating a world fit for children. On a regular basis, Voices of Youth also hosts special chats on child rights issues in which adults and decision makers are occasionally invited to participate. Voices of Youth is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child that ensures young people’s rights to participate in decision making processes, to express opinions freely, and to be equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to bring about change in their own lives and in their communities.