Educators don't have to break the bank to provide students with access to world-class lessons about global issues, or connect with learners and teachers in other countries. Free software like Skype allows students to participate in face-to-face language lessons; the Smithsonian offers free videos, lectures, and online exhibitions; and National Geographic's website has a wealth of multimedia resources designed to take students on exciting adventures.
If you want to knock down your classroom's walls and free yourself of geographical boundaries, check out these teaching and learning resources.
Asia for Educators
The Weatherhead East Asian Institute of Columbia University created this website, which provides extensive resources for teaching Eastern Asian history and culture, including lesson plans, videos, maps, time lines, primary-source documents, and more. The site features several modules on a range of historical topics, including the "China & Europe: What Is 'Modern'?" module, which looks at the social, cultural, political, and industrial histories of both societies from 1500–2000 and beyond and asks the question, "What do we mean by 'modern'?"
Teachers can also participate in collaborative, online professional development courses on topics, such as how to teach East Asian history using a multidisciplinary approach, as well as courses in eastern religious practices, geography, arts, and culture.
Find arts, culture, history, math, and other educational resources on this well-designed website. Asia Society offers a plethora of advice and strategies for creating global classrooms and schools.
Choices for 21st Century Education Program
Sponsored by Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies, this website offers videos from scholars and matching lesson plans on current topics. The curricular lessons are designed to allow students to act as decision makers as they examine crucial points in history. Students can use historical and contemporary primary-source documents, maps, editorial cartoons, and more to develop their critical-thinking, creativity, innovation, and collaboration skills, as well as their media, technology, and civic literacies.
Cleveland Museum of Art
Through the Cleveland Museum of Art's award-winning, low-cost distance learning program, students can view art and artifacts in the museum's collection and interact with museum educators. Lessons range from Fauvism to foreign languages, from Mesopotamia to math. Scholarships for the distance learning programs are available for low-wealth school districts.
The Global Dimension website is managed by Think Global, an education charity that promotes global learning. This website connects current events with curricula, and provides background information, news reports, research, videos, and other resources to help K–12 teachers infuse global issues across content areas.
"Education plays a vital role in helping children and young people recognise their responsibilities as citizens of the global community," says the website. The lessons are designed to teach students to "critically examine their own values and attitudes" and to learn to "value diversity, understand the global context of their local lives, and develop skills that will enable them to combat injustice, prejudice, and discrimination."
iEARN is a collaborative resource that connects classes around the world. The organization's mission is to "enable young people worldwide, working in collaboration and dialogue, to make a meaningful contribution to the health and welfare of the planet and its people." Made up of over 25,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 125 countries, the iEARN network provides extensive opportunities for cross-cultural communication and collaboration.
The website provides a forum for making connections and features news, project updates, videos, and plenty of educational and entertaining resources. iEARN also offers professional development for K–12 educators and hosts local, regional, and international events. iEARN is a partner in Adobe Youth Voices (http://youthvoices.adobe.com), a global philanthropic initiative that trains youth to use digital tools to share their stories and ideas.
One World Education
One World Education is a nonprofit program that showcases writing by middle and high school students in an effort to promote youth literacy. In their reflections, students discuss their experiences in another country or with another culture as a starting point for conversation about a timely topic. The One World Curriculum provides teachers with resources to help them infuse lessons about global issues across the content areas. Each month, the website shares new project-based learning activities and materials.
Peace Corps/Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools
This unique website taps into the experiences, knowledge, and writing of Peace Corps volunteers to create engaging lesson plans, classroom materials, and multimedia resources. The site offers plenty of exciting ways to benefit from the volunteers: students can listen to the Volunteer Voices podcast to hear exciting tales from the field, or correspond with a current volunteer who will send monthly messages. Teachers can also request returned volunteers to come speak in the classroom.
As it states on the TeachUNICEF website, "TeachUNICEF is a portfolio of global education teacher resources designed and collected by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's Education Department." The website features curricular units, lesson plans, videos, and more, focused on the topics of poverty, education, gender equality, water sanitation, and UNICEF's Millennium Development Goals, to help students better understand the needs of children and families around the world. Students can also watch vodcasts (video podcasts), check out photoessays, and read stories posted by children about their lives.
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