Friday, May 21, 2010

Join iEARN's campaign to Pair Every School Globally by 2016

Ed Gragert is a great advocate for global communication leading to better cultural understanding. As CEO of iEARN in the US, he has tirelessly dedicated himself to the mission of assisting schools around the world enrich their curriculum through global connections--expanding the organization from a few countries in the late 1980s to one that currently "engages about 750,000 students in 38 countries with significant Muslim populations in collaborative online project work."

In a recent Huffington Post op ed he calls for the President to set a challenge to US schools to "link every school in the US with at least one other school somewhere in the world -- through virtual exchanges by 2016."

The boosts to language learning, to global awareness and 21st century collaborative and problem solving skills would be enormous as would our students' quantum growth in global knowledge and understanding.

How do we make it happen by 2016? Ed calls for a "public-private partnership "ENGAGE The World" Initiative can be created that brings together the 30+ organizations that are already linking US schools with peers internationally to create a one-stop place online through which schools, teachers and youth organization leaders can find examples and opportunities to establish cross-cultural connections and learning with the global youth community."

The effort needs to be organized through every state department of education who needs to help get the word out and to suggest ways in which the curriculum can be enhanced through such exchanges.

As I wrote in an article for E-School News on the Rise of the Globally Connected Student we don't need a new network as President Obama indicated in his Cairo speech to do this, we have the existing networks so in the President's words "a young person in Kansas can communicate instantly with a young person in Cairo."

But we do need to follow through and make the leap into the future that will really begin to help this generation of students truly engage in the 21st century globally interconnected and inter-dependent world they will inherit.

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