I have been so excited to share my pictures and impressions of the beautiful country of Morocco, but truly what has been even more amazing to me have been the visionary educators and students who I have met here at the iEARN Global Education Conference. iEARN stands for International Education and Resource Network. Before coming to this conference I knew that iEARN was an organization that connects students and teachers around the world to work on on collaborative projects. Being at the conference has completely changed my thinking about what this organization is. I now see iEARN as an incubator of innovation and visionary thinking in education! The people I have met here have set the bar high –they are committed to harnessing the energy and ideas of the kids that they work with to tackle to biggest problems that need solving in the world!
I have met journalists, film makers, students–including American high school students who are here studying Arabic, with the NSLI program, teenagers from Israel, Mali and Suriname who spent a year in American Schools as a part of the YES Program, and teachers from Colombia, Pakistan, Senegal, Egypt, Taiwan, Japan, Qatar, Brazil and more. Some have been coming to iEARN conferences for years and are meeting with friends and collaborators to review and present their student projects. Many are here for the first time because they have an idea or innovation that they want to share. (Be sure to check out the amazing collection of stories from kids around the world using http://www.touchableearth.org)
I have already been able to set up collaborations with classrooms in Colombia, Qatar and Australia! Incredible!
Last year I was able to use a Teachers For Global Classrooms Alumni grant to get a school wide membership to iEARN and do an inservice for teachers at my school. A few classes, including mine, did a “Cultural Box” exchange –sending and receiving boxes of items that represent our cultures between classrooms in Taiwan, Japan and Belarus. It is my hope that the Cumberland teachers continue to delve into this resource next year. It is also my hope that I will be able to introduce some of these projects to my new colleagues at Alderwood Elementary School in Bellingham!
QUESTION FOR KIDS: I HAVE MET PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD AT THIS CONFERENCE. CAN YOU GUESS WHICH COUNTRIES THE PEOPLE IN THE PICTURES BELOW ARE FROM?
ANSWERS: PICTURE 1: JAPAN
PICTURE 2: SENEGAL, MALI, SURINAME
PICTURE 3: ALGERIA BRAZIL