The project had an extremely positive beginning with many contributions from the partner countries. There was so much enthusiasm from China that we had to divide China into two sections, one for teachers and one for students.
John Wu has been of great assistance and recommended the project to a number of teachers in China.
Many emails arrived from the USA with interesting information from the homeschool about life in the US. The Tashkent International School sent emails and it was fascinating looking at Uzbekistan and the surrounding "stans" in Central Asia. We were also very pleased with information from South Africa where the teacher is a colleague from the Global Junior Challenge. Students from Japan wrote about their school and Japanese food as well as providing us with some very thought provoking ideas about our world and its history.
The partner from South Korea told us about Korean culture and the founder of the Horizon School in Sri Lanka had to travel eighty kilometres to the nearest Internet connection to take part in the project! Information also came from Canada, Mexico, Italy, the UK and Australia.
A number of new schools joined the project towards the end of 2003 and we also added information from Taiwan from the middle of November and Hungary in December.
And last, but not least, thanks should go to Marsha for her unceasing work and also to her pupils who are so keen to work on the project.
The new year started with a school in Singapore joining the project. Early January saw much activity on the Discussion Board although many of the teachers had kept in touch all through the holiday period.
The list of finalists for the Stockholm Challenge
was published on 20 January. Everyone involved in the project was very pleased to see that it had been included in the list. This is a great achievement. "Being finalists in the Stockholm Challenge is a victory in itself ... The Stockholm Challenge has this year involved a great number of countries, some of them for the first time in the Stockholm Challenge. All projects are bringing to light the creativity, innovation, tenacity, difficulties and successes with which people are changing the way we all live, work and relate to each other." (Dr. Alfonso Molina, professor at the University of Edinburgh and chairman of the jury)
In late January John wrote to say that he had planned a number of workshops in different cities in China. A newspaper in London (Richmond & Twickenham Times - James Adlam) wrote an article about the work between WIZ and the partners and gave information about the Tolerance Pledge. This was followed by a television programme in Italy that reported on the partnership between Marsha's school and the school in Rome.
The end of February and the month of March saw seven new countries joining the project: Brazil, Croatia, Greece, Indonesia, Namibia, Russia and Turkey. World participation has grown considerably and the information from communication between the partner schools combined with the WIZ country studies is producing an up-to-date view of the world for students everywhere.
During April Marsha's class took part in online activities following the explorer, Wave Vidmar, on his journey to the North Pole. (This work has been shared with partners around the world). Here is a question and answer that I think is relevant to our work: Hi Wave, my name is On. We are doing a project, writing to children from around the world on the Internet and in letters. Do you think children can make a difference?
Oh absolutely. You kids today are the future of tomorrow, you are the future of the world. That's why it's important that you always do your best and try your best and be kind to other people and do what you can to make a difference ...
The educational and cultural exchange with Croatia progressed extremely well and a Croatian national newspaper published information about the project and the school in Slavonski Brod. The article said that the work was an excellent example of work between countries with different cultures and traditions.
The academic year ended with emails flooding in from Australia, China, Croatia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, Uzbekistan and the USA.
During the holidays we continued to follow the route of the Olympic Flame, a project initiated by our friends in Greece. Most appropriately the ideals of the Olympic Games tie in with our theme of friendly cooperation. (I have added the item, The Route of the Olympic Flame, to EdNA Online and to the Olympics Theme Page. Education Network Australia)
The New School Year
Throughout the summer holidays students and teachers continued to use the Discussion Board and students from Siberia took the opportunity to try out their English. We had some very interesting conversations covering many topics.
During a visit to the US Marsha was interviewed for Talk of the Town on WATR radio, Waterbury, Connecticut.
At the beginning of September Marsha was invited to become a Jury Member for the Global Junior Challenge in Rome. "Being a juror on the Global Junior Challenge is an honor and a privilege. Peace and tolerance can only be achieved through education and the Internet has the power to bring us all together towards this goal".
Between 15 and 19 November we attended the Global Junior Challenge
in Rome. The visit was a wonderful experience and we hope contact will continue with our new friends and colleagues.
Much of the communication between the schools transferred to the Discussion Board. Subjects under discussion included the siege at Beslan, the tsunami in Southeast Asia, and the destruction of a village by landslide on the island of Leyte in the Philippines.
Activities such as quizzes have been added to the case study. It is hoped that not only will students test the knowledge they have gained from the project, but that others will be able to see the variety of things that can be learned through global communication, systematically documented and backed by the WIZ Linking the World
Conclusion of the Case Study
Many teachers in the case study have used global communication as an aid to teaching English as a second language. Others incorporate global communication into a variety of school subjects. World InfoZone aims to provide education in its widest sense for all ages. Whatever the undertaking, we have all learned from each other. Not only have we gained knowledge but there has been a transfer of skills such as teaching methods and information presentation. We have found that the ability to communicate quickly and easily with people from all parts of the world has made an enormous difference to our understanding of one another and the world in which we live.
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