Teachers IMPROVE STUDENT PERFORMANCE
Teacher's Guide to International Collaboration on the Internet

Social Studies Project Examples

School 429 in Moscow Russia, Teddy Bear Project Partner of Sunnyside Elementary School in Washington State, USA
School 429 in Moscow Russia, Teddy Bear Project Partner of Sunnyside Elementary School in Washington State, USA.

The Bullying Project
The Bullying Project allows students worldwide to share feelings and thoughts about bullying and teasing with peers worldwide and to remove some of the feelings of loneliness. The students who have developed the project wanted to use the power of the internet to let their peers know that people dealing with the issues of bullying and teasing ARE NOT ALONE. That being bullied and teased is NOT THEIR fault and they can do something about it. Students can contribute their personal reflections, music, poetry, and films.

  • Age Level: 5-19 Years Old
  • Curriculum Focus: Multidisciplinary Writing, art, music, video, social studies
  • End Products for Students: Stories on website, opportunities for problem solving, active online listening, resources for assistance, researched by students
  • Timeline/Schedule: Ongoing
  • Webpage: http://www.bullying.org
  • Contact Person: Bill Belsey, Canada, bill@iearn-canada.org
  • Level of Technology Used: Web, E-mail, Online Forum
  • Supporting Organization: iEARN-Canada
  • Language(s) of communication: All

City Quest!
Students explore their towns’ history, architecture, and places of interest and create a Tourism section for the City Quest website. By doing this, they can promote their community, appreciate international collaboration, and still have some fun.

  • Age: 5-19
  • Timeline/Schedule: from now on until 8/31/06
  • Level of technology used: Email; List server; IRC; Chat; student-created webpages
  • End product for students: a webpage about their town/city on the City Quest website
  • Curriculum Areas: Arts; Business; Community Interest; History; Information Technology; Language; Multicultural Studies; Science; Social Studies; Technology
  • Webpage: http://www.cityquest.nl/
  • Contact: cq@digitalschool.nl
  • Languages: English, Dutch, Japanese

Faces of War
This project studies the life experiences of ordinary people in traumatic historical circumstances. We are creating here an opportunity to reconsider history and to scale it to the dimensions of individual people rather than politics, ideologies, or national movements. This project binds generations and cultures through sharing. A range of cross-curriculum components are available: Global Art, Writing Exchanges, and Transcripts of Interviews with local veterans of war/strife as well as with students in conflict situations. This work will be published in the "Faces of War" magazine and on the WWW: Faces of War.

  • Age Level: 11-19 Years Old
  • Curriculum Focus: Language arts, art, social studies
  • End Products for Students: Stories and art on the web or in the magazine
  • Timeline/Schedule: Ongoing
  • Webpage: http://www.araratcc.vic.edu.au/users/jot/fow/faces.html
  • Contact Person: Joanne Tate, Australia, araratcc@netconnect.com.au
  • Level of Technology Used: WWW-based forums, newsreaders, email distribution lists, web browser
  • Supporting Organization: iEARN-Australia
  • Longevity: 3 Years
  • Languages of communication: English, but other languages are welcome

Feeding Minds, Fighting Hunger
Feeding Minds Fighting Hunger is a global education initiative designed to help youth discuss and understand issues of hunger, malnutrition, poverty and food security and to stimulate them to participate in activities to create a world free from hunger. On World Food Day, 16th October - and throughout the year - students and teachers from all over the world come together to discuss how lessons plans have been adapted locally and explore ways to raise awareness.

For this project three lessons are provided for primary, intermediate and secondary. Participants are invited to discuss and share with peers around the world the issues of hunger and poverty in their local/national context and how the Feeding Minds Fighting Hunger lessons plans have been used in their classrooms. New ideas, activities and lessons from around the world will be collected and distributed each year.

Fight Against Child Labour
This ongoing project continues to bring together young people in research on and discussion of issues relating to children's rights and the burdens carried by millions of children through excessive and harmful labor.

  • Age Level: 10-19 Years Old
  • Curriculum Focus: Language arts, art, social studies
  • End Products for Students: Website, Adoption of action agendas to assist in the abolition of the worst forms of child labor
  • Timeline/Schedule: Ongoing
  • Webpage: http://www.iearn.org.au/clp/
  • Contact Persons: Bob Carter, Australia, bob@iearn.org.au; Salimata Sene, Senegal, classluther@francite.com; Lockias Chitanana, Zimbabwe, chitanana@yahoo.com; Udara Soysa, Sri Lanka, udarasri@sltnet.lk; Sarah Alam, Pakistan, sarah@iearnpk.org; Melissa Buckley, Australia, mel335@hotmail.com
  • Level of Technology Used: WWW-based forums, newsreaders, email distribution lists, web browser
  • Supporting Organization: iEARN-Australia
  • Language(s) of communication: English and French, but potential participants should suggest use of any language

Friends and Flags
Friends and Flags is a collaborative learning project that combines authentic language learning with promoting multicultural awareness. Classrooms that have registered for the project are placed in learning circles of 6 countries per circle. Circle partners are encouraged to communicate via email, discussion lists, chat rooms, message boards and on the project website. Each class in the circle also prepares a cultural package which includes a student written country book for the other 5 classes in the circle. These packages are mailed in the post. This MANY to MANY exchange enables all classes to create authentic and tangible multi-cultural learning centers.

  • Age Levels: Grades 4-11 Years Old
  • Curriculum Focus: Social Studies, writing
  • End Product(s) for students: multicultural learning center
  • Timeline/schedule: ongoing
  • Webpage: http://www.friendsandflags.org
  • Contact Person: Karen Eini karen@bayan.co.il
  • Level of Technology Used: E-mail, WWW forums, chat
  • Language(s) of communication: English

Helping Hands
Students research online information, conduct interviews and participate in Forums with their peers from around the world on topics related to kids living on the streets. After research, interviews and class discussions, students write an essay about homeless children in the targeted country.

  • Age: 6-18
  • Curriculum Focus: Social Studies, Geography, History, Technology, Politics, Health, Language Arts.
  • End Product(s) for students: Essay
  • Timeline/schedule: ongoing
  • Webpage: http://www.epals.com/projects/helping_hands/
  • Contact: Register on the website
  • Level of Technology Used: E-mail, WWW forum
  • Supporting organization: Project Concern International
  • Language: English

The Junior Journal
The Junior Journal is an online newspaper edited and published exclusively by children, dealing with global issues.

  • Age Level: 11-19 Years Old
  • Curriculum Focus: Interdisciplinary, social studies, language arts
  • End Products for Students: Online Journal, Student edited, little censorship
  • Timeline/Schedule: Ongoing
  • Webpage: http://journal.jrsummit.net/servlet/pluto
  • Contact Person: Spiros Tzelepisk, Greece, tzelepisk@otenet.gr
  • Level of Technology Used: Online collaboration in editing, email, web publishing
  • Supporting Organization: MIT Media Lab
  • Language(s) of communication: All

Learning Circles
Learning 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. Two 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 gives 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
  • End Products: Publications, and in some cases WWW pages
  • 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
  • Level of Technology Used: E-mail, WWW forums
  • Contact: Margaret Riel, USA mriel@us.iearn.org
  • Supporting Organization: iEARN
  • Languages of communication: English, Spanish.

Learning Democracy Through International Collaboration
The project focuses on student rights and duties, tolerance and freedom, civic responsibilities and engagement. This way secondary school students will be able to enhance democracy knowledge which hopefully will lead to their active participation in the community. For eight weeks the participating classes will be posting their responses to the project questions presented prior to the project start and respond to the messages posted by their international partners.

National Cuisine and Traditions
Participating students send their partners pictures of themselves with a short introduction and essay “My Favorite Foods”. Later they exchange recipes of their foods and try to cook their partners’ dishes, take photographs, and write their reflections. Students then meet online to discuss their experience and ask their partners about their cuisine.

Peace Corps: Coverdell World Wise Schools Program
Coverdell World Wise Schools (CWWS) seeks to engage learners in an inquiry about the themselves and others in order to broaden perspectives, promote cultural awareness, appreciate global connections, and encourage service. School classrooms can be paired with a Peace Corp volunteer during the school year to learn together about the country and community in which the Peace Corps volunteer is working. They can read from the CyberVolunteer archives, in which they can find rich letters from Peace Corps volunteers, accompanied by lesson plans. The Water in Africa project allows teachers to access unit lesson plans on water issues, with photos and stories about water in communities throughout Africa that have been provided by Peace Corps volunteers. Online videos about several countries served by the Peace Corps are available for free viewing.

  • Age Level: 5–19
  • Curriculum Focus: Interdisciplinary, social studies, language arts, geography
  • End Products for Students: Learning about communities around the world, including a better understanding of cross-cultural issues
  • Time line/Schedule: Ongoing
  • URL: http://www.peacecorps.gov/wws
  • Contact Person: wwsinfo@peacecorps.gov
  • Level of Technology Used: WWW, E-mail
  • Supporting Organization: Peace Corps Coverdell World Wise Schools Program
  • Language(s) of communication: Primarily English

Postcard Geography
Class-to-class exchange of picture postcards (purchased, computer or handmade). This project creates opportunity to foster global friendships and can be a gateway to class-to-class exchanges of all kinds.

  • Age Level: 5-19 Years Old
  • Curriculum Focus: Arts, Business, Community Interest, Social Studies, Information Technology, Language Arts
  • End Products for Students: Display of postcards and maps on bulletin boards, scrapbooks, web pages
  • Timeline/Schedule: Registration: August 15 - September 15, Mailing: September 15 - December 15
  • Webpage: http://pcg.cyberbee.com/
  • Contact Person: Leni Donlan, US, ldonlan@comcast.net
  • Level of Technology Used: Email, Web Based Discussion Form, Snail mail
  • Supporting Organization: The Educational CyberPlayGround
  • Languages of communication: English or native language

Women in My Country
There are three dimensions of the project:
1) Women's Social Status in one's country (A historical study and comparing women's social status in different types of governments)
2) Politician Women in one's country (A historical Study from ancient times til now)
3) Introducing outstanding women (scientists, researchers, artists, writers).

The project helps the students gain a deeper knowledge of human beings in general while they study historical, sociological, and biological differences between women and men. Thus, they won't categorize people into two opposing groups, or strong and weak ones. Instead, they consider women and men as different human types. Doing the project at an international level, we can compare women's social status in different nations. Studying similarities and differences may result in deeper understanding.

  • Category: Interdisciplinary Social Studies
  • Ages: 12-14, 15-20
  • Expected outcomes: Doing the project at an international level, we can compare women's social status in different nations. Studying similarities and differences between the two genders may result in deeper understanding. Students will identify the problems women face all over the world and offer new solutions.
  • Dates: Ongoing
  • Languages: English
  • Contact: Leila Mohammadhossein, mhleila@yahoo.com

The Teddy Bear Project
An international teddy bear exchange using email. After registration teachers are sent a partner class to work with in this project. The classes send each other a Teddy Bear or other soft toy by airmail. When it arrives the bear writes home a diary message by email at least once a week describing its adventures, the places it has been, as well as the things it has seen and done. Available for Prep/Kinder to Year 9 the project aims to encourage authentic writing by providing the children with a real audience. They write their email messages as if they are the visiting bear. The project provides an opportunity for students to develop understandings about cultures other than their own.

  • Age Level: 5-19 Years Old
  • Curriculum Focus: Language, the Arts, Social Studies, Technology
  • End Products for Students: Many schools will develop web pages demonstrating their participation in the project, including the children's art work. These pages can be linked to form the project home page.
  • Time line/Schedule: Ongoing
  • Webpage: http://www.iearn.org.au/tbear
  • Contact Persons: Anahi Ramos, Argentina, anahiramos1@hotmail.com; Fumi Ito, Japan, beefine@gamma.ocn.ne.jp
  • Level of Technology Used: WWW-based forums, newsreaders, email distribution lists
  • Supporting Organization: iEARN
  • Languages of communication: English, German, Spanish

UNICEF Voices of Youth
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, 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.

  • Age Level: 5-19 Years Old
  • Curriculum Focus: Social Studies
  • End Products for Students: Online Discussion
  • Time line/Schedule: Ongoing
  • Webpage: http://www.unicef.org/voy/
  • Level of Technology Used: WWW-based Forums, Chat
  • Supporting Organization: UNICEF
  • Languages of communication: English, French, Spanish

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Last Modified: 09/24/2009