Monthly Archives: December 2008

… from Cooperating School Districts

Happy Holidays


Videoconference Sessions at METC 2009

teachersHeading to METC next month? Don’t forget to attend the sessions on interactive videoconferences! Some include: The Perfect Videoconference – Andy Campbell; Virtually Crossing Cultures: Using GNG Videoconferencing to Connect Youth Globally – Tonya Muro Phillips; Collaborative Curriculum Videoconferencing Projects – Elaine Shuck; Kids Creating Community Content: The KC3 Story – Jan Zanetis; and Cultural Diversity: Diversity in the Dugout- James Yasko (Baseball Hall of Fame). We also have v/c connections with Adventures in Medicine and Science at Saint Louis University and Paul Hieronymus will speak on The Emerging Technology Game.

Remember, you can follow METC2009 on Twitter and join the METC Ning.
Don’t forget that Early Registration for METC ends on December 31st!

Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis Celebrates Five Years

Challenger Learning CenterLast month, the Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis celebrated its 5th Anniversary! Ruth and I were invited to attend the celebration and really enjoyed the experience, especially listening to teachers and students who have utilized its services. Another highlight was listening to keynote June Scobee Rodgers, Ph.D.

Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis’ 5th anniversary was the topic of one of CSD’s recent bimonthly podcasts. Click here to listen Tasmyn Scarl Front of the Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis and Craig George discuss the Center, its programs, and what’s ahead (including distance learning with the Virtual Learning Center)!

March, April May, the GNG way

Here are some more spring videoconferences being offered by Global Nomads Group. Sign up early, they are very popular!

Women and Gender Issues: A Week-long Celebration for International Women’s Day
In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2009, students will be celebrating the remarkable achievements of women by looking at how women are changing and shaping many worldwide issues. Specifically, we will celebrate International Women’s Day through studying a series of women who have taken exquisite leadership in their communities. We will look at women’s leading roles in education, climate change, human rights, as well as the financial sector. In addition, in partnership with CARE, we will celebrate International Women’s Day through a study of specific programs implemented by CARE that have promoted women’s welfare in the international community through viewing a documentary called A Powerful Noise.

Exploring Energy: Alternative Fuels, Nuclear Energy, Solar Energy, Dams
Four 2-Part PULSE Series ( March-May)

earth_icon“Drill, Baby, Drill?”  This mantra was repeated time and time again in the Presidential Elections last fall.  What is all this talk of drilling and alternative energy about, and why should we care? In this 4 part Pulse series, students will explore the various sources of energy that have been significantly discussed in the media in recent months and their impact on the environment. We will look into alternative fuel for vehicles – and what our GM Suburbans may look like in the future; nuclear energy and its significant role in the international community; solar energy; and dams. In addition, young people will have the opportunity to speak directly with scientists and experts in the field of energy.

GNG will organize a series of videoconferences from a yet to be disclosed location with GNG’s four founders. The program will draw upon the history of GNG’s field programs and may last up to two weeks. Stay tuned for more info!

LIVE from the Field: CARE- Afghanistan
afghanistanCARE has been working in Afghanistan since 1961, though the 1979 Soviet invasion and the violent civil war that followed made it necessary to suspend operations from 1980 to 1989. Recently, due to heightened security issues, CARE has had to re-structure some of its humanitarian relief programs, but it is still actively supporting Afghans all over the country. CARE currently works to fight the underlying causes of poverty in Afghanistan in three major areas: advocacy, relief, and development. In this four-part videoconference series, students will go beyond the headlines to learn firsthand about the issues facing the people of Afghanistan from one of the key NGOs that is supporting their development. What are the current challenges facing Afghanistan? How are students, young widows, and other vulnerable groups affected by these challenges? What role does CARE play in aiding the redevelopment efforts? How are the U.S. and other governments participating? Students will have the opportunity, first-hand, to speak with Afghan students and CARE staff members about the past, present and future direction of their country, despite the manifold issues they are facing, many of them life-threatening.

Rapid Response: The Democratic Republic of Congo
Over the past ten years, more than 5.4 million men, women, and children have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo primarily due to the drcconsequences of its civil war (diseases, bloodshed, etc.). Just recently, the on-going conflict in the DRC has been splashed in the major headlines as the country is on the brink of another war. In this special PULSE series, students will learn to identify the root causes of the conflict and the humanitarian and environmental issues as a result of it. In addition, students will learn to celebrate the history and culture of the DRC and identify the ways to bring hope to its future.

January & February GNG Videoconferences!

Here are Global Nomads Group‘s January and February videoconferences. Topics range from Inauguration Day to Youth Role Models. GNG connects several schools for each videoconference, and in addition from learning from experts in the field, students are able to dialog with one another. If you are coming to the Midwest Education Technology Conference in January, you can see Tonya Muro Phillips of GNG speak. Here are the programs being offered the first couple months of 2009 (to see all spring 2009 programs, visit here).

President Obama Inauguration Day
ObamaIn this special PULSE session, GNG will kick-off our Spring programs by bringing students along to partake in the most historic moment of our times.  Tuesday, January 20, 2009 marks the date where the 44th President, Barack Obama, will be the nation’s first African-American President to be sworn into office.  GNG will be on the ground – live from Washington DC – bringing the energy from the streets into the classroom!  GNG will be interviewing eyewitnesses who will be in attendance so that they can speak with students about their impressions of this historic occasion.  Students will have the unique opportunity to ask questions to individuals attending the inauguration.  GNG will also air excerpts from the inauguration.

A Glimpse of Genocide in the Midst of Global Geopolitical Conflict
Since the horrors of the Holocaust, the mantra “Never Again” has been repeated in an effort to prevent a repeat of one of humanity’s darkest hours.  Even after the approval of the Genocide Convention by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, the international community continues to struggle and overcome the challenges presented by genocides.  In the past 60 years since the Genocide Convention, ironically, mass murder has continued to take place in countries such as Cambodia, Kosovo, Rwanda, and even up to the present day conflict in Darfur, Sudan.   Present-day conflicts of genocide are often rooted in deep geopolitical conflict dating back to the pre-colonization era.  As the world continues to become increasingly intertwined with the rapid effects of globalization, the fight for natural resources and minerals, food, land, and water become an underlying tone for present day genocide. In this two-part v/c, students will move a step beyond exploring the concept of genocide by looking into its modern day context of geopolitical struggles.

Youth Role Models
5 Part extended PULSE program (Jan-May)

Batman? Iron Man? The Incredible Hulk? Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron?  Superheroes and Super idols seem to infiltrate our daily lives whether it is a larger than life cartoon character or a larger than life pop culture icon.  Students may be surprised to find that everyday heroes live amongst us.  In this series, students will come face-to-face with their peers – whose big ideas and bold movements are changing their communities and the world.  Students around the world will come together to meet such peers in hopes of inspiring a new cadre of young people to become everyday heroes themselves.

Face to Faith: A Youth Dialogue on Religion and Culture (January-June)
How does Faith affect your personal belief system and how does it shape who you are?  Do these two things even influence each other?  Or is Faith an unpopular subject among youth?  In partnership with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, sign up for GNG’s new program: Face to Faith. Since October 2008, GNG has connected 350 young people from Canada, India, Singapore, and the USA in videoconferences to discuss what influences their lives – from their personal Faith, to family and friends, to world events, and even popular music and television shows, among other factors that influence adolescents. In discussions regarding self identity, youth have been empowered to explore how this impacts their role as a member of their family, school & community.

Open Architecture Challenge: The Classroom Challenge
8 Part Bi-Monthly extended PULSE program (February-May)

Architecture for Humanity and the Global Nomads Group are hosting a design competition, which will tackle the health, environmental and performance concerns associated with today’s classrooms. Due to economic factors and rapid growth of our schools, portable, makeshift classrooms are now permanent features on schoolyards across the country. The 2009 Open Architecture Challenge invites you to partner with architects in your community to design better, greener classrooms for our schools. Take back the classroom!  GNG has partnered with Architecture for Humanity to offer the Open Architecture Challenge. This global contest is an opportunity for faculty and students to work with designers to create a healthier learning environment. Your personal experience meets professional know-how. Your students will learn about architecture and healthy buildings, explore the design process and develop their own creative ideas,  learn real skills used by designers, participate in a process that will see results, and work with professionals and experience possible career opportunities. A comprehensive architecture/design curriculum is available to teachers who are interested in the Classroom Challenge. For more info, please see:

China and India: Emerging Global Superpowers
There are nearly 2.4 billion people in China and India, which make up a significant portion of the world’s population.  With skyrocketing economies, these two diverse Asian “meganations” are making more and more headlines worldwide each day.  In the U.S., opinions of China and India as “economic giants” are as varied as they are strong, as well as opinions about trade policies, human rights, economic inequality, the environment, education, manufacturing of goods, and many more.  Although the U.S. has a different relationship with both China and India, especially with regard to the nuclear weapons issue, it is without question that all three countries are becoming increasingly interdependent. In this series, students gather to dig beyond the headlines and talk about the real issues behind U.S.-China and U.S.-India relations.  What is China’s role in an increasingly globalizing world?  What is India’s role in this new economic world order?  What should our policy towards both nations be?  Students discuss openly and honestly their views on current relations with China and India, and their visions for China’s and India’s place in our world’s future.

The Global Economic Crisis: Putting Stock in the Markets?
Wall StreetWe are truly living in challenging times, the unprecedented crisis of the world economy being one of the most critical.  Stock markets have fallen.  World financial markets have crumbled.  Some of the wealthiest nations in the world are scrambling to come up with economic rescue packages for their economic institutions.  Why are the world markets fluctuating more than they ever have in history?  How are we being affected in the U.S.?  In this session, young people will go beyond the news and engage in a dialogue about macroeconomics, and how it has impacted the global economy and the ensuing crisis.  Moreover, students will be equipped with new information in order to better understand how the economic challenges will impact them, their families and their communities by speaking with a Wall Street professional who has been directly involved with the crisis.

President Obama’s Dilemma: Guantánamo Bay
One of the first announcements after the election of Barack Obama was that he will close Guantánamo Bay – a plan that caused a flurry of media attention and debate.  “Guantánamo Bay” is a U.S. detention facility in Cuba – why is it so controversial?  Who is kept in Guantánamo Bay? Is it different than a regular prison? Why will an Obama administration want to close it? What policy questions does that decision raise?  What are the lasting effects suffered by detainees, and what are the human rights issues involved?  Why is the media talking about an investigation of Guantánamo?  What will happen with the people who are there if it is closed?  Students will discuss the dire situation with their peers with the assistance of a policymaker who has been researching the dilemma.