As a globally connected K-12 education network since 1988, iEARN is positively MAD about Connected Educators Month this October. This type of event has been useful in promoting the concept of globally connected teaching and learning more widely. Still, this is a new concept for many classroom teachers, administrators, policymakers, and parents. As a result, we are often asked what the concept of connected education looks like in action, as practiced by teachers and students. Here’s an example:
Beginning this year, iEARN youth, educators and coordinators around the world have designated the last Tuesday in October as MAD (Make A Difference) Day. On MAD Day, iEARN participants will give back to their local communities through community service and by sharing their projects with others. Below is some of the MADness from this week.
At first blush, it may not seem that these MAD Day activities happening in each country are connected. In fact, they are very much so, as designed by the teachers and students working together across the world. These MAD scientists are using iEARN’s online, project-based collaborative platform, the Collaboration Centre, to learn from each other how to make a difference in their communities. For 26 years, this collaborative, service-driven approach has enable a safe, inclusive environment of trust and mutual respect that supports “anywhere, anytime” learners in ways that are equitable, social, participatory, and culturally appropriate.
Is globally connected education appropriate for your school? You’d be MAD to try it.
In Tunisia, TEARN (iEARN-Tunisia) organized a “1000 vote flowers“ event in Sfax as a sensitizing campaign. As Tunisia voted on October 26th to elect its first Democratic Assembly after the Constitution, TEARN thought it was highly important to take part in this national event. So, students under 18 who don’t have the right to vote yet, bought 1000 roses and walked around the city and offered them to old people, urging them to vote.
Also in Tunisia, participants organized a Caps of Love Campaign. On September 20th, the team organized a campaign to collect as many plastic caps as possible to give to a myopathy association so that they could send them to a recycling company and in return get a new wheel chair. They managed to collect more than one hundred kilos of plastic caps within five weeks, and distributed flyers to school mates to sensitize them to the event. They also made posters, performed short plays about community service, and wrote poems andd sang songs.
Nanzhi Senior High students launched a campaign “Say No to Plastic Bags!” to invite teachers and students at school to bring bags with them while shopping instead of using another new one. All of the participants were required to record the number of bags they saved for a week. For the last week, around 85 people participated in this activity and 815 plastic bags were saved. After announcing the result they performed a show about how albatrosses died because they took plastic bags as food, which had put these beautiful creature in great danger.
In Taiwan, NSLI-Y students from the United States on program in Taiwan went with an iEARN-Taiwan school to visit Hondao Senior Citizen’s Welfare Fundation and gave pineapple cakes they did with National Shan-Hua Senior High School students to grandparents, and played and ate together. And of course, we promised them to see them soon in next month!
In Pakistan, students at Bloomfield Hall School in Lahore celebrated Fun Day with SOS children to make them feel honoured, and during the second phase, they collaborated with Johar Town Campus to clean a littered plot outside the school to beautify the area and raise awareness about protecting the environment.
In the United States, the iEARN-USA team visited Denton Avenue Elementary School where fifth graders and their second grade buddies performed a song …We can make a difference … for the school and then created messages of inspiration to post around the school building.
And, in Illinois, students from a readers theatre performed for a local retirement living center.
In Miami, students cleaned garbage out of the ocean.
In Romania, Cornelia Platon, iEARN-Romania Coordinator and Facilitator of the Folk Costumes Project, and her students hosted a special event at Liceu Alexandru Papiu Ilarian Dej School to share about iEARN and the project and invite others to join.
In Bangladesh, the iEARN team and Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program alumni, Saint Joseph School, and the Our Rivers, Our World Project team are carrying out roof top gardening activities throughout Dhaka.
In Sana’a, the iEARN team worked to remind people about the importance of keeping the environment clean and safe, and made a presentation to the Seeds institute for 52 students & teachers. They talked about respecting dustmen and helping them to protect themselves against dangerous things found in the garbage. They also shared pictures through web applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook to make more people aware people of their message.
For more inspiring MAD Day images and stories, please follow the iEARN Facebook page.