FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 20, 2006
—iEARN, the International Education and Resource Network, announced today that Polish primary and secondary schools have dramatically expanded their collaboration with schools in the US and around the world through online learning projects. And they worked together without having to leave their country or communities! Working in both English and Polish, students in the two countries use various technologies to get to know each other, exchange ideas and learn about each other’s culture. These students and teachers take for granted that learning and interaction in the classroom is now possible with partners anywhere in the world. Education for them is in a global classroom. Polish educators seeking to integrate online global project work into their classrooms also participate in an interactive online professional development course.
Polish students have joined such projects as The Christmas Card Exchange, Teddy Bear Project, Lewin, Teenagers Scrapebook, and Kindred, exchanging ideas, poetry and descriptions of their cultures. In these projects groups of 10 – 20 students, ages 8 – 17, participate, learn, and exchange views with their American friends without having to leave the classroom
. Schools throughout Poland have successfully established international connections. Anna Leszczynska, a teacher from Gymasium nr.1 in Gdynia, writes “This is my third time taking part in the Teddy Bear Project, it’s so much fun and my students learn so much!” Lucasz Koziol, a recent immigrant to New York from Chrzanow in Poland, said “I’m happy to see this great increase in the collaboration between Polish and American students and teachers. This is a great way to learn about each other.”
Polish teachers are also gaining technology and management skills to design, sponsor and facilitate online new projects. Projects like School Theatre International, Universal Values, Portrait of the World – Picture It, Little Explorers, and Our Ancestors have been not only successfully managed but also recognized in the European communities. The “Little Explorers” project, facilitated by Ewa Kurzak, Halina Bednarz, and Sylwester Strzelec from Lower Silesia region in Poland, has received the “Top 100 in Europe in eLearning” Awards this year. Another project, “School Theatre International,” managed by Halina Bednarz in Wroclaw, Poland and Panos Dimisianos in Greece, was awarded the “Quality Label for International Educational Cooperation” by the Greek National agency for European eTwinning network.
"Through the Internet, students and teachers have the opportunity to go beyond international simulations and engage directly with students in other countries,” said iEARN-USA Director, Dr. Edwin Gragert. “Students have the opportunity to both learn and teach through direct interaction, enabling them to gain knowledge about their classroom subjects and acquire the ability to work directly with other cultures instead of merely studying about them. Being comfortable working in teams with technology and with different cultures are important 21st century skills. We are very excited to see the expanded US-Poland online projects!”
IEARN was launched in 1988 as a pilot project between the US and USSR to demonstrate that students could use emerging new technologies to work together on meaningful educational projects that enhance the quality of life on the planet. It is iEARN’s vision that if students start working together globally from the earliest ages (5-19), they will learn better through experiential interaction with peers in other countries and learn that the world’s issues can be resolved by collaborative solutions. iEARN has grown to become the world’s largest educational network for project-based learning, with programs in over 115 countries.
iEARN-Poland has been an active member of the global iEARN network since 1995 and has trained teachers throughout the country on how to integrate technology into classrooms throughout Poland. Please visit iEARN Poland website at: http://webnews.textalk.com/pl/view.php?id=1510
iEARN-USA was awarded the 2003 Goldman Sachs Foundation Prize for Excellence in International Education and is a 2004 Tech Museum Laureate winner for “technology benefiting humanity.” Please visit www.iearn.org
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iEARN-USA is based in New York City. iEARN-Poland is headquartered in Warsaw.