White Plains Middle School extends global education
State College, Pennsylvania, May 21, 2012 – Middle school students at White Plains Public Schools have enhanced their digital citizenship skills and learned how to collaborate more effectively by participating in the Schoolwires Greenleaf Virtual Cultural Exchange Program.
“The Greenleaf program provides technology tools that allow students from different cultures to communicate with each other in way that is meaningful to adolescents,” said Dr. Christopher P. Clouet, superintendent. “Our district embraces opportunities like these to provide a global-oriented education to our students and help them understand and participate in today’s global society.”
Designed specifically for K-12 education, Greenleaf is supported by a curriculum guide that enables American and Chinese students in partner schools to collaborate and gain skills that will help to ensure their success as global citizens in a digital work environment. Fifty-seven students in grades 6-8 at White Plains district have been partnered with students at Suzhou Lida Middle School in China since January 2012. The students interact using blogs, chat, and videos as they move through the standards-based curriculum.
Although students in the district have participated in one-time video conferences with students in other parts of the world, the Greenleaf program gives them a unique opportunity to build relationships with Chinese learners and gain a deeper cultural understanding over time. The participants learn how to work in virtual cross-national teams to conduct research, engage in ongoing dialog and complete projects that address real-world problems.
“The curriculum and guided topics allow students to build their knowledge of another culture over a longer period, and this makes it more impactful,” said Jody Kennedy, program teacher. “The depth of the program also helps students collaborate more effectively online. I stress ‘effectively’ because students often think they are communicating well when they are not. With the Greenleaf program, they get continual feedback and opportunities to develop the 21st century skills that will be critical to them in the workplace.”
All the student participants at White Plains volunteered for the program which they engage in during study hall or after school.
“When I asked for their feedback on the program, the students all agreed that it was an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Kennedy. “Having interactions with peers their own age and getting information straight from the source is worth its weight in gold. The program has been an invaluable opportunity for the students.”
“It is very satisfying to know that Schoolwires is playing such a meaningful role in the development of cultural understanding,” said Christiane Crawford, Chief Executive Officer and President, Schoolwires. “I’ve seen firsthand the excitement of students in China as they worked on projects with their US peers. They are particularly thrilled with the opportunity to practice their English language skills. We continue to explore new ways to bring virtual learning and classroom exchange to more school districts in both the US and China.”
Schoolwires, Inc. provides a suite of technology products and related services to more than 1,300 educational entities, including K-12 school districts and schools in the United States and China. The company’s technologies are designed to foster community, student, teacher and parent engagement in the classroom, locally and internationally. Its solutions include an integrated website and content management system, a safe social learning and networking system, and an enterprise technology platform. Schoolwires brings together a district’s essential technologies, information, and content to effectively engage the K-12 community in support of district and student success. The company currently serves an estimated 10 million users and has been recognized as one of the top privately held education companies for the fifth consecutive year by Inc magazine.
© 2012 Schoolwires, Inc. All rights reserved.
Katie Kilfoyle Remis