Thursday, March 6, 2008

Welcome to Our World Project

Welcome to Our World Project is a neat project that teachers and students would enjoy. What a great way to teach students about the world around them. If you look at the whole presentation, you will see that worksheets are even shown for the class to use. Here is information the teacher has sent out: “Welcome to Our World is a Voicethread project that seeks to connect students around the world to one another through images of their communities. The thinking is that different classrooms will upload pictures that represent normal life in their corners of the globe, showing pictures of housing, clothing, common foods, religions, landforms and past-times.

Each image will start with one basic question: What do you notice? Students studying new communities can try to make inferences about life in different places through the images presented. They can ask questions or leave comments contrasting life in new places with their own lives. Then, classes from the studied communities can respond to comments, better explaining their lives, customs and traditions.

You can participate in Welcome to Our World in two ways: By leaving recorded or written comments or by uploading your own set of images for other communities to study—or, better yet, both! You can begin commenting immediately. If you’re a teacher and you’d like to get your class involved in uploading images, contact Bill Ferriter at (or Skype him at wferriter). He’ll add you as a user that can edit and add images.”

You can go to his blog that tells about this project too:

I just think this is a great way to show our students the world around us. Many of my students had never been outside their own towns. Once I took my students on a hiking trip to Carl Sandburg’s home in Flat Rock, NC. When we got out of the city of Greenville and headed up the highway right outside of Traveler’s Rest, the students saw mountains in front of us. In fact, we had to pull over and he took a whole roll of film of just the mountains. Now keep in mind, this stretch of road is probably not even 15 minutes outside the city of Greenville. That is when I realized that I needed to find ways to broaden my students’ horizons. The next year I took them to Charlotte, NC to Discovery Place and they loved it. Since many of my students do not have cars and their parents do not drive, the odds of them leaving their communities is pretty slim. I think it is important as teachers for us to show them how to look for what is out there in the world. Something like this project would be perfect to show students the world around them. I feel this will help them be more successful in life. I hope you check out this project and consider collaborating on it.

Photo Credit: Earth by JayLopez (stock.xchng)


Bill Gaskins said...

Great project idea....I can't wait to share it with others.

Bill F. said...

Hey Pat,

Just finally tracking this post down! Not sure how I missed it...

Regardless, thanks for the plug. I think Welcome to Our World is powerful because it's simple and highly motivating to kids. Looking at images of life in other parts of the world is just plain cool to them.

As a teacher, I like the text comments option on Voicethread because it gives students a chance to do some free writing----something I think has been overlooked in schools.

It aligns a bit with what Clay Burell has been writing about students needing "detox" from school writing.

So readers, what say you? Do your students have opportunities to do significant numbers of opportunities to articulate their thinking through words?

Is Voicethread the opportunity that might change that for you?

Bill Ferriter

loonyhiker said...

Bill: I really liked the project and hope some people were directed to it from my post. I also enjoyed hearing you on WOW 2.0 last night about the Darfur project.