Fifty-seven White Plains Middle School students are participating in the Schoolwires Greenleaf Virtual Cultural Exchange Program, communicating with students at Suzhou Lida Middle School in China and working on group projects using multimedia and social media, including videos, chats, and blogs.
"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," said Superiintendent of Schools Christopher Clouet in an article about the initiative published in The Journal, an online news website that covers educational technology initiatives.
The Greenleaf program includes a curriculum guide, so students in the U.S. and overseas can collaborate on lessons aligned to core standards. It includes six main areas of study: team building and digital citizenship; the communities we live in; our futures in school and career; global citizenship; landmark places; and iconic images.
"The curriculum and guided topics allow students to build their knowledge of another culture over a longer period, and this makes it more impactful," White Plains teacher Jody Kennedy told The Journal. "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."