#iEARN is the best kept secret that should be shared with every educator that wants their students to become globally aware and involved. Educators and students are provided with a safe , but engaging platform to share and develop project based learning projects or other projects that simply facilitate global and cultural excitement among students and their teachers in a way not offered in the general curriculum! I cannot express how much the content of this group has enhanced the learning of my students and provided me with an international cadre to build friendship and professional foundations with.
iEARN is a wonderful window to the world for US students and teachers. It is a networking organization that connects classrooms from over 100 countries in project-based, online learning experiences. Kids learn about others and themselves as they engage in thought-provoking interactions online. The true potential of this organization is helping develop graduates who are prepared to be citizens of the world, able to interact intelligently and in a culturally sensitive manner with their counterparts from throughout the globe.
I have been involved with IEARN since the beginning and in different ways over the past 25 years of history. Recently I have joined the board but in the past I was a facilitator for Learning Circles on iEARN. What makes iEARN so valuable is the personal connections that are created between students and teachers in classrooms around the world. In learning circles classrooms have the experience of leading a world wide group of students in a project that helps them learn more about themselves as they learn more about others. This reflection and understanding helps students to acquire a sense of global citizenship that will be so valuable in our shared future. Learning how to learn from and with people who are different with respect and curiosity are skills that are vital to world order. THere is no organization that is doing a better job of helping students develop new perspectives and empowering them to solve real problems in their communities and across the world. The stories are rich and varied but all end with a renewed sense of the wonder and power of the human spirit to find ways to get past amazing challenges.
I have seen this organization grow from 10 schools in Moscow and 10 schools in NY State to over 40,000 schools in about 120 countries; and do it with no loss of integrity and sense of mission. It is a testimony to the philosophy and the thousands of mostly volunteers, teachers and students.
Our foundation has been funding iEARN since 1988. I consider it to be the best investment we have made. When we started investing there were 9 countries and about 90 teachers impacting about 400 children. Today there are 130 countries, an estimated 36,000 teachers impacting over 3,000,000 children. When we provided seed money, we were donating about $150,000/year and iEARN's budget was about $400,000/yr. Now, because of their success, we provide funding in the two digits and their budget has increased to over $4,000,000/yr.! I would call that money well spent!