Partnership Offers African Culture Film Free Online to Schools
A film with the potential to dispel a great many myths and misperceptions and develop greater understanding between two very different cultures is now available via streaming video for free in-class viewing.
Africa Today, a documentary that follows first hand a cultural exchange between Americans and Ugandans on the latter's home soil, is being offered through a joint effort by the Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership. The film is available, with user registration, at exploreafricatoday.com.
Africa Today, produced by Discovery Education, covers the journey of six Los Angeles teachers and students to Uganda on a cultural exchange to learn about the country and its people. The participants learned from one another about the respective cultures' arts, linguistics, and even technology in the form of cell phone use in the classroom in both countries. They also took part in a frank discussion about stereotypes and other inaccurate perceptions that each culture had regarding the other. All of the film's subjects appeared to come away with a great deal of "insider" information that opened their eyes to a previously unfamiliar region on the opposite side of the world.
In addition to the film, the Web site offers a number of other tools designed for greater cross-cultural understanding, including lesson plans for teachers interested in exposing their students to the differences, as well as some surprising similarities, in the daily lives of people a world away.
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Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.