Distance Learning | News
Schoolwires Expands Greenleaf American-Chinese Classroom Exchange Program
- By Tad Wayne Taborn
Schoolwires has launched an expanded version of its Greenleaf Classroom International Exchange Program. A 2010 pilot program paired two schools in China and the United States. The fall 2011 program will pair 10 to 15 additional classrooms in both countries.
The expansion builds upon the original Greenleaf exchange program between Beijing Yu Yuan Tan combined middle and high school and the State College Area High School in Pennsylvania.
The exchange is designed to encourage students in the participating partner schools to collaborate and develop global networking skills. Supported by the Chinese government and utilizing Schoolwires technology, the program creates virtual cross-national research teams that address real-world problems.
In a recent release, Schoolwires CEO Christiane Crawford explained that their online environment has been specifically designed for student safety while allowing students to engage as global citizens and use 21st century skills to understand global solutions to global issues through tackling real-world problems.
Additionally, Crawford pointed to Schoolwires International Classroom Exchange Platform as a cost-effective alternative to the traditional physical classroom with the potential to engage "exponentially" more students using virtual interaction and user-driven 21st century social media in a manner that is safe for students.
The two-year curriculum is project-driven and based on guiding teachers to create a supportive environment for students and to foster critical thinking, language, and social skills.
The expansion is slated to begin fall 2011. The 10 to 15 additional U.S. classrooms will be paired with the same number of classrooms in China. The pilot originated with 70 students and two teachers in the 2010 fall semester. Participation increased during the winter 2011 semester to 90 students and three teachers.
The Schoolwires-developed curriculum incorporates teacher and student feedback from the pilot program, building upon cultural exchange and project-based learning objectives. The crux of the program is:
- A credit-based course structure;
- Clearly defined objectives and assessment;
- A two-year curriculum designed to maintain student motivation; and
- Technology-driven platform based on multi-lingual, online collaboration and communication.
Schoolwires, headquartered in State College, PA, works with approximately 7 million users nationwide. The private education company builds community-based initiatives designed to supplement and K-12 learning. Further details can be found on the Schoolwires site.
Tad Wayne Taborn is an independent journalist, professor, and screenwriter. He can be reached at [email protected].