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Milton Hershey School Extends Ghana Distance Learning Program

The Milton Hershey School will extend its Hershey Learn to Grow Ghana Distance Learning Program, which launched last fall, through the end of the 2013 school year. The live distance learning program uses real-time, high-definition technology to connect approximately 80 primary-age students in Hershey, PA and Assin Fosu, Ghana.

The program was created to help students in both countries connect and share cultural experiences. It was originally intended to cover eight modules over two months in October and November 2012, but it was so successful that it has been extended through the end of the school year with the possibility of further expansion in the future.

This semester, the program will cover a variety of topics to help the students explore each other's culture. One session will cover festivals, addressing how and why each country celebrates important cultural events or special occasions. In another session, students from Ghana will talk about how children are named in their country and the cultural significance of different names. Students will also share their talents, such as singing and dancing, and they will have a question and answer session to talk about what it's like to live in their respective countries. The sessions this semester will be student-driven, with students researching topics of interest and then planning and leading the live classroom sessions themselves.

"We are excited about this new approach, which is less teacher-driven and will allow the children to lead the sessions, directly engage with each other, and truly share the best of their cultures," said David Bruce, sixth-grade social studies teacher at Milton Hershey School, in a prepared statement. "We believe this new approach will be more meaningful and provide a deeper understanding for the students of what it’s like to live in each country."

The Hershey Learn to Grow Ghana Distance Learning Program is one of The Hershey Company's cocoa sustainability programs. The Hershey Company is the largest chocolate manufacturer in the United States and Ghana is a world leader in cocoa production. The program was developed in collaboration with the Milton Hershey School, the M.S. Hershey Foundation, The Hershey Story Museum, Cisco, the Assin Fosu school, Ghana Education Service, Ghana Cocoa Board, and Source Trust. According to the company, its cocoa sustainability programs are intended "to engage with cocoa communities, accelerate farmer and family development, improve the lives of cocoa families, and reinforce cocoa sustainability in West Africa, where 70 percent of the world's cocoa is grown."

The students from The Milton Hershey School connect to students in Ghana from The Hershey Story, The Museum on Chocolate Avenue in downtown Hershey, PA.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].