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Net4nets.net: Connecting Youth and Making a Difference!

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  • Bill Belsey
    Hi folks, My name is Bill. I currently teach a grade five class in a rural public school in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. I have been a member of this
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 1, 2009
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      Hi folks,

      My name is Bill. I currently teach a grade five class in a rural public school in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. I have been a member of this list for many years.

      I wanted to share a simple, but powerful little project with you that my grade five students here in Canada are undertaking with high school students in Botswana.

      Our project aims to prevent malaria, through education, awareness and the purchase of mosquito bed nets. My students have raised over $600 in the past few weeks by doing chores, shoveling snow etc. We have a modest Website at http://www.net4nets.net/ that helps to share our story. It is best viewed in Internet Explorer with the sound turned up on your speakers.

      Were you aware the malaria is the number one killer of children in Africa and that the equivalent of over seven jumbo jets full of children die each day from this preventable disease? Did you know that last year; nearly one thousand people in Canada had malaria? Until we undertook this project, my students and I didn't know this either.

      We are aware that there are many other bigger projects out there, such as the United Nations "Spread the Net" campaign etc. but in a time where stories about the (often real) dangers of the Internet for kids dominate the media, I wanted to offer up this little breath of fresh air in these dark days about what young people can do, even in small ways, to help make our world a better place in which to live.

      This international collaborative project was made possible through my friendship with fellow teacher Tommie Hamaluba of Gabarone Secondary School. Can you imagine teaching a computer program in a school of 2,500 students with twenty computers? He does!

      Our personal friendship and professional collaboration was made possible through iEARN, the International Education and Resource Network, see www.iearn.org. It might interest you to learn that with over two million student and teacher-members in over 125 countries, iEARN is the largest and longest running k-12 learning network in the world. In fact, last year, iEARN celebrated its 20th year online! You would hard-pressed to name another international educational initiative that has been online and kept its eyes on the prize for so long and with such consistency and integrity.

      It just goes to show that iEARN's original vision of "Connecting Youth and Making a Difference!" is just as valid today as it was 20 years ago. Perhaps in these troubling times, iEARN's vision of hope is just the tonic many of us need today.

      Although our modest www.net4nets.net project may be small in scale, the impact on our students has been remarkable, even transformational. It is quite common to walk into my classroom and see my students matter-of-factly accept Skype video conference calls from Africa projected onto our Smart Board, with students using Google Earth to plot and track mosquito bed net disbursements in Botswana, all-the-while calmly continuing with their regular Math, Language Arts and Social Studies assignments.

      I just thought you might appreciate a little good news story about kids from very different cultures and age groups who have found so much common ground as we learn together and try to make a difference.

      If this is what 21st Century Learning is supposed to look like, I'm all over it!

      Yours in friendship, learning and hope for the future,

      Bill Belsey
      Teacher
      www.coolclass.ca
      "Canada's Coolest Class!"
    • Janice Friesen
      Thanks Bill for sharing this story! So inspiring. You are so right that this is what it is really about. I have just become a member if iEarn and am looking
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 5, 2009
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        Thanks Bill for sharing this story! So inspiring. You are so right
        that this is what it is really about. I have just become a member if
        iEarn and am looking forward to the connections that we might make. I
        am going to print your letter and share it with teachers at my school
        who will hopefully be inspired!

        Janice


        On Apr 1, 2009, at 9:38 PM, Bill Belsey wrote:

        > Hi folks,
        >
        > My name is Bill. I currently teach a grade five class in a rural
        > public school in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. I have been a
        > member of this list for many years.
        >
        > I wanted to share a simple, but powerful little project with you
        > that my grade five students here in Canada are undertaking with high
        > school students in Botswana.
        >
        > Our project aims to prevent malaria, through education, awareness
        > and the purchase of mosquito bed nets. My students have raised over
        > $600 in the past few weeks by doing chores, shoveling snow etc. We
        > have a modest Website athttp://www.net4nets.net/ that helps to share
        > our story. It is best viewed in Internet Explorer with the sound
        > turned up on your speakers.
        >
        > Were you aware the malaria is the number one killer of children in
        > Africa and that the equivalent of over seven jumbo jets full of
        > children die each day from this preventable disease? Did you know
        > that last year; nearly one thousand people in Canada had malaria?
        > Until we undertook this project, my students and I didn't know this
        > either.
        >
        > We are aware that there are many other bigger projects out there,
        > such as the United Nations "Spread the Net" campaign etc. but in a
        > time where stories about the (often real) dangers of the Internet
        > for kids dominate the media, I wanted to offer up this little breath
        > of fresh air in these dark days about what young people can do, even
        > in small ways, to help make our world a better place in which to live.
        >
        > This international collaborative project was made possible through
        > my friendship with fellow teacher Tommie Hamaluba of Gabarone
        > Secondary School. Can you imagine teaching a computer program in a
        > school of 2,500 students with twenty computers? He does!
        >
        > Our personal friendship and professional collaboration was made
        > possible through iEARN, the International Education and Resource
        > Network, seewww.iearn.org. It might interest you to learn that with
        > over two million student and teacher-members in over 125 countries,
        > iEARN is the largest and longest running k-12 learning network in
        > the world. In fact, last year, iEARN celebrated its 20th year
        > online! You would hard-pressed to name another international
        > educational initiative that has been online and kept its eyes on the
        > prize for so long and with such consistency and integrity.
        >
        > It just goes to show that iEARN's original vision of "Connecting
        > Youth and Making a Difference!" is just as valid today as it was 20
        > years ago. Perhaps in these troubling times, iEARN's vision of hope
        > is just the tonic many of us need today.
        >
        > Although our modest www.net4nets.net project may be small in scale,
        > the impact on our students has been remarkable, even
        > transformational. It is quite common to walk into my classroom and
        > see my students matter-of-factly accept Skype video conference calls
        > from Africa projected onto our Smart Board, with students using
        > Google Earth to plot and track mosquito bed net disbursements in
        > Botswana, all-the-while calmly continuing with their regular Math,
        > Language Arts and Social Studies assignments.
        >
        > I just thought you might appreciate a little good news story about
        > kids from very different cultures and age groups who have found so
        > much common ground as we learn together and try to make a difference.
        >
        > If this is what 21st Century Learning is supposed to look like, I'm
        > all over it!
        >
        > Yours in friendship, learning and hope for the future,
        >
        > Bill Belsey
        > Teacher
        > www.coolclass.ca
        > "Canada's Coolest Class!"
        >
        >
        >



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