Eight students completed a project-based learning exploration in Beijing in February to integrate and teach Chinese kids components of American western culture. Students led Chinese kids through activities arranged in categories of holidays, education, music, food, fashion, art, social behaviors, sports, medicine and other events they consider to best represent western culture through role play, projects and web based applications.
Our non profit World Classroom Program proudly used Intel's Thinking Tools; Visual Ranking and Seeing Reasoning to showcase these endeavors of democracy. American high school students trained Chinese kids how to use Intel's web based tools as an application while inside the tools contained research topics of American Democracy. One of our goals was to highlight facets of democracy to a communist country using student facilitators as lead presenters. Teacher’s Darren Carollo and Shirley Pickton of Dallas worked behind the scenes to coach kids and with camera crew to ensure everything ran smoothly. American students were each responsible for delivering a specific training to groups of Chinese kids that barely spoke English. Aside from being in a foreign country thousands of miles away from home, absolutely freezing cold and pushing democracy in a communist country, the stress on the American student facilitators was really more how to effectively reach their foreign spoken audience than anything else.
Frequently, it is the Chinese developing and teaching westerner societies new technology. We were able to bring to them what we have developed. While the project’s focus was for our students to work with the Chinese students, we did have time to research and explore The Great Wall of China, Ice City of Harbin, The Orient Express from Harbin to Beijing, The Chinese Opera, The Chinese Emperors Summer Palace and The Forbidden City. It was also very cold. In some places it was -30ºF throughout the day and even colder at night. We would spend 6-8 hours each day outside in these elements. Students enjoyed themselves so much they forgot about how cold it was.
Mark Birnbaum and his documentary film crew were able to capture these priceless moments and their subsequent full length feature film was a official entry at The Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival in 2009.
http://educate.intel.com/odyssey/Story.aspx?storyid=394 (full story in print)