Featured Resource: KidLink
At the beginning of June, International Children’s Day was celebrated in many countries around the world; It marked the need to recognise and improve the welfare of the world’s children and as an opportunity to encourage the creation of an alliance and understanding between the youth of today. With this in mind, it is essential to educate our children about global issues to increase their understanding of the world. So, this month's Featured Resource focuses on a website that has been created primarily for use by children and young people to expand their outlook.
KidLink was created as a tool for children and young people to collaborate and network with friends around the world. KidLink began as a grassroots movement in 1990 where participants from Canada and Norway took part in an electronic dialogue. Over the last two decades, the project has expanded substantially into the KidLink society, enabling children from 176 countries to exchange their thoughts and ideas, with over 500 volunteers in over 50 countries running the knowledge network reflecting the global nature of the online resource.
From its beginning, KidLink has aimed to foster cross-cultural development by encouraging online collaboration between its members. The founders of KidLink believe that children all over the world can learn from one another by working collectively to compile a 'database' of ideas and opinions. This is possible as KidLink is a multi-lingual website; resources are available in 39 languages with over 100, 000 pages that can be accessed by its members.
As KidLink evolved KidLink teachers and volunteers created online educational projects to encourage learning. A selection of existing topic areas include: the Building Language Bridges project which is designed to help kids bridge language barriers by using drawing, photographs, sound and video as ways of communicating about their everyday life. The Multi-Cultural Calendar is a compilation of the unique ways the KidLink kids celebrate their country's holidays and festivals including recipes, historical background, significance of the holidays and the special ways in which these days are observed. The My Future Job project is an online resource that gives young people the opportunity to discuss and plan their future career. The online projects allow kids to experience cross-cultural interaction through global inter-personal networking.
For teachers, KidLink has developed numerous educational programmes which are closely linked for use with the national curriculum. Current modules include: The Who-Am-I? project provides teachers with set lesson plans and topics which can be adapted to suit teaching in the classroom. The I Have a Dream module allows students to plan, design, and implement an internet based project. These modules can be used to teach Economics, English, History, Information Technology, Geography and Science amongst other core subjects. The exercises within the projects allow students to develop and nurture key-skills such as decision making, problem solving and team work. The online projects devised by KidLink embody many aspects that are extremely useful in enhancing the learning process.
The current/on-going projects act as a platform for online learning, encouraging issues and ideas developed at school or in the home to be discussed in a global classroom improving cross-cultural interaction to empower, educate and prepare youth for the future.
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