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Published:May 17th, 2006 14:03 EST
Inspire and Unite:  Youth are Connecting Communities and Preparing for the Future

Inspire and Unite: Youth are Connecting Communities and Preparing for the Future

By SOP newswire

[SAN DIEGO - May 19, 2006] 503 schools from 52 countries participated in Global SchoolNet's International Schools CyberFair 2006 competition-exhibition. In partnership with the World Future Society, the theme for CyberFair 2006 was "Inspire and Unite!" Students were challenged to prepare for the future, by thinking about their own future plans, the conditions that will affect the future of their community, and issues of global importance. Winners were chosen by a panel of distinguished international judges from four continents representing countries such as Brazil, Canada, Switzerland, Philippines and Taiwan. Projects that best illustrate "future thinking" will be presented at the World Future Society international conference in Toronto, July 2006. 

Tim Mack, executive director of the World Future Society said, “CyberFair is truly the embodiment of what Thomas Friedman has been terming a ‘flattening world,’ where geography, social class, level of expertise or political division does not stand in the way of greater understanding and effective learning worldwide.” 

This year’s top projects originated from Taiwan, Romania, Poland, Singapore, San Diego, California, Rockford, Illinois, and, Haddonfield, New Jersey. One project told about the unique history of Bucharest through its monasteries, gardens and traditional restaurants, while New Jersey students explored their history through the traditions of the US flag. San Diego youth collaborated with their global partners in Ghana, as they addressed local environmental concerns by creating organic gardens and monitoring water quality. Taiwanese projects ranged from the amazing accomplishments of indigenous mountain dwellers, to the building of the colossal Taipei 101 skyscraper, to the endearing story of the sweet potato. And, we learned about the diverse life in Singapore through online diaries representing three age generations.

“In a world that is becoming increasingly flat -- and for the sake of humanity – all youth MUST learn how to work together to solve problems and to address issues such as poverty, civil and ethnic conflict, safety and security, environmental degradation, and human rights.,“ said Yvonne Marie Andres, president and co-founder of Global SchoolNet. 

International Schools CyberFair is an award-winning, authentic learning program used by schools and youth organizations around the world. This White House endorsed program was launched a decade ago with seed funding from Cisco Systems, Microsoft and MCI and is designed to be a model for what happens in the modern, high-tech workplace. Youth conduct original research, produce educational content, share their creations worldwide via web, video, blogs, podcasts, digital stories and participate in evaluating the content created by other students. Recognition is given to the best projects in eight content categories: local leaders, businesses, community organizations, historical landmarks, environment, music, art, and local specialties. CyberFair has affiliate program partners worldwide, including Taiwan SchoolNet -- and national initiatives in Philippines, Ghana, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico, Pakistan, Poland, and Australia. Now in its 11th year, this competition-exhibition involves more than one million students and is the longest running international cyber event for schools.  

Winning schools receive software from Tech4Learning and Impatica and the top projects receive a one-year subscription to Futurist magazine. View CyberFair projects at www.globalschoolhouse.org/cf 

ABOUT GLOBAL SCHOOLNET FOUNDATION:

As online learning pioneers, Global SchoolNet has become a trusted online community for global project-based and problem-based learning. Founded in 1984 by teachers who believed that in a connected world students need a global perspective, GSN brings together youth online from 194 countries to explore community, cultural and scientific issues that prepare them for the workforce and help them to become responsible and literate global citizens. Global SchoolNet is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit education organization. For more information please visit www.globalschoolnet.org