The World Mind Network would like to invite your classroom to become a ‘node’ in the FriendsBeyondBorders program.
There is no cost associated with this, and no work to be done by you. But the benefits can be considerable. We can link your students to teachers, experts, and other students in many fields from all over the world. The opportunities for sharing knowledge and experience, cross-pollination, and collaborating over new ideas are almost infinite.
The WMN is a group of teachers, scientists, artists, and professionals who believe that Internet technologies have made communication among millions of humans so varied, rich, and facile that our planet is becoming something like a Giant ‘Brain’.
But, just as a real brain has a complex set of procedures whereby only neuronal connections occur which accrue to the benefit of the whole organism, so we want to provide guidance to Web 2.0 communications so that those which encourage and inspire students to learn are emphasized. You can see the beta version of our website at worldmindnetwork.net.
Many of your students already are familiar with social networking because of websites like MySpace, Friendster, and Facebook (and of course Ning).
What the WMN does is to allow them to do WHAT THEY ALREADY WANT TO DO ANYWAY, but in a way which is both educational and fun.
On our Board of Advisors are Jeffrey Alexander, professor of Sociology at Yale, Irene Matusaka, Country Director of The Hunger Project in Uganda, Makalai Bell, Vice Chancellor of the Univeristy of Goroka in Papua New
Guinea, Ray Masson, professor of Education at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, Sohini Bhattacharya, Director of the Ashoka Project in India, Joanna Beresford of Appreciative Inquiry USA, and many others.
Our network is fully customizable. You decide who you want your students to communicate with. You can even ‘brand’ the network with your own name and have it hosted on Ning or elsewhere with your own content. In cases where computers are not available in the classroom or where permission from administrators is needed to add something new, students can access the network from their home computers.
If your students are doing a class project which uses social networking, blogging, wikis, podcasting, webcams, or video to connect with other students around the world in a way that is innovative, educational, and newsworthy, then we will, if you like, send press releases about the project to our network of publicity sites, including PressBox, Dimeco, PRlink, eWebWire, eWorld News, and many others. These are used by hundreds of journalists and submit their content daily to thousands of newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, and blogs. This kind of exposure can be quite valuable to students who can cite it, for example, in their college applications.
Here’s why this is a ‘win-win-win’ situation for everyone: YOU can provide your pupils with a rich experience of Web 2.0 technologies without doing anything; your students make friends all over the world, learn the nuts and bolts of practical networking, and make influential contacts who will assist them in future educational and career endeavors, and WE build awareness of our programs.
All without any money changing hands.
Not only that, but if you and your students are doing something of visual interest which can inspire others around the world, we will send you, free of charge, a Logitech SLX webcam which streams full color sound and video at 30 frames per second. All we ask is that you set up the camera to display a LIVE feed, and that you stream the video to a site which we can link to (this is free, and we can show you how to do it.)
We have discovered that there is nothing like LIVE video to get students excited about the amazing cultural, scientific, environmental, and artistic things that are going on all over the planet right this minute.
Many of our members are especially interested in issues like Third World poverty, Climate Change, educational reform, cultural preservation, sustainable agriculture, social networking, technology transfer, and other things which are coming to define the 21st century. If your students are doing projects in areas like these, we can introduce them to people well-known in the field who can enrich their learning.
We don't want to be a burden on existing school activities, but rather to use our networking capabilities to give fresh relevance to what you are already doing. If appropriate, we also want to alert the world to the ground-breaking ways in which YOU are using Web 2.0 at school.
Let us know what you think. If you'd like to know more, visit the site, or Google "World Mind Network".
If you have questions, email us.
Anna Chu Lin
World Mind Network