Each year within my AP Human Geography classes I assign a year-long "Country Portfolio" project. Each student is assigned four countries representing different regions of the world and different levels of economic development. My initial reason for this project is that it gives students a wealth of specific information on which they can draw as they compose the free response portion of the AP exam offered in May by the College Board (success on this exam can earn college credit for the students). Each year I also create a portfolio; this year my countries are Bolivia, Nigeria, Serbia, and the United Arab Emirates.
As a fellow in the Teachers for Global Classrooms program, I see the benefit of integrating more of a global education focus into my classes. Thus, I find a new reason to continue this project, and modify it for the future. One focus of global education as promoted by TGC is to provide students a greater opportunity to use technology so as to enhance their learning.
I have to admit that my use of web-based technolgoies has been limited, but through TGC I have learned about some worthwhile resources. One such resource is Weebly...a build your own website platform. As I learned of Weebly during the eight-week TGC online course I decided to play with it some and when I saw how easy it was to navigate I offered it to my students as an alternative presentation format for their "Country Portfolios". Few took advantage of this, but I continued working with my website and I want to introduce you to Burton's Country Portfolio 2011-2012.
An additional way that this project relates to global education is that through research, comparison of countries, and discussions with classmates, my students developed an interest in how they could use their new knowledge and provide a meaningful impact to a lesser developed country. Once they learned about "mico-loans" during the Development/Industry unit they knew they wanted to make a loan. Enter here another web-based resource, Kiva Loans, which I learned about in the TGC course from another participant, Steve Kelley (visit Mr. Kelley's school website & Ukraine travel blog).
So here we are, the TGC course has helped me roam some remote roads of technology integration and has enabled my students to roam into some inspiration for helping people in another country in economic need. And the roaming journey continues...