Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Helping Youth Discover the Common Humanity: Inside Project Explorer.org

--science + technology + innovation--

Technology is making our big world seem a whole lot smaller. Not only are we literally more connected by way of our sophisticated communications systems, but we are increasingly becoming aware of our global interconnectedness - our common humanity. As kids are growing up in a time marked by a sense of "global citizenship" their educational needs are shifting. Now there is an increasing need to assure that today's youth attain the necessary knowledge to better understand the histories and cultural nuances of people who seemed once so far away, who are now a whole lot closer on this seemingly "shrinking planet." One such organization is seeking to help make this learning process a whole lot easier, by creating global multimedia learning opportunities for today's youth.

The company is New York based Project Explorer and was founded by Jenny M.Buccos in 2003. The organization provides innovative multimedia materials aimed at fostering the next generation of global citizens, helping students discover the "common humanity" they share with the cultures and histories of the world. Via the Internet, over 800 schools globally use Project Explorer to gain access to people and places they may never have seen or even knew existed. As Ms. Buccos refers to it, "It's a virtual passport." And this passport is free.

ProjectExplorer is a nonprofit organization and its content is a free, online global educational series for grades K-12. Designed for both family and classroom use, Project Explorer's films and programming cover multiple subject areas while promoting cross-cultural understanding. Buccos states, "In our ever shrinking world, the strength of future communities requires an understanding of global cultures and people."

Most recent programming is "South Africa" which features world-leaders and visionaries, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dr. John Kani, and Pulitzer-Prize winning photographer Greg Marinovich. With "South Africa," Buccos has created dozens of short films to engage and inform school-aged children about South Africa's diverse cultural history while educating about difficult subjects like HIV/AIDS, poverty, and the legacy of apartheid.

Ms. Buccos and her team returned from the Middle East just weeks ago and expect to launch a new series on the country of Jordan in late February 2009. It is Ms. Buccos' hope that the Jordan film series will become "a springboard for open classroom dialogue on Middle Eastern cultures, religion, and politics."

To learn more about Project Explorer - go to www.ProjectExplorer.org

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