From 2001 until 2004 SchoolNet SA hosted the Global Teenager Southern Africa Project. This was a joint initiative of the International Institute for Communications Development (IICD) based in the Netherlands, The Open Society Institute for Southern Africa (OSISA), Schoolnet Africa (SNA) and its national Schoolnets in the Southern African region and Media in Education Trust, (MIET).
It originated from the international Global Teenager Project founded by International Institute for Communication Development and is therefore viewed as an extension of this project to the Southern African region. It was a pilot project that had just been introduced in order to involve other countries from the Southern African region that are not part of the original GTP.
- The Global Teenager Project Southern Africa like GTP, ( www.iicd.org/globalteenager ) its host organisation, is a network of secondary school students from developed and developing countries sharing information using email and Internet as tools for communication.
- It is an online collaborative project that aims at promoting cross-cultural relations among the young people from within countries and different countries.
- It also aims at promoting integration of ICT’s into the curriculum.
The Learning Circles
The platform in which the students exchange information in the GTP Southern Africa is called the Learning Circles. (A concept derived by Margaret Riel of I*EARN).
The Learning Circles in the local GTP Southern Africa are divided into two:
English Learning Circles
This is an international learning circle in which schools from Malawi and South Africa interact with other countries from Africa, Middle East, the Caribbean, South America, USA, and Europe etc.
Themes Discussed in the English Learning Circles
Different themes that discussed in the Learning Circles are HIV/AIDS, Democracy, Human Rights, Sustainable Development, Safety, and My life, World Peace etc. These themes are renewed each an every term and are suggested by the teachers in different countries. Each class in a country chooses the themes they are interested in and will work other classes that have chosen the same theme.
Participating Countries Nationally and Internationally
Jamaica, Bolivia, Suriname, Michigan, Netherlands, Moldova, Romania, Germany, Macedonia, Latvia, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Malawi.
The Structure of the Learning Circles
The Learning Circles are done twice in a year. The first phase of the Learning Circle is from March – June and the second phase is from September – December. The interaction of both students and teachers from these countries has been structured into five stages or phases:
|After the introduction workshop, teachers prepare their students for participation in Learning Circle. This involves discussing responsibilities, preparing a classroom and teacher’s introduction and thinking about a question to ask the other participants.
|Opening the Learning Circle: Write and send: Teachers letter & Class letter.
|Interaction begins with the first introductory electronic messages listing participants. Teachers open the Circle with a chat session and send their first “Hello” message. Students send a Class Letter to the Learning Circle to introduce themselves, their school and community.
|Week – 2- 3
|Sponsoring a Question for the Learning Circle
Students Chat 1
|Teachers and students reflect on what they would most like to learn from interaction with regional experts in other locations. Each class formulates a single question, which they would like to research on.
|Weeks – 4 – 5 – 6
|Responding to the Learning Circle
Student Chat 2
|Students and teachers use their expertise on their local surroundings to respond to each of the questions.
|Week – 7- 8- 9
|Summarizing the Circle and making a Circle Publication
Send summary to partner schools
|Each class collects and analyses the responses to their sponsored question. They prepare a summary of the responses for the Circle publication.
|Week – 10
|Closing the Learning Circle|
Student Chat 3
|Students write and send a goodbye message and say good-bye during a chat session and the students are required to complete all their work as scheduled in the timeline.
Activities done by GTP Teachers