Saturday, July 14, 2007

Day Five: International Studies Summer Institute

Technology is the Order of the Day

Thursday was loaded with technological opportunities. Marc Cohen, senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, presented his material via the Internet utilizing videoconferencing (Polycom). While the research and content was interesting and informative, it was again almost overshadowed by the presentation of the unbelievable teaching possibilities via Internet video. Being able to bring the world into your classroom will increase the impact on students almost immeasurably. What a perfect fit for a geography class.

Fishbanks is a great simulation game for teaching food sustainability, but for me its application in the 7th grade classroom would be a serious challenge. Its introduction and execution would require a great deal of time, so I don't know that I'll find great use for it in my classroom. However, given the right circumstances its impact could be great.

Tibet in Bloomington

Wow, what a great night at the Tibetan Cultural Center in Bloomington. Who would have thought that we'd find such an amazing facility right here in the middle of Indiana - certainly not me. Like much of what we're doing here, the exposure to different cultures will pay huge dividends in the classroom.

Buddhism as a philosophy, more than a religion, is not something that I had really considered. Nor was I aware of the desire of Buddhists to exist in cooperation with other faiths. This is something that was made clear by Arjia Rinpoche (pictured), the monk that oversees the operation of the center. In fact, one display in the temple immediately jumped out at me. It contained important components of various faiths.

And who can't forget the food. We were treated to a tremendous dinner of traditional Tibetan dishes, followed by chai and butter teas.

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