|A KIDLINK Day|
in a new time-space dimension
by Patti Weeg
As more schools around the world have access to the Internet during the instructional day, our students are experiencing a new dimension of time and space. The realities of this new dimension in which we live and teach our students, challenge all of us to think beyond the "now" and embrace a world community that transcends time and geography.
I live on the east coast of the USA but, in a very real sense, that's no longer where I work. In truth, I really believe that I am much more than just a citizen of the USA. I am a citizen of the global community brought together by technologies that grow more sophisticated each day. My work takes me to Japan, Iceland and Pakistan yet I am back to my school cafeteria for lunch time duties. My travel doesn't require a passport and jet lag is never a problem.
We live in a new "time-space dimension" where time takes on a new meaning. Isamu Shimazaki, an online colleague and I write to each other late at night and early in the morning yet words cannot describe where we really are in time. He is in my tomorrow and I am in his yesterday but we are writing to each other in the NOW.
I wrote to a KIDLINK list about a message that Isamu sent me and the sentence I wrote was strange. I typed, "Isamu sent me this tomorrow." The past and the future were one! Well, it was sent in my tomorrow because he was already in the next day. He signed his message to me this way:
From your tomorrow,
While Isamu and I can send messages back and forth to each other from our homes in real time, my students understand that we cannot do IRC with Isamu's students because our round world will just not allow it. They are asleep when we are awake and having classes in school. Isamu's students and mine are citizens in this new time-space dimension. Time and geography are very important to them.
Looking Inside Our Time Dimensions
For the past two years KIDLINK has offered a global project in KIDPROJ called A KIDLINK Day. In this project, students from around the world write a journal for one day, which has been identified in the project as - The KIDLINK Day. These journals form the database of a unique opportunity to look across the new time-space dimension where our young citizens of the global community find themselves interacting.
The project provides teachers with an excellent source of data for use across many curriculum areas such as social studies, math and writing. By looking closely at the descriptions of a typical day across many time zones, our students become aware of our multicultural diversity. Students around the world are basically the same with similar hopes, fears and dreams yet their everyday day lives are filled with details that are typical for their place on the planet. Teachers using the KIDLINK Day project find many ways to address curriculum requirements and learner outcomes while using the project.
In typical journals your students might see common threads in their days:
Looking at Journals Together
Here are suggestions for a group of 5 students working collaboratively to collect data from journals.
Student 1 - Looks at the time of day that students wake up.
Student 2 - Looks at the length of the school day.
Student 3 - Looks at how many hours a day kids watch TV.
Student 4 - Looks at how many hours a day students spend on homework.
Student 5 - Looks at the time of night when kids go to bed.
Once data is collected and organized, students take the data and graph it using line, bar or pie graphs. From these visual displays of their data, students write about and discuss what they see and learn from the journals.
A simple project such as writing journals on a specified day and sharing them with friends who live in many parts of the world helps our young people enter into a new time-space dimension. The Internet brings this new dimension to all of us who send e-mail into tomorrow while writing inside the recipient's yesterday.