For the past six months, I have been working in collaboration with the Ponheary Ly Foundation in Siem Reap, Cambodia. After repeated successes here with short ‘Tell Your Own Story’ workshops in 2011-12, I returned to develop and deliver digital literacy and media production curriculum to the PLF-sponsored high school students. It’s been an incredible 1/ 2 year of experimenting with teaching visual storytelling and internet skills to these students in a dusty, corrugated tin-roofed classroom. And, it’s lead to my next project: Global Citizen Media.
This past week, temperatures were over 42 degrees celsius (110 degrees fahrenheit), but it didn’t diminish the enthusiasm in the room as we published, student by student, their first WordPress-based websites and blogs. Before pressing ‘Publish’ on each account, I asked the student, “Are you ready to share your ideas with the world?” “Yes,” each one answered. And after pressing, ‘Publish’, the room erupted in cheers. And the look of pride on the students will stay with me for a lifetime.
What I’m doing is not difficult. It only requires meeting the students where they are. The are eager. They are ready. They are capable. They just need a little bit of education around the technology, effective storytelling, and understanding a global audience. No matter where I lead them, they follow, and exceed my expectations every time. More on that later, but for now, I am asking for your support:
I want to commit another year to training Cambodian teachers and developing production skills for these young Cambodians. I want to expand the project to other locations and participants. You can help by making a tax-deductible donation to Global Citizen Media on my IndieGogo campaign page. All donations directly support my work. Please share the video and IndieGoGo campaign with friends.
GUEST BLOG POST: SOUN SOTHY, Cambodian Teacher of English
Sothy Soun was one of the first high school graduates supported by the Ponheary Ly Foundation. While pursuing an English degree at Pannasas Tra University, he teaches English to fifth and sixth grade students at Chey School. He also continues to take Global Citizen Media classes and was recently asked to oversee the Ponheary Ly Foundation’s Student Blog. His latest post examines the limited research opportunities available to Cambodians.
Old Documents at the Wat Damnak Library.
Cambodian students need a lot of books and documents to do research to improve our knowledge. Unfortunately, during the Khmer Rouge all of the important documents were lost. The Khmer Rouge destroyed schools, pagodas, hospitals, roads, and almost all of the libraries. Our important history documents were in these libraries. Continue reading →
15 year old Nary Chun, a student in the Ponheary Ly Foundation sponsored ‘Media for All’ Media III class, has written her first blogpost about the students’ visit to the 2012 ASEAN BLogfest held in Siem Reap. I was SO PROUD of the students for mixing with bloggers from all over Asia.
On Sunday 4th November 2012, my media class went to the ASEAN BlogFest2012 conference at Build Bright University in Siem Reap. There are six students in my class and our ages range from 16 to 18. The BlogFest ran from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Teacher Diana Gross had arranged for us to leave from the Seven Candles guesthouse by bus at 8:30am. To get to the guesthouse, I had to get up at six o’clock and ride my bike for 1 hour…
They’ve WON! Three student who were in the first Tell Your Own Story Project video workshop that I conducted seven months ago in Siem Reap, Cambodia have received a $10,000 GoodTube grant to start their own Media Production Lab. Sponsored by the Ponheary Ly Foundation, these students began learning computers 4 years ago on XO One Laptop Per Child. After continuing to learn “step by step”, as they say in Cambodia, they have come to this point: they believe that their voices are being heard and that they can create a positive future for themselves. It is truly one of the best, if not the best, projects with which I have ever been involved.
At the inception of my Traveling Teacher project, a core motivation was to see just how far mobile technologies could reach. If an iPad2 can hold a battery charge for 10 hours, is it possible to conduct iPad video workshops in remote villages where there was no electricity? Could the iPad and a little technology education be all that was needed to provide people living in remote regions of the world an opportunity to tell their own stories to the world, to add their voices to the Global Discussion? In late March, I was given the opportunity to find out: I was invited to travel to the far north of Thailand to the Mae La Oon Burmese refugee camp. After a week of preparations, I had secured a camp pass, hired a driver, and found myself staring out the dusty window of a Toyota 4WD, looking out at the scrub covered dry earth, pondering, once again, how many different experiences people in this world have. And how many different stories they have to tell…. Continue reading →
Rodrigo Solórzano, international writer and music composer, joined the Traveling Teacher for a 5-day Tell Your Own Story Project at Burmese Refugee Primary School 42 near Mae Sot, Thailand. He led 8 students in a unique musical and digital photography project. He shares his experience with us…
It appears as a natural pact, an unbreakable edict: the bigger the pain, the bigger the appreciation for the simplest experience. Continue reading →
When I was a young girl, my father used to tell me that even the Queen of England had to sit on the toilet. It wasn’t meant to teach me about the bodily needs of the Queen, but rather to impress upon me that regardless of outer appearances, we are all much more similar than we are different. This thinking has remained with me and been a guiding principle as a traveler, and has in part been the emphasis for a new YouTube video collection Continue reading →
While discussing the upcoming ‘Tell Your Own Story‘ workshop with Burmese refugee students at Best Friends School (also known as School 42 Kilometers) near Mae Sot, Thailand, it was suggested that the boys team create a video about Burmese games. We decided to take them through the brainstorming process anyway. And it was these young boys who came up with the idea to make the video “Proud to Be Burmese”. It was a simple, yet beautiful topic. And they moved through the brainstorming and video capturing almost effortlessly. They KNEW their Burmese Pride very well. Watch their video…