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 →
GUEST BLOG POST: SOUN SOTHY, Cambodian Teacher of English
In December of 2011, I met 20 year old Cambodian Soun Sothy in a workshop I conducted with the Ponheary Ly Foundation. Sothy has a passion for teaching and technology, and dreams of a future where he can harness technology to teach English to his young Cambodian students. In the new year, we will begin to experiment using iPads in his classroom.
In December 2011, I made my first video called Future Dreams and it showed about what I want for the future which is to become a computer teacher. However, now I teach English to grades five and six because I am studying at the English literature in university. It is my dream that I can teach both English and technology by using many aspects of technology 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…
After ten months of traveling, I have returned home to New York City and Baltimore to visit with family and friends, visit with schools with whom I’ve skyped during my travels, and get a slew of medical check-ups before heading back to Cambodia in October. I’m not going back to my Digital Thinking teaching and Technology Curriculum Coordinator position at Garrison Forest School. Instead, I’m going to continue on the road as a Global Educational Correspondent for Garrison Forest School while continuing to teach underserved students and communities in SE Asia and Africa how to harness digital media as a way to join the Global Discussion. I’ve left a steady paycheck, my house, a community of friends I love, and the comfort of the known. Yeah, there are moments I awake in the night and think, what AM I DOING?!… Continue reading →
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 →
Any long term traveler will tell you: Skype is a Lifeline to Home. Long gone are the days of expensive, barely audible overseas phone calls. Now, most travelers carry laptops with built-in cameras through which they can see and hear and laugh with their friends and family 1/2 way around the world. But, I was shocked recently by just exactly HOW FAR Skype could reach, and how effortlessly Second Graders born AFTER the invention of Skype could involve themselves in the process…