The internet and globalization has brought the world to each of our students finger tips through various media sources. However, when speaking with students it becomes very obvious that even though they have numerous international influences through music, media and also through the products they wear and use, they have a poor understanding of the daily lives of those living outside their city or even small community. The two resources shown below, I have used to fill 5 minute periods in transition or homeroom to bring attention to issues or ideas occurring around them. Both sites have brought on conversations and engagement to understand more about the current events and world around them.
BBC News Daily Pictures is a site that provides about 10 images from the previous day, highlighting key news worthy events, celebrations or geographical wonders. A single sentence appears on the bottom when the cursor goes over top. With each picture I ask the students to predict either what they feel is happening, where this picture was taken or why the people are doing what they are doing. They give evidence from the picture and as a class we read the single sentence, creating an uproar of cheers if they had any information correct, but also eliciting questions as to what is actually happening.
Gapminder is an online program that takes valid international data from various sources including the UN, World Bank and government files and visualizes it clearly for the audience to see. Circles representing different countries move around on the graph allowing the viewer to see how the country has changed over time. The beauty of the program is that you can select a wide variety of things to compare from numerous countries. For example, you can see if female literacy has an affect on the number of children per woman. I ask students to make predictions of where they think countries will end up on the graph in the most recent data. Usually starting 30 years ago, the balls move around the diagram leaving a trail to indicate where they started and how they have improved or declined. Also it is interesting to have students see where the "third world countries" lie in comparison to Canada today and in the past. Here is a Ted Talk that I saw and made me love the program even more!
Hans Rosling - Gapminder