In 2008-2009 a group of students in Mr. Juliani’s 10th Grade English class asked the question, “Why do we learn about all of this stuff (genocide and human rights violations), but never do anything about it?” This question sparked an idea and Project: Global Inform (PGI) was created. The students picked their own groups and researched current human rights violations. Each group picked a violation they felt particularly passionate about and began to develop an action plan. Their action plans allowed the students to judge how effective each method of media was at spreading information and creating awareness. At the end of Project: Global Inform’s first run, hundreds of people had been met face-to-face with information they did not know, while thousands of other teens and young adults saw videos, visited websites, and became Twitter and Facebook fans of media meant to create awareness.
In 2009-2010 Wissahickon High School took Project: Global Inform to the next level. Over 110 students participated and this time the students were even more creative. In addition to the video, web, and Facebook campaigns – groups began to host events dedicated to raising awareness for their cause. This time, not only was information spread, but money was also raised for organizations currently fighting against human rights violations. Thousands of dollars were raised in just under six weeks, showing that students do have the power to make a difference.
Project: Global Inform takes a peace education unit found in many schools (human rights violations and genocide) and infuses it with technology, experiential learning, and student-driven instruction. PGI has recently been developed into a non-profit organization that focuses on getting the project in as many schools as possible. As founder of PGI, I have had the unique experience of seeing first hand the impact these students have had on the world around them. The 2010-2011 school year is the next step for PGI as we roll out our “PlusTwo Pledge” campaign, and work to get PGI in districts across the country.
ProjectGI is linked to innovation in schools in a number of different ways. First and foremost, students use technology and social media to create "awareness campaigns". Instead of merely "learning" about human rights and genocide (which almost every school in American has a unit on) ProjectGI challenges students to "do" something about these violations. Students, teachers, administration, community members, and non-profit organizations all work together during this project-making it a true global learning experience.
You can learn more about ProjectGI at http://project-inform.org/. You should follow us on Twitter here.