Literacy in History/Social Studies
21st Century Skills
Youth Talk is a dynamic yearlong virtual exchange program designed to foster mutual understanding among young people in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa. In partnership with Bridges of Understanding, Youth Talk builds cultural awareness and global citizenship through virtual exchanges, project-based learning, and cross-cultural collaboration. Through these activities, students will investigate the driving question “How does cross-cultural dialogue promote global citizenship?” By the program’s conclusion, students will be equipped with the 21st century learning skills needed to positively influence relations between the US and Arab world.
Program Fact Sheet
Click on image below to view pdf.
* When citing these materials, please include these recommended citations:
Global Nomads Group, “Youth Talk Educator Handbook,” (2012). www.gng.org.
Global Nomads Group, “Youth Talk Student Workbook,” (2012). www.gng.org.
• SCHOOL PAIRS- Selected schools are paired off with a partner school from another country. They will work together through the duration of the program.
• TIMEFRAME- Student program activities will occur from late September through mid-April.
• EDUCATOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT –GNG will facilitate a two-part educator professional development session prior to the start of program to provide participating educators tools and resources to help implement the program in the classroom. This includes training on how to effectively integrate program curriculum, best practices for videoconferencing, and tutorials of various program activities such as social networking platforms. This will occur in early September. Exact dates to be determined by school calendar of selected participants.
• PROJECT-BASED CURRICULUM- In project-based learning, emphasis is placed on student inquiry and investigation through hands-on activities. Details found below.
• INTERACTIVE VIDEOCONFERENCES (IVC)- Through the internet and supporting tech hardware, classrooms connect in real-time for face-to-face dialogue and interaction. Four IVCs will take place during the program- approximately every six weeks beginning in late September. Exact dates are to be determined by school calendars of participating schools.
• GUEST SPEAKER WEBCAST (optional) – A webcast with a guest speaker will be held during the year. Students will have the opportunity to interact and engage the guest speaker with questions and comments.
• SOCIAL NETWORKING PLATFORM- Students and educators will engage on a social networking platform developed exclusively for Youth Talk participants. This space will allow students and educators to continue dialogue and exchanges outside of scheduled videoconferences.
• COLLABORATIVE PROJECT- As part of the curriculum, student groups will be supported in developing a collaborative project with their partner school. The project will be student-driven and related to citizenship and raising awareness about some of the issues students will discuss during their IVCs (such as US-Arab relations, civic engagement, human rights, environment and climate change, education, or media).
• STUDENT-STUDENT PAIRS (optional) – In order to strengthen the student-student connections among the participating classes, Youth Talk is implementing an optional student pairing. The pairings will take place at the start of the program and will include 1-3 US and 1-3 MENA student(s) per pair. Student pairs will be encouraged to correspond via the online platform regularly with one another.
In project-based learning, emphasis is placed on student inquiry and investigation through hands-on activities. The Youth Talk project-based curriculum will explore four broad modules, each with an emphasis on exploring and promoting active global citizenship. These modules are intended to provide the framework for the virtual collaboration sessions between the students. Each module includes a hands-on activity for students to complete and share during the virtual exchanges, and will guide the students towards a collaborative project by the final IVC. The curriculum will be available in English, and both project leaders and students are therefore required to have sufficient proficiency in that language.
Youth Talk is a unique opportunity for your students to engage with learners from around the world. Students will become active in their local communities, aware of international issues, and gain the cultural sensitivity needed to positively influence relations between the US and Arab world in the 21st century by:
• utilizing a project-based curriculum that explores cultural exchange, media literacy, and how to engage as an active citizen both in the US and MENA region.
• participating in virtual exchanges via videoconferencing, online platforms, and multi-media projects.
• enhancing 21st century learning skills such as cross-cultural learning, use of technology, hands-on investigation and collaboration, and innovative classroom learning.
• supporting educators through professional development sessions and dedicated staff for on-going support.
Students will be able to learn about each other’s culture through these exchanges, while considering questions related to global citizenship and bringing awareness to international issues affecting their schools, communities and countries. In addition, through program activities, they will also acquire a variety of college-ready skills such as: public and cross-cultural communication skills, critical thinking, problem solving, group work and collaboration, and multi-media presentation.
1) 15-20 secondary school student participants
a. Flexibility. Time zone differences between participating countries require flexibility. Students should exhibit a willingness to come early or stay after school for virtual exchanges 4 times in the school year. Exact times are to be determined upon selection and will be dependent on partner schools. Schools in US (GMT-5/4) will generally be asked to meet between 7 – 9 AM. Schools in the MENA region (GMT+1/2/3) will be asked to meet between 2 – 5 PM.
b. Single Gender School Pairs (Optional). Because some schools across the MENA region are divided by gender, they may request single-gender participation from your school. Please keep this possibility in mind as you fill out the application.
2) Committed and enthusiastic educator
Student program activities will run from late Sept through late May. Educator professional development sessions will occur in early September. Educators must be actively responsive- via email or by phone- and will help students meet project deadlines.
3) Commitment to schedule
Once a videoconference schedule is set between the partner schools (inclusive of two back-up videoconferences), A SCHOOL MAY NOT CANCEL A VIDEOCONFERENCE unless extenuating circumstances arise.
1) High-speed internet bandwidth, minimum of 384 KBPS
2) Committed ICT Coordinator- willing to provide technological support for virtual exchanges
3) H.323 videoconferencing equipment- If your school is selected and does not have such equipment, support will be provided.
This program is valued at $1500 ($300/IVC) and will be offered for FREE of charge in exchange for your full participation in the evaluation process. Evaluation activities include educator and student surveys and a focus group discussion.