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Classroom with a View

How one reporter’s extraordinary journey is connecting students around the world

February 12, 2015
A world map of the classrooms participating in the initiative Out of Eden Learn

I feel buried. Not just in work, but in snow.

For those of us who have the misfortune of spending this winter in the Greater Boston area, we crossed the 74 inches mark sometime last weekend. And with both a passport and several credit cards close at hand, I know I could escape, somehow, if I really had the gumption. A change of scenery, in my estimation, or just the thought of it, is sometimes all you need to see beyond the impending avalanche outside your door.

For teachers and students in classrooms around the globe — some with snowy views, and some without — the chance exists to embrace their own wanderlust in a far more constructive manner. As captured in The Road to Learning, UK writer Bari Walsh shares details on Out of Eden Learn, a new initiative by Project Zero that follows journalist and explorer Paul Salopek’s seven-year trek around the world.

For those of us unable to accompany him on the 21,000-mile journey, one where he will “retrace the migratory pathways of our human ancestors,” we can follow him on his blog, on the Out of Eden Learn website, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. And whether you are trapped by snow, like me, or by other obstacles, you can participate via assignments and activities that are designed to break the barriers, defeat our isolation, and let us see the world around us with new eyes.

As the activities demonstrate, new perspectives are possible — even when we’re snowed in — if we are willing to slow down, look more closely, and listen to those around us. If we bring these observations to our global classroom, we build even greater understanding among kids and their various, rich cultures.

As I long for green grass and the sight of sun, I will also think ahead to what might be learned from the 7,000 students on six continents participating in Salopek’s travels. As Dr. Seuss so wisely wrote, “Oh, the places they’ll go!”

The map, above, traces the planned 21,000-mile journey of journalist and explorer Paul Salopek.

About the Author

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Mary Tamer
Mary Tamer was the senior editor of Usable Knowledge and the Director of Marketing and Communications at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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