Reach The World is a nonprofit educational media developer and a provider of school-based training in instructional technologies. The companys mission is to link students and teachers in low-income communities with real-world, global expeditions that have the power to expand learning beyond the four walls of the classroom.
Since the launch of Reach The Worlds flagship expedition, the 1997-1999 circumnavigation of the 43-foot schoolship, Makulu, more than 75 public school classrooms in seven states have worked to design curriculum projects in all academic disciplines related to the expedition. The second circumnavigation of Makulu began in November 2001 and is ongoing. In addition to providing online content, Reach The World offers collaborating classrooms significant support and professional development opportunities linked to each expedition. Reach The World is a compelling means to help children connect to a global community, support educators in a new technological age, and address the digital divide.
Vision: One day, every classroom in every community will have the training and resources necessary to incorporate real-world, real-time information about the worldâs environments and cultures into learning, sparking childrens natural curiosities and connecting them to a global community.
Mission: To pioneer in the development of expedition-based, online learning environments in partnership with communities where educational and cultural opportunities are limited.
Goals: To create expedition-based, online learning environments that infuse classroom learning with real-world information, allowing students to inquire about world environments and cultures while also expressing pride in their own heritage and beliefs.
To provide teachers with the support and training that they need to advance their own skills and mentor other members of the school community.
To help ensure that children growing up in low-income areas have the exposure they deserve to the world beyond their schools or neighborhoods.
To inspire children to view themselves as valued members of a global community.
Needs Assessment: Technology literacy, global education, and higher-order thinking skills are prerequisites for success in todays world. Over the last decade, the number of jobs that require technological aptitude and higher-order thinking skills has grown twenty-fold. In school, technology-enriched learning has emerged as a means to introduce students to the world in ways that were formerly unimaginable and are critical to preparing students for life after school.
For children growing up in low-income areas, however, the “digital divide” has emerged as a barrier to opportunity. The digital divide separates them not only from developing the skills necessary to access challenging, high-paying jobs, but also from feeling that they are valued members of a global community. Without aggressive remedial action, this inequity will be as powerful a barrier to self-determination for underprivileged children today as segregation was for the generation that came before. The root of this divide begins in public school classrooms.
Consider this fact: The average ratio of students to computers in Americas public schools is now seven to one, compared to 25:1 just a decade ago. Now that were at the point that we have technology in about 80 percent of our classrooms, its time to look at the content that can be delivered using technology tools. When it comes to technology, however, all students are not created equal.
Just two percent of children in low-income rural areas have Internet access in their homes.
Public schools with more than 50 percent minority enrollment average 10.5 students per Internet computer, compared to 6.4 in schools with less than five percent minority enrollment.
Content is the critical missing element in most technology initiatives. It is easy to put hardware in classrooms, hoping that it will “get used.” In under-resourced classrooms, however, it is often difficult for teachers to integrate technology into learning. Developing the right content to fill computer screens is even more difficult, and requires a sustained commitment to teachers agendas, support and professional training.
Reach The Worlds mission is to bridge the divide between computer hardware and content. Using real-world expeditions as a premise, we employ multimedia and network technologies to create expedition-based, online learning environments for students and teachers.
RTW is one of a handful of companies working to develop virtual expeditions that use distance-learning technologies to allow students to learn about the far reaches of the globe. It is the only such company that focuses exclusively on underserved communities where educational and cultural opportunities are severely limited. Our materials are a resource that broadens and uplifts traditional school programs. We aim to impact directly on students skills, confidence and motivation during the critical elementary and middle school years, preparing them to reach their full potential as part of a global community. We also work to help educators adapt to teaching a technology-enriched setting.
Together, we will work for fundamental change in the distribution and delivery of educational resources that introduce children to the world beyond their classrooms, and to the world of potential in themselves.
For more information about Reach The World, and to follow the voyage of Makulu, visit their website at www.reachtheworld.com