Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Edu-Tourism / Sustainable Development June Meetup

This is going to be an informal meetup for folks who want to learn about Edu-Tourism's activities in Jamaica and to become involved in planning Philadelphia-based activities for the fall. Feature presentation (after it gets dark): Stephanie Black's excellent documentary Life and Debt, on Jamaican economy and society and the impacts of IMF/World Bank-sponsored structural adjustment.
Thursday, June 23, 2005 at 8:00 PM
Jamaican Jerk Hut1436 South Street Philadephia, PA 19146
215 545-8644
Info · Map/Directions

RSVP at our Meetup.com website!

Friday, June 17, 2005

time to congratulate our latest 'alumni'

Let me take the opportunity to welcome back a new group of students. This year's Jamaica course is going well - we are in the process of planning a final class session next week, probably at the Jamaica Jerk Hut. Katie Tanner, Kristen Hunter, Colleen Tomaszewski and Dan Savage spent the first half of the month in Jamaica, enjoying the hospitality of Novella and Nelson Keith and the staff at the new Center for Global Understanding in Yallahs. They were connected to our ongoing projects in women's students, disability studies, and instructional technology. I invite each of the students to post notes to this listserv describing their work and their findings before the July 4th weekend.

Again on this trip, students, teachers, and friends engaged in grueling recreational activities. On Sunday, June 5, the group awoke at 3:00 am to climb Blue Mountain Peak, arriving a little after noon to 360 degree views of Kingston, Yallahs and Portland from Jamaica's highest point. (I hope to be loading pictures of our feat to the Edu-Tourism Temple website shortly.) We are pleased to have been able to accomplish this feat before the arrival of the two tropical depressions that filled many of our subsequent days with clouds and heavy rains. Keep our Jamaican friends in your thoughts as the torrential rains continue today, June 17. When I spoke with her by phone yesterday, Iclyn Smith of 3D Projects informed me that two lives were lost in the parish yesterday due to flooding.

Readers of this blog will also be learning soon about more Edu-Tourism events to be held here in Philadelphia. This group of students returned with the goal of establishing a student board to advance ongoing projects and represent student views in Edu-Tourism board deliberations.

accessing computers in the formative years

Children are using computers at a increasingly early ages in the United States, according to a recent report from the National Center on Educational Statistics. One would like to see this pattern replicated in Jamaica, but we find that schools still lack the infrastructure and trained staff. Many of the basic schools now have one or two computers, but do not have a strategy for making the computer available to the kids. Our computer trainings helped to raise awareness and familiarity amongst teachers, and the free educational software that we provided goes a long way to promoting computer use. It is going to be great to see this program flourishing over the coming years. I will be staying in touch with Ms. Gordon, the Educational Officer for the Parish of St. Thomas, and Ms. Fraser of the White Horses Community Center so that we can learn more about the progress of these training sessions.