March 25 My Town Launches Pilot Competition With 8 Schools

My Town – an international, non-profit initiative to develop global perspectives among students through collaborative and competitive projects – has launched its first pilot competition. Teams from eight schools around the world will engage with each other to describe: “An interesting or significant feature of my town.”

Engaging online through the My Town website, each school suggests a topic for its project, which must be treated using critical thinking or creative expression. By the end of the program, each team will post and present content related to its topic. Throughout the process, students, teachers and mentors from around the world will collaborate with each other to help sharpen each team’s project. The Institute of International Education will issue certificates to each team, teacher and student that successfully completes a project, and Quanta Culture & Education Foundation will provide tablets as awards to individuals and teams that win among various award categories. Knowledge Platform will also provide tablets and prizes.

The schools participating in the pilot are: American Community School (Athens, Greece); The Spinney School (Cambridge, England); Chittagong Grammar School (Chittagong, Bangladesh); Junior Middle School 2 (Shanghai, China); Nancy Campbell Collegiate Institute (Stratford, Canada); Barbara Priestman Academy (Sunderland, England); BeiDa Senior High School (Taipei, Taiwan); and Nanshan High School (Taipei, Taiwan).

Stefanos Gialamas, the President of American Community School (Athens), who helped conceive the My Town initiative noted: “We are thrilled how the pilot is going. We were planning to run our first initiative with only five schools, but we ended up with eight. The topics, in the process of being refined, are fascinating, and include an examination of physical and metaphoric bridges, a poetic treatment of a ‘hometown’, a perspective on the lives of ignored people, a journey through the bright side of a city recently portrayed negatively in social media and the world press, descriptions of festivals, and a retrospective on architectural styles. The students and teachers are already engaged with each other in vibrant dialogue, exchanging perspectives through forum discussions and photos.”

“We are delighted to participate in My Town,” noted Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of the Institute of International Education (IIE). “We need to build pathways to global citizenship and, through My Town, students may engage meaningfully with each other’s environments, while building capabilities in communication, expression and critical thinking. And, in today’s world, we need to learn how to concurrently collaborate and compete. My Town aims to provide that opportunity to students around the world. We hope to progressively scale My Town to include more schools, teachers, mentors and sponsors from around the world.”

Lori Hsu, the Director of Quanta Culture & Education Foundation, added: “My Town provides tremendous opportunities for cultural and international interchange. Because the projects will be relatively short, they may be easily accommodated into the busy schedules of secondary, and even primary, school students. The students are having a lot of fun and are at the same time learning something deeper about their own towns and other towns.”

The sponsors of the My Town initiative include: American Community School (Athens, Greece); Bestway Education (China); Chittagong Grammar School (Chittagong, Bangladesh); Creativity, Culture, Education (UK); Institute of International Education (USA); Hon. Jerry Hultin (Senior Presidential Fellow, New York University, and Chairman, Global Advisory Board, Smart City Expo World Congress); Knowledge Platform (Singapore); Quanta Culture & Education Foundation (Taiwan); and WISE / Qatar Foundation (Qatar).

Singapore-based Knowledge Platform is managing the My Town platform and the launch pilot competition. For additional information, please contact Amaani Hamid, Director Knowledge Communities, at Knowledge Platform (Singapore), at ahamid@knowledgeplatform.com.