Showing posts with label Global Cultures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Global Cultures. Show all posts

Friday, October 13, 2017

Turquoise Mountain: Preserving Traditional Afghan Crafts

Turquoise Mountain is a non-profit organization that was founded by the Prince of Wales and the former president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai. The Turquoise Mountain Institute, located in Kabul, Afghanistan, has helped transform this war-ravaged city and preserve its rich cultural heritage. Artisans learn a variety of crafts including woodworking, carpet making, ceramics, calligraphy, and jewelry making. The teaching staff at Turquoise Mountain employs some of the most skilled artisans in Afghanistan who pass along their skills to the next generation. This method of learning was nearly lost due to decades of civil war. The Turquoise Mountain Institute has played a critical role in making sure skills and knowledge of these crafts are not lost forever.

In addition to working with artisans in Afghanistan, Turquoise Mountain also helps works with Myanmar and Saudi Arabia. This organization also helps rebuild and preserve historic structures and they provide educational and health care services.

Applications for Education
Teachers can use this site to help students understand Afghan culture. The short videos produced by Turquoise Mountain illustrate the importance of passing on traditions from one generation to generation. This website can also be used by teachers looking for an example of the power of community.

This video will give you a better idea about what happens at the Turquoise Mountain Institute.

Turquoise Mountain Institute from Turquoise Mountain on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Visualizing Cultures - Image-Driven Scholarship

Visualizing Cultures is an interesting project created and developed at MIT. Visualizing Cultures consists of thirteen visual narratives accompanied by essays. The project combines visual narratives and essays to tell the history of Japan since the arrival of Commodore Perry or as MIT describes it, the history of Japan in the modern world. The essays can be read on the website or downloaded as PDF's for printing. Each visual narrative consists of several sections, each section consists of ten to fifteen images with captions. In some ways Visualizing Cultures could be described as an academic picture book.

Applications for Education
Visualizing Cultures could be used at a wide range of grade levels. The essays could be used in a high school history class and the visual narratives could be used in a middle school or possibly elementary school class. Visualizing Cultures provides a model for students to use as they create visual narratives of their own.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Fasten Seat Belts - Videos About Cultural Norms

Fasten Seat Belts is a neat website designed to help travelers learn the cultural norms of the places they plan to visit. The site is funded in part by the European Commission's Life Long Learning Program. Fasten Seat Belts offers videos for travelers going to countries in Europe and Asia. You can search for videos by country or by theme (table manners, bar customs, etc).

Below is a video about not showing the soles of your feet while in some countries in Asia.

India 4_ Don’t reveal the soles of your feet to other people. from 43 Films on Vimeo.

Fasten Seat Belts also offers a free iPhone App describing the do's and don'ts of cultural norms in various countries around the world.

Applications for Education
Part of the curricula in my school's foreign language programs requires students to learn about the cultural practices of the countries in which their language of study is spoken. These videos could be helpful for introducing or reminding students of some of those lessons. These videos could also be very valuable if you are taking students on a trip outside of their native country.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Two Cool Language Infographics

Through the Cool Infographics blog I learned about two interesting infographics produced by PS Translation Services. The first is titled The Most Widely Spoken Languages in the World, but I think a better name would be "translation station." The Most Widely Spoken Languages in the World is a train map of the most widely spoken languages in the world. Each track on the map represents one of twelve languages. Each station on each track indicates a country in which that language is widely spoken.

The second infographic from PS Translation Services is titled the Language Olympics. The Language Olympics features five rings. The rings represent Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe, and Oceania. Each of the rings is comprised of the languages spoken there. The infographic includes some additional information about the number of languages spoken at the Olympics and the demographics of visitors expected at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Applications for Education

These infographics (download for free) could make for interesting classroom display and discussion. Here's a question to pose to your students looking at the Language Olympics infographic, do you think it's important for athletes that speak different languages to try to understand each other? (A little background on that question, in the mid-late 90's I competed in some international archery competitions. One the difficulties for me was trying to communicate during the scoring process with other archers and judges who did not speak English).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Earth Calendar - Every Day is a Holiday Somewhere

Earth Calendar is a small demonstration of cultures and traditions from around the world. Earth Calendar is built on the idea that every day is a holiday for someone somewhere. Earth Calendar has three simple search options, holidays by date, holidays by country, or holidays by religion. I used the holidays by country option to find out that May 1 is Labor Day in Macedonia.

Applications for Education
Earth Calendar is a simple to use resource for students to use to get a little flavor of cultures and traditions from around the world. I've always found that adding just a little bit of lesser known information about a country's culture helps to engage students in lessons about world news and world studies.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Music from North Korea & Around the Globe

The BBC Radio World Music Archive is comprised of music recordings gathered over the course of ten years from countries all over the globe. The collection includes recordings from some dangerous and hard to reach places like North Korea and Iraq. In fact, the BBC reports that the recording from North Korea is the first radio recording done by anyone outside of the North Korean government.

Applications for Education
The BBC World Music Archive could be a good resource for teaching lessons on world culture through music.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Arts Edge - Podcasts and Lesson Plans
Classics for Kids - Classical Music Lesson Plans
Music Theory Lessons and Tutorials

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

LangMedia - Resources for World Languages

LangMedia, produced by Five Colleges Incorporated, provides resources for learning languages less-commonly offered by high schools and colleges in the US. Some of the languages for which LangMedia offers educational resources are Arabic, Bulgarian, Persian, Thai, and Urdu. For these languages LangMedia provides course outlines, practice dialogues, and lists of resources necessary for completing the requirements of each course.

In addition to resources for learning languages, LangMedia offers a section called Culture Talk. LangMedia Culture Talk is a collection of video clips of interviews and discussions with people from many different countries, of different ages and from different walks of life. The videos are intended to give viewers insight into the cultures of peoples around the globe. Some of the videos feature English speakers while other videos do not. Those videos that are not in English are accompanied by a written English transcript.

Applications for Education
LangMedia's resources for learning a language could be helpful for students attempting to learn a new language on their own. LangMedia's course outlines could also be good references for teachers trying to develop a new course of their own.

LangMedia's Culture Talk videos could be useful in global studies course. You could use the videos as conversation starters about the cultural differences between groups of people.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Smart.FM - Independent Learning Platform
Learn a Language Through Open University
Learn Spanish -

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Inside Mecca - National Geographic Film

If you teach any lessons on comparative religions and or comparative culture, this video from National Geographic (hosted by Snag Films) may be of use to you. Inside Mecca is an in-depth look at the principles of Islam, the significance of Mecca, and the stories of pilgrims to Mecca.

Click here if you cannot see the video.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Dalai Lama Explains Tibetan Buddhism

This may have limited appeal to most readers, but if you teach a comparative religion course or something similar, you may find this video useful. In this video the Dalai Lama gives an introduction to Tibetan Buddhism. It is definitely not a fast-paced lecture and takes a while to get into (I'm only at the 35 minute mark as I write this, but I do find it interesting so far), but it could be useful in the right setting.
I learned about this video on the awesome Open Culture blog.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The World Digital Library

The World Digital Library makes available, for free, nearly 1200 primary documents and images from collections around the world. Sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the mission of the World Digital Library is to promote the study and understanding of cultures. The WDL can be searched by date, era, country, continent, topic, and type of resource. In my search of the WDL I noticed that roughly half of the resources are historical maps and images. The WDL aims to be accessible to as many people as possible by providing search tools and content descriptions in seven languages. The WDL can also be searched by clicking through the map on the homepage.

Applications for Education
The World Digital Library looks like it can be a great resource for anyone that teaches history or cultural studies. The wealth of image based resources along with the document based resources makes the WDL appropriate for use with most age groups.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
The Places We Live - Images and Sounds of Slums
Kids Around the World - Culture Lessons for K-5
Visualizing Cultures

Monday, April 13, 2009

Kids Around The World - Culture Lessons for K-5

Kids Around The World is a project sponsored by the National Peace Corps Association. The purpose of Kids Around The World is for elementary school age students to learn about life as a child in another country. Students can learn about the lives of their global peers in nineteen countries spread across four continents. Students visiting Kids Around The World can read interviews with a child from each country, view pictures and maps, and learn about the history and geography of each country. In case of some countries featured on Kids Around The World there are educational games to be played.

Applications for Education
Kids Around The World offers a lesson plan that can be divided up into three segments or used as a one day lesson. If you would like to create your own lesson plan, Kids Around The World provides a couple of worksheets, including a Venn diagram, that you can include in your plan.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:

Resources for UN Human Rights Day
United Nations Cyberbus
The Lunch Box Project

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!