Eleven High Schools in the Midwest Participated in Euro Challenge 2014

Eleven high schools from Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin participated in the 2014 Euro Challenge.

GlobalFest 2014

GlobalFest is an annual event that celebrates world languages and cultures, and encourages middle and high school students to make connections with the global society.

U-46 Teacher Travels the Globe to Enhance Her Lessons

Elgin Area School District teacher Chris LaRue spent two weeks in Turkey in 2013, a trip that was almost entirely funded by the Turkish Cultural Foundation.

EU Centers of Excellence Education Trip to Belgium

Read two teachers' experiences during the 2013 EU Centers of Excellence Education Trip to Belgium.

TED Helps European and American Educators Connect

The Transatlantic Educators Dialogue (TED), held from February through May, gives American and European educators an opportunity to meet virtually to discuss educational issues.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Successful Transatlantic Educators Dialogue in 2015

This post originally was written by Dr. Zuzana Mészárosová and published on Učiteľské Noviny" (or translated, Whiteboard Newspapers") on August 28, 2015.  This post is the translated version of the original Slovakian post.  The tool used was Google Translate.  For the original piece, please follow this link.  This article has been re-presented with the blessing of the author.

TED  (Transatlantic Educators Dialogue) is a program generously sponsored by the European Union Center and the College of Education at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign.  Testimonials such as these prove the value of the program, and demonstrate the benefits of being involved in the program.  If you are interested in the program and would like more information, please visit the webpage for TED.

TED (Transatlantic Educators Dialogue) is a program of the American University of Illinois, which brings together experts in education in the US and Europe online  and experts exchange practical experiences and discuss various educational topics to detect each other. The discussions American and European educators conducted nearly half a year online and on the final day the graduates received certificates.

BRATISLAVA - The types of educational diplomacy with education experts ensures that they take into account different aspects in the debate, discussion on education systems in the countries participants in the debates, as well as overcome many cultural barriers, misunderstandings and misconceptions.

TED 2015 is the fourth annual overseas debates about education. Online collaboration is carried out once a week. The coordinator was Lucinda Morgan, from the University of Illinois. Interaction with the Blackboard platform was used, and technical support was available from the American University.  Moodle was used to exchange experiences between the parties, including discussions, debates and dialogues. All equipment and works that were created in the course of cooperation continue to be available to participants.

All participants worked in groups of eight. Each group worked independently and prepared a joint presentation and supporting materials. Americans working in the group worked on the topic of "Technology in the classroom," and we presented a vital project of European Schoolnet - eTwinning.

During the next presentations and debates, teachers learned a lot of new information on education systems in different countries of the participants of TED, various approaches, methods and forms of teaching, assessment and debate about the impact of immigration and migration, education and diversity, education in rural and urban areas, the international cooperation, and the future of education.

One of the results of TED cooperation was meeting some participants from TED 2015 on 27 June 2015 in Brussels, where they shared further exchanges and shared experiences. Transatlantic Dialogue Educators was an invaluable experience and provided benefits of online collaboration for every attendee. It was a great place for open debate and mutual comparability of education in Europe and overseas, as well as the professional development of teachers participating.

Author: Dr. Zuzana Mészárosová

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

TED Transatlantic Educators Dialogue 2015

This blog was originally posted on Nataša Ljubić Klemše's blog, and has been reposted and translated with her permission.

by Nataša Ljubić Klemše

T.E.D. is a program at the University of Illinois that brings together educational experts of the United States and Europe to virtually exchange practical experiences and discuss various educational topics in order to reveal the two groups' similarities and differences.

This kind of educational diplomacy with educational experts ensures that multiple perspectives are considered in the debate and discussion of educational systems of participants' countries, as well as overcoming many cultural barriers, misunderstandings, and misconceptions.

T.E.D. 2015 represents the fourth generation of the overseas educational talks. 

As the only participant from Croatia, I had the honor to present the state of education in Croatia to educational experts from around the world, to introduce them to certain components, and also to learn about the educational systems of other countries in the world.

Online collaboration was carried once a week for 90 minutes per session from February to May 2015. The coordinator was Lucinda Morgan, a PhD student at the University of Illinois. For communication, we used the Blackboard platform, and technical support was available from the University of Illinois. Moodle was used to exchange experiences amongst the participants, including discussions, debates and dialogues. All facilities and works that were created during the collaboration remain available to participants after each session.

For the first three weeks, we got to know each other, and we went over the logistics of TED. Then we got started with the work.

All the participants were, according to personal interests, divided into eight groups. Each group worked individually and prepared a joint presentation and supporting materials. Participating in the working group "Technology in the Classroom," I had the privilege to work with many experts from the US and Europe. In preparation of our joint presentation, we used a number of communication tools and worked day and night, due to the different time zones. We prepared a presentation of "Technology in the Classroom; Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow "in which I personally focused on the field of education in the future. I made part of my presentation on Education 3.0, which among other things includes eTwinning. I presented the core components of Education 3.0 and eTwinning to the class.

During other presentations, I learned how to impress participants in the educational system, the different approaches to teaching, the evaluation and estimates on the impact of religion in education, homeschool education, the impact of immigration and migration on education and diversity education in rural and urban areas, the possibilities of international cooperation, and the future of education.

One of the outcomes of cooperation on T.E.D. was the gathering of participants from T.E.D. 2015 on June 27, 2015 in Brussels, where additional exchanges and experiences were shared.

At the workshop on training for eTwinning ambassadors in Latvia from June 17-20, 2015, I had the opportunity to meet with Vaiva Ozoliņa, another TED 2015 participant with whom I worked in the group "technology in the classroom." The priceless experience of online collaboration turned into a direct experience of meeting each other in the Baltic states, which represents the point of working together.

T.E.D. as a new form of transatlantic cooperation represents to me a totally new experience that has significantly enriched my professional CV. I am proud of all the new knowledge, new friends and acquaintances, and the opportunity to worthily present Croatia and how happy I am to be part of a great world educational system.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

High School Festival Celebrates Diversity

This blog post was originally published on the Danville Commercial-News website on April 18, 2015.
This event was co-sponsored by the European Union Center.

by Carol Roehm

High School juniors Tatum Bray, from left, and Rachel Parker learn about the formal Indian dress worn by junior Shreja Patel during Friday's International Festival at the high school.    

DANVILLE — Colorful costumes, henna tattoos and incense excited Danville High School students as they entered the gymnasium Friday afternoon for an international festival.
DHS’ GLOBAL House and the Humanities Division and the Center for Global Studies at the University of Illinois cosponsored the event titled International Festival: “A Celebration of Culture.”
The intent of the festival was to celebrate the vast cultural and ethnic diversity richly represented within the Danville community. The festival was nearly a year in the making.

DHS junior Samantha Buchanan, a GLOBAL House student, wore a German dirndl and her blonde hair in braids. She participated in the festival’s fashion show, as did junior Shreja Patel who wore a formal Indian dress.

“I think it’s cool,” Samantha said of festival. “We put a lot of work into it.”

DHS students visited booths and viewed stage activities in the afternoon before the doors opened to the general public later in the afternoon with more booths, a mini taste of cultural foods, immersion rooms, activities, parade of fashion and entertainment.

An evening performance included entertainment from many cultures as well as featured West African dancer Djibril Camara, formerly of the Ballet du Afrique Noir of Senegal. Camara also performed earlier in the day at East Park Elementary School.

Outside of the DHS gym, three classrooms were set up as immersion rooms where topics were explored in more detail. The topics, which included discussions on kimonos, Afghanistan and women’s rights and on the Arabic language, were presented in 30-minute blocks.

One of the immersion rooms was going to be about the Hindu language led by Mithi Mishra and Chaitra Prasad from the Department of Linguistics at the University of Illinois.

“India is fascinating when it comes to language,” Mishra said, adding that there are 22 different languages spoken in the country, and that English is taught only in expensive, special English-speaking schools.

There were at least 40 booths, many of them student- or classroom-created, at the event which was free to the public and took place in the gym, classrooms and the Dick Van Dyke Auditorium.
Dawn Nasser, coordinator of student recruitment at Danville Area Community College, displayed a table full of artifacts from Chile, Slovakia and Syria.

“I’ve been to nine different countries, so I brought different things with me today,” Nasser said.

Some of the items included a mask made from cactus, earrings and a change purse made from a coconut shell, a sword made from a swordfish’s beak and a figurine made from seaweed.
DHS sophomores Leondre Cobb and Isaac Vogt looked at each item on Nasser’s table.

“I like learning about all the different cultures that are here,” Isaac said. “I spent a lot of time with the international instruments because I’m a musician.”

Leondre said Nasser’s booth and the India booth were his favorites.

At another booth, Mira Bhavsat of Danville used henna to draw elaborate Indian designs on the back of students’ hands. Judging by the line of teenage girls, it was one of the most popular booths at the festival.

“I like it,” senior Samanta Calvillo said as she admired the back of her hand. “I thought (henna designs) was something they do all the time, but it’s for weddings and celebrations.”

Nearby, brothers Benjamin Xiong, a DHS senior, and David Xiong, a DHS junior, and their cousin, senior Andrew Xiong talked about their Hmong heritage and the traditional money vest displayed on their table.

Andrew explained that the colorful money vest decorated with dangling coins is worn by men “to show what you have” wealth wise.

Andrew said he thought the festival was “pretty good” because it gave him and his cousins, all first-generation Americans, an opportunity to share their culture with others.

“Before the festival people would ask me my race, and now I can share where my family is from,” he said.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Euro Challenge 2015! How to Sustain the Social Systems in the Eurozone: A Look To France for Answers

by Letitia Zwickert

It is with great pride that I can say our Naperville Central High School team just won the Midwest Regional Euro Challenge Competition. I am extremely proud of my all-female team of Sasha Fenton, Meghan Howard, Hanna Meyer, Naina Prasad, and Nicole Simos; all students from my International Relations class, an honors course at NCHS. They met after school, and on weekends, since January to first learn more about the Eurozone, and then about the euro itself. Their task was to research a significant challenge facing the Euro area and find a member state to serve as the perfect example—they found a winning one! The challenge they chose is the social systems of the Eurozone, and their case is France. The social systems in the Eurozone, as currently structured, are very difficult to sustain given the economic environment and desire for future growth. As sophomores in high school, never haven taken an Economics course, my team needed to explain this challenge in the context of the current economic worries of slow growth, high unemployment and deflationary concerns. Intertwined with these issues, they highlighted the political and social realities that exist in the Eurozone and in France.  Additionally, their choice of focusing on the welfare system in France was a large undertaking, as France not only has the largest social welfare system in the Eurozone and the EU, but also in the world.  They had a lot to learn, and then, in turn, transform into a unique presentation! There was incredible team effort, individual growth, and professionalism throughout their weeks of work. Our team also had a notable advantage, with two very devoted upperclassmen, Kevin Angel and Megan Angel, who shared their economic knowledge, work ethic, and moral support during the preparatory process—two excellent upperclassmen mentors.

But this experience was only made possible by the generous outreach of the EU Center at the University of Illinois. Because of their work with high school teachers and students, and the sharing of outstanding opportunities, such as this one, my students gained knowledge about the EU that far outweighs that of typical high school content. The invaluable experience through the team work required to prepare for the Euro Challenge and the competition itself, judged by EU specialists, will serve them a lifetime. All of this gives them an enormous advantage as they look towards college and career choices. And, yet another incredible adventure awaits us, as we are now headed to the Euro Challenge Finals in New York City! Thank you so much EU Center!

Letitia Zwickert is the International Relations, World Cultures, and Minorities teacher at Naperville Central High School.

For more information about Euro Challenge, please visit the European Union Center's website.

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