The Mekong Living Classroom Project: Advancing Sustainable Development through Innovative Integration of English Language Learning and Information Technology
The Mekong Living Classroom is an EON Foundation initiative (www.e-o-n.org).
Our goal is to help develop regional capacity to communicate on individual and cooperative actions towards an economically prosperous and environmentally sound future for all societies in and around the Mekong River.
The presentation will describe our recent activities to:
1) Develop an Open Source Internet platform for a GMS online learning community for high school students and teachers to link regionally and globally.
2) Establish ongoing high school English for Sustainability projects throughout the GMS.
3) Hold GMS teacher-training workshops on English for Sustainability curriculum, teaching methodology and resource materials.
The ‘Living Classroom’ develops awareness of how local and global factors interact while at the same time empowering sustainable choices for the future of the river. EON accomplishes this through community-based English for Sustainability projects. These educational projects take high school students out of the traditional classroom setting to assist a local business and / or community organisation promote sustainable practices. The Living Classroom curriculum integrates Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) with English as Foreign Language (EFL) training. The methodology challenges students to use English in real life situations to gain knowledge, develop skills, and reflect on actions for the economy, environment and society.
The Living Classroom project rises to the challenge of significant trends in education. These include:
1) International recognition for education to promote sustainable development (Agenda 21, Action 2015, Millennium Goals and WSSD 2002).
2) English as an important tool for regional capacity building and global participation (Capacity Building in the Greater Mekong Subregion: Training Needs Analysis for the Mekong Institute).
3) Student-centred learning in the community with non-traditional education partners (Managing Change Towards Student Centred Learning by Assoc. Prof. Richard Watson Todd, King Mongkut's University, et. al.).
4) The use of IT to improve education.
The purpose of this paper is to offer a model that can be replicated and built upon in other ‘Living Classrooms’ in Asia and around the world.
Keywords: English for Sustainable Development, ICT, Sustainable Development, English Language Training, Education for Sustainable Development, Open Source Software, Regional Training, Capacity Building, Student Centred Project Based Learning
Director, ICT in Education, EON Foundation
* Co-founder and former CEO of educational technology company English-To-Go Limited, the world's leading provider of English training resources delivered via the Internet. Used by more than 90,000 teachers in 170 countries reaching over one million students worldwide.
* Founder and chairman of the EON Foundation. A non profit organization dedicated to advanced global learning that has won UN recognition for work in integrating education for sustainability and new knowledge systems.
* Coordinator of the Art and Design Postgraduate Network (ADPGN) and senior lecturer, Auckland University of Technology. Leading the online delivery of postgraduate courses in the visual literacies of Art and Design.
* Creative Director of The Living Classroom Network. Advancing the spread of sustainable development through the innovative integration of English lnaguage learning and Information Technology.