Wikispaces has been a far better way of communicating than email.
— Timothy Bush, an educator and participant in the BRIDGE Project
Building Bridges with an Easy to Use Platform
BRIDGE, an intercultural project between Australia and Indonesia, uses Wikispaces Private Label to bridge cultural divides and foster communication among educators in the two countries. BRIDGE was founded in 2008 as part of a larger initiative to tackle poverty and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the area. BRIDGE addresses these issues through school-to-school partnerships. By creating cultural bridges in primary and secondary education, Kathe Kirby, the Executive Director of the Asia Education Foundation, believes BRIDGE can help "equip our young people to resolve global issues like climate change. To do this we need to work with our closest neighbours, speak each other's languages, understand our similarities and differences. BRIDGE aims to go beyond the classroom into communities and families, developing long-lasting connections."
As BRIDGE got started, they needed a platform that was easy enough for educators and students to use with very little training. With Wikispaces Private Label, they could create private wikis for each school partnership on a site that was easy enough for their non-technical users. The theming system also allowed them to customize their site and create a professional look for the project.
Collaboration Across Distance and Languages
Since creating their Private Label site, schools in the two countries have built wikis where they work, post information and videos, share resources with their partners, and more. Aaron O’Shannessy, the Manager of International Programs at Asia Education Foundation, sees the Private Label site as an important part of BRIDGE's success. "The BRIDGE Project goals are met by allowing the school partnerships to interact in a positive and sustainable manner. They are a safe, one stop place for their interaction. This includes promotion of their partnerships, uploading of teaching materials, sharing of curriculum work and discussions between students and teachers."
Scalable For Their Growing Community
Looking forward, BRIDGE plans to continue the effort in Indonesia by providing more opportunities for Indonesian educators to visit Australian schools, creating local learning clusters between Indonesian schools, and developing online resources and training to support sustainable school partnerships. They are also expanding the project to other Asian countries, beginning with South Korea. As the scope of the project grows, Wikispaces Private Label is flexible and powerful enough to grow with them. As each new school comes on board, BRIDGE can easily create a new wiki and add the school's educators to the community. And as BRIDGE expands to new countries, they can easily reorganize their site to accommodate their new projects and schools.
Wikispaces Private Label is hassle free and easy to use, enabling BRIDGE to foster conversations between thousands of educators and students from different cultures.
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