The first free video on iTunesU that I watched was literally "the edible schoolyard". This was an ingenious idea! Gardening taught the kids from Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School SO much. They learned the scientific facts about photosynthesis and plant life, how to grow varying types of fruits and vegetables, and how to fertilize and harvest the food they planted. They were also learning about the different seasons and how they affect the agricultural industry. The children also incorporated math and science into their preparing, baking and cooking of the food they harvested. They also learned how to work together to achieve a sense of community and belonging in helping one another. And it didn't feel like school because they enjoyed it so much. It was more like play for the students. You could tell that all of the children loved their garden and had a sense of pride in what they had accomplished with it. This hands-on approach to education is one of the best, most effective, and most fun ways for kids to learn. For me, watching this video gave me ideas that I could use as a teacher, especially in the subject areas of science or social studies. I think children of just about any age would benefit from this way of learning.
The second iTunesU video was called "A Night in the Global Village", and described how the Global Gateway Program can benefit students. Through this program, the kids got to experience first-hand the difficulties faced by many third world countries: hunger, poverty, and having a shelter to protect themselves. They learned that it was not always just about getting food; they had to be able to successfully communicate with each other and neighboring communities in order to trade and bargain for necessary resources, like firewood and water. This experience allowed the students to understand that there are people in the world that need our help. It taught them sympathy, responsibility, cooperation, and to be thankful for what they had in their own homes. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a roof over their heads and good food and water every day. The students realized this through their experiences in the Global Village. I think the Global Gateway Program is a very successful way to help students be more aware of the different cultures and ways of life of the people in the world around them, more so than having them read about it from a book. Once again, hands-on education like this works, and the students will most likely never forget what they have been through and learned during the process.