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The Russia Project: Building Digital Bridges and Meeting Adolescent Needs

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International Journal of Social Education Volume 19, Number 2, ISSN 0889-0293


The intent of good education is to meet the needs of learners. How educators go about meeting those needs varies from one context to the next, and has lately been affected by the advent of technology-enhanced learning tools. Today, computer technology applications enable teachers to accelerate the pace of learning, increase the depth of in-school research, and tear down their classroom walls as they connect local learning environments to multiple, distanced sources of information. Technology can add an exciting new component to classroom learning. As modern educators explore ways to engage students in technology-enhanced classroom experiences, they must not lose sight of what is at the heart of good education--meeting basic learner needs. Marlene Asselin wisely asserts that using technology for technology's sake is not enough. She contends that educators must establish a strong purpose for using technology in the classroom and must keep in mind that technology is simply a tool that can be used to enhance, not replace, good instructional practice. A unique challenge for classroom teachers today involves discovering meaningful ways to integrate new classroom technologies while simultaneously meeting the established learning needs of students. This article shares findings from a year-long, technology-enhanced learning experience called the Russia Project. The Russia Project involved a group of university researchers, pre-service teachers, sixth grade teachers and their students from four countries and three continents; who, through Web connections, worked together to develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for Russian history, geography, education, and current culture. They built what might be best described as a cultural-technological bridge that spanned both time and place. Most important of all, the educators involved in this technology-enhanced curriculum integration project kept the needs of adolescent learners as their decided focus.


Beal, C., Cuper, P. & Dalton, P. (2005). The Russia Project: Building Digital Bridges and Meeting Adolescent Needs. International Journal of Social Education, 19(2), 1-13. Retrieved November 23, 2020 from .

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