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Online encyclopedias of Asia

posted: Thu, Jun 15th, 2017

An example of a home page on a site about Northern India created by eighth-graders

Wow. That’s sums up the websites on Asian countries that were developed by eighth-graders. Rich with information, images, and even video, the sites show off what students learned in social studies as well as their sophisticated technology skills. 

The eighth-graders worked in small groups, with each group concentrating on a single country. The researched spanned every important area and the websites all included a page devoted to:

• Language, ethnicities, and phrases
• Religion, home life, and traditions
• Government
• History
• Current events
• Geography
• Travel and key sights
• Fun facts

Each group of students on an eighth grade team worked on a different country. The work of the groups on each team was combined to form a master team website which included every major country in Asia.

Each team website is really its own Asian encyclopedia and represents the sum of all knowledge learned by the team – and that’s what makes the project so powerful. When you see the work of an entire team right in front of you and the individual contributions of each student blended so seamlessly into a single product, the vast amount of learning and creativity is impressive.

“The kids enjoyed the project and found it personally rewarding,” said social studies teacher Josh Lindeblad. “The collaboration and being responsible for part of a larger project is something that they’ll experience in the workplace.”

Peer feedback was also an important part of the activity, which inspired kids to put forth their best effort to impress their friends. Each student evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of one country website from each Asian region.

The websites were constructed using Google Sites, one of the programs in Google’s suite of educational applications. The apps make it easy for students to work collaboratively, both in school and when at home. The project was done over three weeks, with one week for research, one for website design, and another for evaluation.

Among the fun facts that could be found on the sites:

- Half of all the pigs on Earth live in China
- In Brunei, the Durian fruit is banned from subways, buses, taxis, hotels, and airports because of its offensive smell
- Australia is home to the largest Fence in the world: nearly 3,500 miles long
- In Armenia, you are required to take chess classes in school

A section of a website about the popular foods of Turkmenistan

A section of a team home page showing a partial list of Asian regions covered by the students

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