Learning About Learning


We have just published the fourth of six stories in our iBook series Touching Home in China: in search of missing girlhoodsin which two teen adoptees return to the rural towns in China where their lives began, meet girls growing up there, and learn from them how learning happens in 21st century China.

The interactive book, rich with digital media, invites Westerners into the school-day lives of Chinese girls. From an early age, family and teachers direct children’s total attention toward preparing for China’s life-determining standardized tests. Our interactive graphic explores the foundational Confucian principles that guide learning. Each girl’s score on key national exams determines her next destination. With videos, photo galleries, interactive graphics and narrative text, we follow these girls as they leave their rural towns to live at vocational programs, attend universities in China, or travel alone on a first visit to the United States to enroll in a university. 

Touching Home in China is a transmedia project, anchored by its iBook stories and its storytelling website. Its content is enriched by commentary and news about the circumstances of women and girls that appears on our social media platforms FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube. This project unites two American adoptees with six Chinese girls whom they meet for the first time as teenagers in the rural towns where each of them was born but only the Chinese girls grew up. The Americans are back “home” to learn from these girls what their own lives might have been like as daughters in 21st century China.

A curriculum for middle school to early college students is available on the Touching Home in China website.

Extended Learning Opportunities at PMHS


I just got home from the premiere of Students at the Center: Extended Learning Opportunities at Pittsfield Middle High School - our second mini-documentary set at this rural New Hampshire School. PMHS is putting students at the center of their own learning. Students engage in a variety of Extended Learning Opportunities that enable them to find and explore their own passions outside of the classroom. 

The screening was attended by parents, students, teachers, and local and state school officials. Pittsfield is a leader in New Hampshire - which is in turn a leader nationwide in competency-based assessment.  ELOs are an important piece of this new concept, in which students' attainment of specific learning goals is the standard measuring progress, rather than the traditional model of time spent sitting in school seats.

You can see the video here: