In preparation for our service trip to Botswana, I recently read Saturday Is for Funerals. We continue to find resources perfectly matched to our trip objectives, including a guest speaker from the Cascade AIDS Project, a Peace Corps correspondence match, and now this book.
Unity Dow and Max Essex present a series of vignettes that cover the spectrum of HIV+ and AIDS cases in Botswana. From newlyweds to newborns, no one escapes this cruel disease. Despite depressing tales of demise, the book is mainly hopeful, since any Motswana can now gain ARV treatment and survive the disease. Saturdays are no longer just for funerals anymore.
We will ask all of our trip participants to read this book, since it presents social, cultural, medical, economic, and political dimensions of AIDS. It will be a terrific introduction for our students.
Read Danielle Friedman’s review of Saturday Is for Funerals.
As a follow-up to our presentations on global education, I am guest teaching in our Pathogens and Parasites classes this week, part of a broader effort to broadly integrate global education across the curriculum. Students have studied infectious diseases from the perspectives of science and public health, and now a series of guest speakers have been relating first-hand stories and posing authentic problems to the students. Consistently, students are spending class time researching real-world topics and brainstorming possible solutions. Is it safe to drink the water in Haiti? What precautions should we take when working with HIV+ youth in Botswana? Why have AIDS treatment efforts been so much more successful than HIV prevention efforts?
Authentic problems are complex and difficult to solve, compared with highly specific problems normally assigned during academic coursework. AIDS in Botswana involves principles of biology, public health, sociology, anthropology, politics, and economics. Students, so well trained as logical thinkers, are surprised to find that rational explanations are usually insufficient when they do not take all contributing factors into account. Why is it a bad idea to conduct saliva HIV tests in Botswana? Why would a doctor reasonably acquiesce to a HIV+ mother’s wish to breastfeed a newborn?
School technologists work every day to identify and support authentic uses of technology across the curriculum. The methods for integrating global education are not all that different. Communicate with enthusiasm, focus on the positive effects on student learning, work the most with those who respond with equal enthusiasm, focus learning activities on authentic applications. Use technological tools to facilitate research, group work, communication, and public presentation. Take advantage of the many wonderful electronic resources that exist out there on most topics.
Where are you finding synergy between global education, teaching and learning, and technology?
Image source: Wikimedia Commons