Chapter 9
 

Acknowledgements
Preface
Foreword
Introduction
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
References

The Information and Communication Technologies and Peace-building

In an ever changing world the Information and Communication Technologies provide many essential learning opportunities for children that are necessary for their future work and survival in the uncertain times in which they are growing up. But perhaps these skills and understandings are also essential to the peace-building process. As change happens at such unprecedented rates in today’s world, even the most proficient information technology and in particular Internet uses, barely manage to remain relatively comfortable or cognizant with the ever increasing possibilities of their uses. Many schools and systems, even most people struggle to maintain a reasonable level of understanding or possess the basic abilities to use the ICTs cost effectively and efficiently, let alone wisely and ethically. These dilemmas also present another challenge to use the ICTs in a manner that directly and positively supports humanity’s peace-building consciousness development, especially within an educational context. The Internet, in particular, can powerfully redirect thinking and action, especially that of our children, by positively reflecting a changing world peace consciousness and provide a vehicle to create a more peaceful world, one our children and their children deserve to inherit. It can assist with providing an initial seed, one that germinates inspiration for children’s imaginations to create their own ways of creating and sharing stories.

Promoting purposeful and positive Internet connection can aid in the development of a peace-building consciousness that could possibly continue operating within every minute and at every level of life and at the very least, in the children’s own lives. Webpages presenting stories to share, peace-building activities or merely good news can be placed on school or community based intranets. The Internet can also provide simple but an effective and purposeful medium for children to begin exploring their own imaginations and develop ideas that are peace-building. It can also be the means to share peace-building activities happening in their communities, and can be done so in an ethical and appropriate manner.

The objective of current ICTs programmes in schools involves the development of ethically confident and competent young people who can effectively utilise word processing, e-mailing and Internet/webpage building skills and incorporate them into their everyday classroom teaching and learning. Programmes also integrate social learning possibilities: learning to relate positively to others by negotiating and working with them within and beyond the school community on purposeful tasks. Programmes often rely upon the development of collaboration, independence, problem solving, and clear communication in order to improve the student's understanding and appreciation of other people and their needs.

Peace-building and peace-building stories, by drawing children’s attention to the positive things happening in our world, also help them become aware of what they can actually do to assist peace-building in and beyond their school community. Teachers concurrently developing their skills and understandings with their students are quickly becoming aware of the powerful impact the ICTs and the Internet can have upon teaching and learning particularly in relation to independent learning. Students and teachers are learning together and from each other in atmospheres that are supportive, simple and manageable and possibly even peace-building.

A learning community, sensitive to the needs of its students, will be responsive and aware that the Information and Communication Technologies and the Internet are necessary and integral to any effective teaching and learning programmes. But perhaps by instilling a sense of purpose beyond this need a greater justification can be recognised. With Peace Education programmes traditionally exploring conflict resolution strategies or inviting debate about the inequities and injustices that exist in our own communities and the world students can become immobilised and a great sense of hopelessness can prevail. Attending to rectifying any injustices would be an endless task. Perhaps there needs to be a change of tack, a different pathway followed, one that can impart a sense of hopefulness and appreciation amongst our children, one that involves using the ICTs. Peace-building stories that are shared by the children and amongst them, by incorporating the many possibilities of the ICTs, can transform their thinking with the effects positively impacting upon the thinking of many others who also have access to the technologies.

ICTs learning outcomes

Many of the storytelling activities that were undertaken and documented in this book allowed for prescribed school ICTs outcomes to be met because children became each other’s teachers in a shared learning environment.

Generally the outcomes can simply be defined as-

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word processing skills (typing, Spellcheck, Grammarcheck, editing)

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publishing skills (formatting, inserting images, using Word-Art)

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webpage building skills (typing, formatting, inserting images and backgrounds, links,

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website management skills (folder organisation, uploading techniques,

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Internet (or Intranet) based researching skills (search words, scanning information, identification of main points, e-mail and attachments (to link work home to school)

Children actively involved in storytelling and sharing stories with other children in schools internationally, along with their families and communities, will truly celebrate unity and diversity. They will also be encouraging and supporting the others to do the same. By turning everyone’s attention towards peace-building stories, whether imagined or real, that happen rather than sharing the negative stories, children will be helping make this world a more peaceful place for everyone to share. The existing peace-building consciousness levels will be raised and maybe that transformative threshold number will also be surpassed. Children will be learning and sharing the things they can do, and others can do, to make this world a better place not only for themselves. By constructing and uploading webpages children can create a window into the peace-building learning happening.  

Maria Montessori believed peace was an innate understanding for children but realised for each child it needed to be nurtured and allowed to unfold in a non-judgemental and non-competitive yet enabling environment. Our newspapers, televisions and radios present too many reminders of genocide and our failure as humanity to care for each other. This kind of storytelling won't create a peace-building consciousness and it merely reinforces a recurrent need for revenge and perpetuation of the existing dis-ease and distrust we have in each other. Continual debate and argument about who is right and who is wrong, even if it is undertaken peacefully, will also not lead anyone down a peaceful road either.

In reality children’s imaginations alone cannot create peace, but they can provide the necessary beginning steps because once new understandings and peaceful options are created in their imaginations the children can then set about to actively create a new reality. Creating visions of the new peaceful communities and a world in which everyone wins would be a world our children and their children deserve to inherit. Imaginations can assist in the exploration of different ways of achieving peace-building objectives. Convincing everyone involved that every positive step, even the smallest of steps taken along the road to peace are all valuable, is easy when one can utilise the Internet and the other ICTs in the process.

Conclusion

Peace Education programmes and Peace Studies curriculum have generally involved the exploration of conflict resolution strategies or incited debate about the inequities and injustices that may have occurred throughout the world. Perhaps we can also impart a sense of hopefulness and appreciation amongst children that peace is possible if we choose to focus our thinking on different ways to achieve it and utilise the incredible possibilities of the Internet and the ICTs positively in the process. Instilling a belief, also, that every small positive step does count then we can begin sustaining the establishment of a peace-building consciousness but we must with sincerity, persistence and commitment, constantly nurture and reinforce our belief that world peace is possible. Learning to focus on sharing peace-building stories perhaps can be the simple but purposeful beginning to make this world a better place for everyone. By merely allowing hope to feed the imaginations of our technically minded children perhaps all we need to do is allow the ICTs to provide the means for sharing this hope.  

 

 

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