Lane Clarke cultivates cross-cultural understanding among Maine school children through traveling exhibit

During the 2018-2019 school year, Lane Clarke, Ed.D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Education, traveled to six different countries to encourage students to create stories about a day in their lives.

Students in grades four through six in Tangier, Morocco; Bucharest, Romania; Maisons-Laffitte, France; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Cork, Ireland; and Portland, Maine, wrote their own stories, viewed each other’s stories and created iMovies to share their lives with students around the world.

Clarke then created a traveling exhibit titled, “Walk a Day in My Shoes,” to bring to schools throughout Maine.

The goal of the project is to help young people become more informed global citizens and see themselves as part of a global community.

The exhibit is set up in school libraries where students can walk through and interact with photos of shoes belonging to a child in another country. The students then scan a QR code using an iPad and listen to the child’s story through headphones.

Whiteboards are positioned around the display for students to track their thinking while they engage with the stories. Students are also given exit slips as they leave the exhibit to express their thoughts , and are also provided information about how they can learn more about the different cultures to which they were exposed.

More than 400 students in the Portland Public Schools have gone through the exhibit. Clarke plans to bring the exhibit to many more students in the fall.

Funding for the project is provided by a UNE Mini-Grant and a Maine Humanities Council grant to support global literacy.

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