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World-wide learning in Barrie


Teachers and students from 70 countries are in Barrie this week, attending the 17th annual iEARN International Conference, along with the 14th annual Youth Summit, which run through to Sunday.

What is iEARN? It's the International Education and Resource Network, linking students and teachers in more than 30,000 schools and organizations, and in more than 130 countries, through the Internet and other new technology.

This year's conference is being held at Georgian College, hosted by iEARN-Canada, along with co-ordinators/teachers Mali Bickley, Jim Carleton, and former principal Anita Townsend, who are all with the Simcoe County District School Board.

The goals of the conference are many: to build communications, promote the use of new technology, improve skills, strengthen links, promote intercultural dialogue, and develop new collaborative projects, like the Art Miles project, in its final year.

The Art Miles project, which began in the year 2000, invites children and adults to paint a five-foot by 12-foot mural on any one of a number of topics promoting understanding and global peace.

The murals will be displayed at various locations -- including at the Barrie conference -- before being collected and taken to Egypt later this month, to become part of the Exhibition of the Century: 15 miles of murals wrapped around the Great Pyramid.

One part of the Art Miles project is the International Intercultural Mural Exchange. Classrooms across the globe have been paired up, to exchange information about their lives and cultures.

The students then collaborate to create a single mural, which will also be part of the Exhibition of the Century.

The international delegates in Barrie will be working on murals of their own to celebrate the end of the Art Miles project -- with an aim on uniting the world through art and communication.

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