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ERIC Number: EJ834679
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1056-0300
Panwapa: Global Kids, Global Connections
Berson, Ilene R.; Berson, Michael J.
Social Studies and the Young Learner, v21 n4 p28-31 Mar-Apr 2009
Panwapa, created by the Sesame Street Workshop of PBS, is an example of an initiative on the Internet designed to enhance students' learning by exposing them to global communities. Panwapa means "Here on Earth" in Tshiluba, a Bantu language spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the Panwapa website,, children aged four to seven are empowered to act as responsible citizens within a global digital playground. Diverse media within the website reinforce skills and knowledge development. These building blocks provide a foundation to inspire young children to engage in positive change in their communities while participating in cross-national and intercultural exchanges. Within a safe virtual world this website can compliment and enhance curriculum and engage primary students as they learn about their world and become global citizens in the 21st century. At the Panwapa site, students can design an avatar (a cartoon figure to act as their "representative") and the house in which it will live. Students also create their own Panwapa flags, which express their individuality. They find students in another country who share their interests, and collect "Panwapa Cards" throughout their journey. Students view various mappings of the world according to categories of interest to children. The information on these maps is created from data provided by young Panwapa participants across the globe. Such activities help children develop appreciation of the things people have in common as well as differences among people throughout the world. In this article, the authors describe activities they developed and implemented to teach a social studies concept that made effective and appropriate use of the synthetic world of Panwapa . (Contains 3 notes.)
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800: Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Preschool Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Congo