Launched in 1984, Global SchoolNet has three decades of experience in the field of online project-based learning.
Global SchoolNet began in 1984 as the Free Educational Mail (FrEdMail) Network, when San Diego teachers Al Rogers and Yvonne Marie Andres, began linking their students to classrooms on the east coast to participate in online writing projects. Research and experience demonstrated the importance of “connected learning” and by 1990 their online network had expanded to more than 300 schools. FrEdMail closed its doors in June, 1999 after 15 years of operation. Read what some teachers thought about "FrEd."
In 2005, in the 25th Anniversary issue of Teaching and Learning Magazine, the FrEdMail Network was recognized as one of the top fifteen "Breakthrough Products" of the previous 25 years (item #12)."
Global Schoolhouse Project
In 1992, with a grant from the National Science Foundation, GSN created its first web site, called the "Global Schoolhouse," to showcase online collaborative learning.
The mission of the Global Schoolhouse was to provide a living curriculum that makes the world a laboratory and promotes the quest for lifelong learning. The original Global Schoolhouse Project involved schools in California, Virginia, Tennessee, and London. Learning clusters were formed consisting of four to six schools who worked as collaborative teams to study ground water pollution, solid waste management, alternative energy sources, space exploration, natural disasters and weather.
The Global Schoolhouse Project was an outstanding example of government, business, and the educational community working together to achieve a common goal. On April 28, 1993 the Global Schoolhouse Project was introduced to the world through an innovative demonstration of multipoint desktop videoconferencing, as part of the National Science Foundation's National Science and Technology Week. The Global Schoolhouse Project established a global online network of educators who wanted to transform the way students learn and interact with one another and their communities.
Collaborative Learning is Shared Learning
Students in a collaborative learning environment are active learners, who construct knowledge, rather than passively absorb it. Believing that education is too important to be constrained by physical, philosophical, or monetary barriers, Global SchoolNet continues to support international project-based educational experiences for students that enable them to learn together on a reciprocal basis. Each year, GSN offers a range of free projects, activities and tools, such as International Schools CyberFair, Doors to Diplomacy, Mosaics of Life, GeoGame, Projects Registry and the Collaborative Learning Center.
Online Shared Learning Teacher Awards
In 2000 Global SchoolNet launched the “GSN Online Shared Learning Teacher Award” program, to recognize educators worldwide, who are champions and advocates of online collaborative learning. GSN developed an innovative Web-based management system that solicits 3rd-party nominations of qualified teachers, obtains detailed narratives, and collects testimonials on behalf of candidates. The system allows candidates to rank and invalidate testimonials prior to judging. When the nomination process ends judging begins and the system manages the collection and ranking of evaluation scores. This process is completely Web managed, with no collection or exchange of any paper documents. The result is a library of exemplary stories and best practices from the world’s top collaborative learning educators, and the top candidate is given a cash award of $7,500 and flown to the National Education Computing Conference.
Friendship Through Education
Global SchoolNet is a founding member of the White House initiated Friendship Through Education consortium, which was established in October 2001, to create opportunities that facilitate online and offline interactions between the youth of the world, in order to build a culture of peace in which the dignity and rights of all human beings are respected.