Christian A. Schaefer
"World at Your Doorstep" is a cross-curricular project designed by Engineering teacher Christian Schaefer to use technology to forge real and personal connections with people of other cultures. In doing so, approximately 150 students will learn to appreciate their own city, gain an understanding of other cultures, develop design-and-engineering skills, and acquire important technology know-how that will benefit them both as students and future professionals. Through Schaefer's project, Friendship Collegiate Academy engineering students will collaborate with students attending a school in Rome, Italy to explore the architectural, artistic and cultural influences of Rome on our nation's capital. There will be several outcomes to this project. First, a blog and Web site will be created documenting students' progress, thoughts and findings about architecture and culture. Second, students will create both computer aided designs (CAD) renderings and three-dimensional models of a local building of their choice. The technology involved in the implementation of the project, merged with a personal, human element, will make this activity much more engaging than traditional classroom projects and other learning activities. Using email and Web conferencing, students in both cities will exchange photos of ancient and modern buildings and compare their design. In this way, they will begin to make connections between ancient and modern architecture while gaining an appreciation for and familiarity with other cultures. This experience will also help them to place their native city in a greater historical and global context. Schaefer believes this program will leave students with a newly-found appreciation for the architectural influences of their city's buildings, advanced technology skills and an enhanced academic experience. Schaefer lives in Laurel, MD.