Narod Institute Launches Internet Project for Schools

GLENDALE–The Narod Institute announced the launch of The Narod Network Project–the first of its kind Internet-based educational project uniting Armenian school children from around the world. The Narod Network Project links 10 Armenian schools from Armenia–Lebanon–France–Canada and the United States. It provides the students of these schools the opportunity to collaborate on activities designed to introduce them to technology–to each other–and to their shared Armenian heritage. The Narod Network Project team is made up of multidisciplinary specialists encompassing educational and technical skills.

"Dispersed around the world but sharing increasingly different variations of the same culture–the global Armenian community is–in a sense–the other worldwide web," said Marie Lou Papazian–Director of the Narod Institute. "This project will help demonstrate the potential of the Internet in unifying the different manifestations of Armenian culture around the world," she added.

During a period of six months–the participating 12 to 18 year-old students will spend approximately two class periods per week collaborating on the different tasks within the project. Each school has integrated the project into its curriculum and has appointed one or two teachers to lead these activities. The Narod Network Project is accessed by students–teachers and visitors through a central Web site designed with lively colors and graphics symbolizing Armenian culture. This site can be accessed through the Narod Institute home page at www.narod.org. Here the students are directed towards the three successive activities of the project.

The first of these–entitled Linking–is designed to introduce them to the Internet and the World Wide Web–and to take them on a treasure hunt for Armenian themes on the Web. The second–Acquaintance–invites students to provide a multimedia profile of themselves–their school and their community for their partners in the other schools. During the third activity–Presentation–students use the material and experience gathered during the first two activities to organize a global school magazine on the Web. A printed version of this virtual magazine will be distributed to all Armenian schools worldwide.

The students will use Armenian as the main working language throughout the project. The Arasan Armenian font–especially designed for this project and freely available for downloading at the site–provides the basis for e-mail communication in Armenian. The results of the activities will be posted for a general audience in Armenian and English in the bilingual Narod Institute Web site. By periodically accessing the site–visitors can follow the students’ progress step by step as the project develops–teachers can communicate with each other through the Teacher Page–and students can get the latest announcemen’s from the Student Page.

"We are envisioning the beginning of a new era for Armenian Schools. One that is characterized by heavy collaboration and information exchange.

The Network concept for Armenian schools is very powerful as there are no limits to what it can offer once the infrastructure is in place and all the schools are connected," said Papazian.

"It is boundariless and transnational and could leverage the various capabilities of the schools by complementing their needs. Ultimately we can envision global conferences (video conferencing–chatting–etc)–efficient distribution of educational content (class materials–reference materials–etc.) and most importantly cultural exchange from all corners of the world–as we capitalize on our global constitution," added Papazian

The Narod Network is meant to be a model and a future platform for effectively carrying out educational efforts across the Armenian landscape–and for reaching out to an increasingly larger number of young Armenia’s now brought closer through telecommunication.

To its organizers–the Narod Network Project represents a unique opportunity to significantly contribute to Armenian cultural awareness–and use emerging telecommunications technologies to maintain a valuable heritage.

To the project participants–the site represents a chance to meet young Armenia’s in different parts of the world–so different from them–and yet so similar.

For more information about the Narod Network Project and the Narod Institute–visit the Narod Institute home page at www.narod.org or contact the Narod Institute at 1220 N. Cedar Street–Glendale–CA 91207 or via e-mail at marielou@narod.org.

The Narod Institute is a subsidiary of the Ani & Narod Memorial Fund–a non-profit organization established in 1994 in the memory of Ani Ardhaldjian and her two and a half year old daughter Narod. Headquartered in New York–ANMF is dedicated to helping Armenian women and children live happier and fuller lives. The Narod Institute’s primary mission is geared towards improving the educational contexts of young Armenia’s and helping them share their Armenian cultural heritage.

Since its inception–it has implemented such significant educational projects as the premiere of "Sesame Street" in Armenia–the opening of the Narod Ardhaldjian Children’s Library in Beirut–Lebanon–in cooperation with the Armenian Relief Cross of Lebanon–and the development of a series of creative and inspiring educational materials–such as Armenian Alphabet posters and children’s calendars.

ANMF’s guiding philosophy in its formative years has been to fund the early stage of innovative project concepts. Once the ideas are incubated and the concepts developed into feasible plans–ANMF seeks partners to jointly invest in the full implementation of the projects.

With humble resources and the support of family–friends and part-time volunteer staff–ANMF accepts tax deductible donations from patrons who support the foundation’s mission.

Previous donors have included UNICEF–Coca Cola Armenia–Open Society Institute–AGBU and individual supporters. All donations and/or inquiries should be directed to ANMF–PO Box 8131–New York–NY 10150 or via e-mail at ANMF@aol.com.

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