iEARN is a non-profit (501-c-3) organization made up of almost 4,000 schools in over 95 countries. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online at very low cost using the Internet and other new technologies. Most of these countries have their own iEARN Coordinator and teacher support structure to help educators integrate this technology into their classroom teaching and learning. In some countries the iEARN program is within the Ministry of Education. In other countries it is a separate non-profit organization with close ties to education and youth-service institutions.
Since 1988, iEARN has pioneered on-line school linkages to enable students to engage in meaningful educational projects with peers in their countries and around the world. iEARN is:
- an inclusive and culturally diverse community
- a safe and structured environment in which young can communicate
- an opportunity to apply knowledge in service-learning projects
- a community of educators and learners making a difference as part of the educational process
There are over 100 projects in iEARN all designed and facilitated by teachers and students to fit their curriculum and classroom needs and schedules. To join, participants select an online project and look at how they can integrate it into their classroom.
With the project selected teachers and students enter online forum spaces to meet one another and get involved in ongoing projects with classrooms around the world who are working on the same project.
These projects enable students to:
- develop research and critical thinking skills
- experience with new technologies
- cultural awareness
- the habit of getting involved in community issues.
In addition to connecting students' learning with local issues and meeting specific curriculum needs, every project proposed by teachers and students in iEARN has to answer the question, "How will this project affect the quality of life on the planet? This vision and purpose is the glue that holds iEARN together, enabling participants to become global citizens who make a difference by collaborating with their peers around the world.