Terry, a student at Taipei American School has been a pivotal player in helping to promote MUN to remote, under resourced student populations. He reflects on this initiative and what he learned at the QLC.
In many schools, earning a spot on an MUN conference team requires intense tryout processes tantamount to those experienced by competitive speech and debate participants. What distinguishes MUN from conventional debate is its spirit of negotiation and consensus and its power in empowering youths to apply the skills they acquire in MUN in the real world. Considering the sheer volume of opportunities we have available in the international school community, it is time to shift the focus from expanding current programs to reaching out to under-resourced students who want the chance to participate in MUN. The MUN Social Outreach Initiative on Edmodo aims to do just that: connect institutions with opportunities to those who need and want them.
Thanks to THIMUN Qatar’s broad network of contacts established at its various events and endeavors, schools like Qatar Academy (QA) and Taipei American School (TAS) have been able to reach student groups in Kabul, Sri Lanka and Doha to invite the youths to their MUN conferences. To ensure the best experience for both the visiting delegates and the personnel of the conferences, these schools have designated online mentors to assist in the visiting delegates’ preparation- from teaching them the basics of MUN research to practicing their speeches with them. However, these efforts were discrete, novel projects that based themselves on no organized structure. In order to effectively champion this deserving cause-bringing MUN to the world and transcending physical boundaries limiting participation-we needed an efficiently streamlined platform to facilitate the operations of the program.
This is where Edmodo comes in. As an accessible secure, educational networking site supervised by teachers and adults, Edmodo acts as a handy virtual classroom environment for delegates wishing to learn about the spirit and procedures of MUN. This site allows members to post in all the groups they belong to, comment on each other’s posts, upload quizzes and assignments, and more. This initiative gathered a group of experienced mentors from QA and TAS to train these interested delegates for THIMUN Qatar, a conference that most of them will be attending at the beginning of next year. These delegates are divided into sub-groups in Edmodo in order to concentrate their research and information resources on their respective assigned nations for THIMUN Qatar. Nevertheless, they can still follow their other classmates’ work in other country sub-groups to absorb more material. As the coordinator, I organize a tentative weekly schedule that set goals and assignments for the delegates, who post them on their respective Edmodo country group. Mentors then provide feedback for their mentees’ work via commenting while delegates are encouraged to also review each other’s posts. Mentors receive instructions as to what is expect of the delegates in a separate Facebook group to ensure that all mentors act in tandem at all times.
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