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Take your students on a free virtual trek around the world!

Through The Odyssey website, your students can follow along with a Team of educators doing a real two-year trek around the world. Your students will join the Team for six weeks in each of 11 major non-Western countries to learn about diverse cultures, critical global issues, and ways that they can help create positive change in the world.

In each site the Team follows a specific itinerary of site visits, events, and meetings with people that shed light on topics of historical and general cultural importance. The Team Members document these experiences in video, audio, photos and text. This content is posted on The Odyssey website twice a week (every Saturday and Wednesday at 6pm EST) so students can follow along. Students can also interact with the team, the people they meet, and each other. All of this is available free on The Odyssey website.

Our six week Pilot Trek to Mexico was successfully completed in the Fall of 1998, and is available for use in its archived form.

The World Trek is being conducted in four stages.

January 15 Departure from San Francisco, United States
Jan 15-
Feb 3
Travel to Antigua, Guatemala
March 6
Guatemala stay
March 7-
April 3
Travel to Cuzco, Peru
April 7-
May 29
Peru stay
May 30-
June 9
Travel to Buenos Aires, Argentina
June 10-
June 23
Travel to Harare, Zimbabwe
June 24-
July 31
Zimbabwe stay
August 1-
August 8
Travel to Bamako, Mali
August 8-
September 23
Mali stay
September 24-
October 28
Travel to Cairo, Egypt
October 29-
December 10
Egypt stay
December 11-13 Travel to Jerusalem, Israel
December 14-
January 29
Israel stay
January 30-
February 5
Travel to Istanbul, Turkey
February 6-
March 17
Turkey stay
March 18-
March 20
Travel to Tehran, Iran
March 25-
April 28
Iran stay
April 29-
June 14
India stay
June 10-
June 20
Travel to Xi'an, China
August 5
China stay
August 5-
September 1
Travel through SE Asia, to finish in San Francisco, United States

The Latin America and Africa Stages have been completed and are available for use anytime in its archived form. The Team is currently in the Middle East Stage.

Why? - The Educational Program Behind the Trek

The Odyssey has three primary foci to help your students:
  • First, the team plans its itinerary in each site based on National Educational Standards to help you bring to life the content you are expected to cover! So if the Standards say teachers should cover Aztec culture, then we'll cover it too. But we visit the ruins, attend ceremonies, talk with experts, and let students chat with the locals!

  • Second, we explore critical global themes such "The Environment and Development," "Globalization," and "Poverty," AND we offer you truly diverse perspectives and information from around the world. These themes are also listed in the Teachers Guide.

  • Third, we promote involvement by students in service learning activities which apply what they are learning to affect change in the communities abroad and in their own.

To top it all off, we deliver world famous individuals and organizations straight to your students' computers. We conduct special interviews, sometimes live, where your students submit the questions. We record them in video and your students can play them back on their computers whenever they (or you) like. So far these have included Nobel Peace Prize Laureates like Rigoberta Menchu of Guatemala, the Truth and Reconciliation Member Mary Burton of South Africa, and a special collection of videos of the Goldman Environmental Prizewinners from all over the world.

So How Do You Actually Use The Odyssey?

You can use the trek in one of two ways:

1- You can have your students follow the trek as it unfolds, either in its entirety or only for those specific stages which are relevant to your curriculum, or...

2- Because the entire Trek is being archived online, you can use the content the Team posts on the website later when it's most appropriate for your own schedule, selecting only the parts most relevant to your class. (In this case, while you lose some of the immediacy and interactivity of the Trek, you still benefit from the pcitures and video and sound that will better engage students, and from the diverse perspectives and issues the content addresses.)

Those teachers following along generally have their students use the website once or twice a week, whether that's in a computer lab for a class period, in small groups at a few computers in the classroom, or freely on their own during the course of a homeschool day. Teachers using select parts will schedule a series of times on the site as appropriate.

Some times you may want to direct students to read specific Team Member articles because of the relevant content, other times you may wish to let them explore an update on their own and read those dispatches that most interest them. For accountability's sake, you may wish to give them an activity to do in conjunction with what is covered on the website or have them incorporate what they learn into other things you're doing in class.

Whatever you choose, we guarantee there'll be meaningful content combined with personal and adventurous real-world tales!

So How Do YOU Figure Out What's On There To Direct Your Students?!?

Planning Ahead: We always post an itinerary for the Team for any given country at least a month before their arrival.

Following Along or Looking Back: Every time we post new update on the site (twice a week) we also post a quick summary of what the update's about, as well as summaries of each of the articles in the update. The update summary looks like this:

1- The Title of the new update. NOTE: To see the summaries of the 5 or so articles in the update, you can click on this title. Clicking through here also reveals to you activity suggestions we've made to support using the update!
2- A brief list of the key topics covered in the update.

With the Teachers Guide you can quickly survey what is available for the students without reviewing it all yourself, and the activity suggestions can be used to hold the students accountable for what they do when they are visiting the site, or as extensions. (These activities are to be assigned by you, as they do not appear in the section of the site the students will use, only in the Teachers Guide.)

Quick Search: If you want to find a particular topic to cover with your class that you think we might have already covered in the Trek, you don't need to review all of these summaries. You (or your students) can use the "Search" function - available on every page of the website.

Quick Review

Why not check out what all this looks like to better understand? Click through to each of the following, then hit the back button to come back here to wrap up the orientation.
Teachers Guide
A Future Itinerary
(for Turkey)
Teachers Guide
The Guatemala Archives
Teachers Tips
June 5, 1999
Looking Back
at Latin

How The Odyssey Works for the Students:

The students experience the Trek through the Trek portion of The Odyssey website. (On the homepage where you clicked on "Teachers Zone," the students choose one of the Trek stages.) Each update offers four main sections with different functions:
  • The Basecamp - This is where the students find the Team Members' dispatches and the Making a Difference (service learning) activities.

  • Trek Connect - Here the students share their opinions with each other on a message board, send the Team Members e-mail, and participate in live chats with each other, the team, and people around the world.

  • Multimedia and Special Guests - All interviews with special guests, and any other video and audio are listed for quick access at any time.

  • Time Machine - From here students can access all of the Team's past updates, going back to the beginning of the Trek.

The Kids' Zone (K-6)

The Odyssey has a special section just for students K-6. The content is age-appropriate, and it is much smaller and easier to navigate. For a quick run down on this section, click here!

Quick Review

Why not check out what all this looks like to better understand? Click through to each of the following, then hit the back button to come back here to wrap up the orientation.
June 12, 1999
Trek Connect
Multimedia and Special Guests
Latin America
Time Machine
Latin America

And More!

Another resource we make available to you are free Lessons. These can be used in conjunction with the Trek to deepen the students' experience, or independently. They relate to each of the major sites the team is visiting, and to each of the critical global issues they will be exploring.

Visit the Message Board to collaborate with other teachers from around the world. Check tips from other teachers, pose any questions you might have, exchange lesson plans. It's all up to you!

Our FAQ section should help with any remaining questions and the Additional Resources page provides links to other quality educational websites.

Before you go...

All we ask in return for all of this, is that you Register. It's not necessary to use The Odyssey, but it's free, it takes under two minutes, it's completely confidential, and we need it to continue funding the program! Our funders (who are paying for the trek so we can keep it free!) need to know a little about who's using this site. Your information also helps us tailor the trek to your needs.

Thank you, and may your experience with The Odyssey be meaningful and enjoyable!

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