This website is a documentary effort of four college students who studied everyday life within a Guatemalan rural community whose residents for the most part lived on less than one dollar a day. Much of the content is in the form of personal-reflection video blogs about their own attempts to also subsist on a dollar a day. However, they also documented their interactions with residents, and in so doing, captured the culture and spirit of these courageous people. This story behind the story is therefore one of coming to know local people and how they might be assisted in preserving their dignity and way of life.
The website can be applied to numerous learning goals, including the following:
-Deriving sample budgets to live on one dollar a day.
-Understanding the mechanisms of microfinancing and its purpose in helping households in Third World nations.
-Understanding the benefits of active social networking among people from different cultures around the world
-Understanding the value of documentary work and its potential to intimately connect with diverse populations and capital investors.
-Understanding of international global economics and ecosystems.
Additionally, the website can also facilitate learning at the affective level, and goals might include:
-Generating empathy for poor people.
-Demonstrating how subsistence on sporadic, low incomes affects day-to-day decision-making, diet and health.
-Motivating young adults in the developed world to take personal action to address global poverty.
Target Student Population:
This website would be appropriate for high school and college classes. High school teachers could use this as a heightened awareness project. College instructors might use it as a template for research on micro-financing among the poor in local communities. The case study would be appropriate for social science and economics classes, as well.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Students only need to be able to use the Internet to make full use of this website.
Type of Material:
This website may be used as an assessment-tool protocol for studies in micro-financing potentials in other geographic areas. It may also be used as a case study in what inspires students to embark on a mission such as this. Opportunities to comment on the blogs are provided. The website promotes detailed understanding of the experiences of the students and the everyday life of indigenous residents.
Recommended as a case study to be used as a homework assignment. Also might be used as a template for an assignment by student teams working within their community. Teams of students can present their impressions of various webcasts and the blog entries found on this website. Students might also be encouraged to connect with those involved in the project to get a more in-depth understanding of the details of conducting such a study.
Requires speakers and a stable internet connection capable of playing Adobe Flash video to view embedded YouTube videos.
Evaluation and Observation
The website is extremely well-organized and easy to navigate. The purpose of the study is very clearly summarized. The web blogs are concise and easy-to-use. Information is bite-sized and has an almost therapeutic quality.
The only concern might be a lack of direct links which relate to microeconomics and sociocultural considerations.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
It is very clear what the students set out to do in terms of sociological immersion and micro-financing. Their study of the everyday life of residents is admirable and a great inspiration for students, hopefully motivating users to conduct similar research of their own.
As a learning tool, instructors would need to augment this case study with relevant social and economic theory.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Very user-friendly. Organized by homepages about the students, potential donations page, daily budgets, video blogs, and video extras.
Other Issues and Comments:
This is a perfect case study to augment text materials.