The 21st Century International Schoolhouse began as a teacher-initiated classroom project. The project was designed to integrate curriculum in a way that students could apply newly acquired knowledge to promote community development through global collaboration.
By incorporating technology and the tools of the Internet, an Interactive Schoolhouse was created as a venue for communication, collaboration and problem-solving. Each participating school agrees to focus on a common theme of study relevant to its local community. Projects and activities are designed to help schools implement The 21st Century International Schoolhouse framework of local action, community education and global collaboration. These projects and activities empower students to share ideas and develop solutions based on the selected theme.
In the past, schools in the International Schoolhouse have focused on a variety of environmental themes. Students conducted research, completed several projects, and participated in their own International Youth Environmental Summit in Salem, Oregon in 1997. At the summit, students from each of the participating nations worked together to craft a Declaration of Environmental Rights and Responsibilities.
In October 1999 and August 2001, participating schools met again in Perth, Australia and Toyama, Japan for the second and third International Youth Environmental Summits. There, the student delegates updated and enhanced the Declaration - based on the work they conducted via the Internet over the previous two-year periods.
Since the inception of The 21st Century International Schoolhouse six years ago, the project has expanded to include participating countries such as Argentina, Australia, China, Israel, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Palestine, Uganda and the United States.