Linking With the World

By Herbert Kohl

WorldLink on DirectTV Channel 375 (
Virginia Hamilton (

Since Sept. 11 we have been news starved and news saturated at the same time. The government’s party line on world affairs is ubiquitous, and even though there are many TV news channels, it is very hard to get access to a range of opinions. It is equally hard to get information on almost anything going on outside of the United States unless it affects American interests. Direct TV – WorldLinkTV is an exception. Created by a number of the leading progressives in the media world, WorldLink ( offers a global perspective on news, events, and culture. It is available through satellite-based broadcast systems.

It focuses on issues of human rights, sustainable development, environmental protection, and cultural integrity. It works with newscasters internationally and with underserved communities in the United States. Recent features on the channel included a feature on the oppression of Sudan’s Nuba people, an overview of the history of North African Nai music, a program of news reports in English from a variety of Middle Eastern broadcasters, a feature on an oil company working with native people to protect the rainforests in Ecuador, and a series of international music videos. Listening to the station transports one to worlds beyond those that dominate the media in the United States. Since the programming extends throughout the day, it is an invaluable source of news and international culture in the classroom. And teachers can tape programs of music and news to provide an ongoing source of enrichment.


In addition to learning about the world, it is important to reach out to the world. iEARN ( provides opportunities for students in more than 70 countries to collaborate over the internet on projects that both enhance learning and make a difference in the world. iEARN supports dozens of projects, including children’s rights, bullying, child soldiers, education for street children, peace, media literacy, racism, and women’s issues. Schools and classrooms can join existing iEARN projects or create their own. iEARN also provides professional development sessions and curriculum material, which is developed through their projects.


A final note: Virginia Hamilton, one of the world’s greatest authors of children’s literature died in February at the age of 65. It is worth taking a retrospective look with one’s students at her life, works, and ideas. Her website ( has a biography and bibliography.Subscribe Online