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Abstract -- Asia Now Online Regional Track
R5: Asia

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Asia Now Online

Zoughlin, Malia ( malia@uhunix.uhcc.hawaii.edu)


ASIA NOW ONLINE combines compelling video from the weekly international television series Asia Now, with Asia-Pacific related multimedia materials for worldwide distribution and use on the Internet.

Asia Now is a weekly news program airing across the United States on the Public Broadcasting System and across Asia and the Pacific via satellite and various national broadcasters. Asia Now is a co-production of Hawaii Public Television, KCTS/Seattle and NHK/Japan. It is the only regular news broadcast in the U.S. focusing on the Asia-Pacific region.

ASIA NOW ONLINE is being developed in partnership with the Hawaii Department of Education and the University of Hawaii.

Through creation of intelligent materials that recognize multi-culturalism and promote intercultural sensitivity, ASIA NOW ONLINE seeks to fill the gap in Asia-Pacific resources among many U.S. schools, colleges and universities. The goal of the project is to increase access to resources about the region and to promote international dialogue via the Internet about the Asia and Pacific issues.

Asia as a whole represents sixty-five percent of the world's wealth and is home to the world's fastest growing economies. Politically, the region boasts emerging democratic governments, but is also fraught with political conflict, escalating arms races, and the frightening potential for nuclear conflict.

Culturally, the region's diverse ethnic backgrounds and languages defy characterization. The cultural, philosophic, and artistic traditions of Asia and the Pacific offer a perspective that can broaden and expand western thought and understanding.

To help address the growing need for meaningful information about the cultures, social systems, and economic activities of the Asia-Pacific region, ASIA NOW ONLINE was created. Building on a library of broadcast video material from the weekly news program, the online project now reaches educators, students and others by two primary paths: the Hawaii Department of Education's gopher and PBS Online's Learning Link. An ASIA NOW ONLINE World Wide Web site is currently under construction.

ASIA NOW ONLINE provides an interdisciplinary, multimedia service for K-12 and college level educators and students to access Asia-Pacific resources. ASIA NOW ONLINE is currently implementing its second national curriculum project entitled "Indigenous Rights and Cultures in the Asia-Pacific Region." Teachers and their students in 7th to 12th grade classrooms across the country are participating in a 9-week online project. Online curriculum and human and written resource materials are made available to classrooms online. The project has a companion VHS tape of 14 Asia Now produced stories. to be used in the classroom with the online materials. The tape was distributed by the PBS satellite to all local stations.

Educators are enthusiastically responding to the Asia Now Online project by requesting program segments and by participating in the current project. This response and the seeming dearth of curriculum about the Asia-Pacific region in the United States has inspired Hawaii Public Television to try to reach a wider audience with a better-developed and more widely distributed product.

ASIA NOW ONLINE has begun the long and rewarding process of building partnerships to develop high quality multimedia programming for multichannel distribution. To this end, Hawaii Public Television is currently working in cooperation with KCTS/Seattle and with an international non-commerical broadcaster, NHK/Tokyo, with educational institutions representing every level life-long learning (Hawaii Department of Education and the University of Hawaii), and with support from private industry in the U.S. telecommunications sector. In addition, ASIA NOW ONLINE plans to develop links between teachers and students in the United States and their counterparts in the Asia and Pacific region for online international discussion about social, cultural, political and economic issues.