The ICDL is an amazing example of how technology and the internet can be used as tools to bring L1s and culture into a classroom. This has incredible potential for developing cross-cultural understanding and tolerance, as well as self-esteem and literacy development for ESL students. The site provides the following description of the ICDL:
The ICDL was initially created by an interdisciplinary research team at the University of Maryland in cooperation with the Internet Archive. Members of the team include computer scientists, librarians, educational technologists, classroom teachers, graphic designers, and graduate students from the University of Maryland's (UMD) College of Information Studies (CLIS) and the UMD Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL), a leader in children's interface design.
Other important contributors to the research are the members of the College Park Kidsteam, a group of six children, ages 7-11, who work regularly with the adults in the Lab. The approach used is called cooperative inquiry, a unique partnership between children and adults to develop and evaluate computer interface technologies that support searching, browsing, reading, and sharing books in electronic form.
The ICDL is now the principal activity of the independent not-for-profit ICDL Foundation, which continues to work closely with the University of Maryland by providing generous support for ICDL related research in the Human Computer Interaction Laboratory and the College of Information Studies.
I am so excited about following this site, and would recommend it to others. The only drawback for me is that there are not enough Chinese and African books in the selection, however, this may develop over time. I think that the ICDL is an initiative worth contacting and supporting...they are looking for contributors, and I think that this would be a meaningful initiative for school parent groups from a variety of cultures to get involved with!
If you have seen any other sites like this one, please let me know...it is a fantastic teaching resource!!! As well, consider encouraging others to support the building of this site...there is such a lack of multi-lingual reading resources out there!