Think Global, Act Local is an ideal put forward by Sir Patrick Geddes in early 20th century. The work presented in this forum extends an ongoing analyses of communities in North Carolina.  The replies below come from graduate students in a 2012 graduate course at NC State, and explore the origins of local places, their global characteristics, and the implications of these connections.


This is the third thread on this topic. See the first here -


In another thread, a group of students explored this same idea while also extending the work in the context of a local museum exhibit

See our most recent discussion here -

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A "Think Global, Act Local" organization I have been involved in for over a year is the Chidlren's Miracle Network.  If you click on the link you will arrive at the main donation site for CMN.  It is an organization that raises money for children to help pay for treatment.  As a competitor in the Miss America Organization Scholarship Pageant system, you are required to raise a minimum of $100 for CMN before competing in a local preliminary competition.  Before you go to state level, Miss North Carolina, you are required to raise a minimum of $250.  If you have the prestigious honor or winning Miss North Carolina, you are required to raise $500 dollars before competing at Miss America.  Typically, contestants go above an beyond when raising money for the cause.  Also, when a contestant wins a local preliminary she is required to raise money throughout her reign for CMN and donate at the local level.  Many hours are spent raising money for CMN.  Many people are involved in the planning and organization it takes to hold a CMN fundraiser or benefit.  It requires sincere dedication and passion.

I believe this idea can be extended past extracurricular activities and hobbies, such as scholarship pageants.  Programs such as, CMN, can be instituted into the educational system at the most basic level -- the classroom.  Teachers can take initiative and engage their students in becoming "globally, yet locally active."  In addition, reform is an idea for the current educational system.  Maybe an educational movement should be made to encourage students to be advocates for philanthropy in their community -- and eventually globally.  In addition, schools do not have to adopt just one cause to support.  The discretion could be left up to each individual school, administration, or even teacher.  After all, motivation is based on interests.  And what is more motivating than as a teacher being able to support your favorite philanthropic cause, and engage your students?

My home community is Louisville, Kentucky.  When I think of my home community I think of Louisville Slugger bats and the museum that is downtown.  Louisville Slugger’s origins begin with Johann Fredrich Hillerich being born in Germany in 1833, then in 1842 moving with his family from Germany to Maryland and then to Louisville, Kentucky (  It signifies the most popular American pastime.  It communicates to the world the importance of American sports and athletics. The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory shows how the bats are made and gives the history of the Louisville Slugger bats and famous baseball players.  The museum also shows the collaboration that occurred between the maker (“Bud” Hillerich) and the player who requested the bat (Pete Browning) and then the first player who helped promote or endorse the bat by his signature (Honus Wagner aka “The Flying Dutchman”) (  Louisville borders the Falls of the Ohio River and the native culture is one of people who work hard and help others.  Louisville Slugger museum tells others that hard work and quality manufacturing are still important to the local community as well as perpetuating athleticism and the sport of baseball.  The local communities’ history is reflected in this place through the ideals of the family business (Hillerich and his sons working together), the idea that children can create (Hillerich was 18 when he created the first wooden baseball bat), and the support of arts, leisure and sports.  I believe it is important to know about the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory because of the previously mentioned ideals that it represents not only for my hometown, but also for U.S. A. and the world.  I believe that without global learning (communication, collaboration, and creativity) the Louisville Slugger bat would not have been possible.  We can teach this content in public schools through social studies classes (the history of the bat and museum) and through physical education classes in support of sports.

I've been here several times and had a bat engraved for my son... very special. This is indeed a great place to teach about community, hard work, and collaboration. Great memories! Thank you.



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Teaching about Historical Reconstructions using the Vail Telegraph Key

The reconstruction of historical inventions can provide a powerful context for students to explore how inventions affect society. In fact, the social impact of the invention of the telegraph ripples through to today. It set the stage for the invention of other communications technologies such as radio, television, and the Internet. The ability to send messages across wires in a fraction of the time humans were accustomed had a profound impact on society. Rossiter Johnson captured the spirit of that change in an 1882 poem written in tribute Morse and the telegraph. The poem describes limits of humans imposed by nature, but imagines that with the invention of the telegraph those limitations begin to fade away.

But one morning he made him a slender wire,
  As an artist’s vision took life and form,
While he drew from heaven the strange fierce fire
  That reddens the edge of the midnight storm;
And he carried it over the Mountain’s crest,
And dropped it into the Ocean’s breast;
And Science proclaimed, from shore to shore,
That Time and Space ruled man no more.

Students often have myopic views about how technologies impact their own lives. While it is true that students today seem to live in a constant state of ‘revolution’ regarding new technologies, an understanding of history can temper our enthusiasms. By studying records and relics from the past, such as Johnson’s poem, students can build up a long view of technological innovation and understand how the telegraph fits in that history.

Students can also use these experiences to explore important historical skills related to cause and effect. A reconstruction of the Vail telegraph key provides students with an opportunity to examine the development of scientific knowledge and challenge the narrowly constructed textbook history of the telegraph.

The history of the telegraph is typically transmitted to students as a neat and tidy story about Samuel Morse and the 1844 transmission from Baltimore to Washington DC of the message “What hath God wrought?” But, history is never so simple. Behind the story of Morse is the complex history of the invention of the telegraph, and that story is impossible to tell with Alfred Vail.

A social studies activity exploring this complicated history might begin with the simple question – Who was on the other end of the message sent by Samuel Morse on May 24, 1844? Of course, it was Alfred Vail. From there, students might explore Vail’s 1845 book length survey of the history of the telegraph, The American Electro Magnetic Telegraph: With the Reports of Congress, and a Description of all Telegraphs Known, Employing Electricity or Galvanism.  The book, which has three parts, includes a detailed description of the telegraph system developed by Vail and Morse; letters, reports, and other correspondences about the development of the telegraph system; and a contemporary history of the telegraph. Students can analyze this source to develop questions for inquiry about the development of the telegraph in the 1830s and 1840s.

From Hathi trust and Harvard Library at

The Lincoln Telegram project provides another avenue for exploring the newly invented telegraph and, specifically, how it affected the course of the Civil War and its participants.

The Lincoln Telegrams Project

The Lincoln Telegrams project ( includes digital versions and transcriptions of 354 telegram memos written by Lincoln from March 10, 1864 to his death in April of 1865.  The telegram memos function as source material for helping students and teachers understand how to analyze historical sources using the Hicks, Doolittle, and Ewing’s SCIM-C method ( Direct access to the telegrams, either via the web or through an iPad app with the same content, allows students to explore the historical context and follow the ways in which the telegraph affected communications during that era.

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