6 Schools- 6 Countries-1 Hour

Six schools in six countries in one hour? Is it possible?

Over 100 participants in 23 countries have shown desire to connect with other schools and left their contact information.

Time zones issues seem to be the biggest hurdle in connecting our students with schools from the Eastern Hemisphere during school hours.

I invited the students in my TechClub to come and join me on a Sunday evening, the night before a school holiday on Monday, in order to skype with schools in Asia and Australia. Luckily that school holiday was a country specific one (Presidents Day) that the  other schools did not observe.

My own daughters and a family friend joined us to create a group of students from grade levels ranging from 4th-11th grade.

aww80s-4 aww80s-3

As you can see from screenshots of Google Earth above, taken on Sunday February at 8 pm (EST), it was already dark for us on the East Coast of Florida while the schools in Asia and Australia were already in school on Monday morning.

We met about 30 minutes before I had scheduled the first skype call with Thailand for 8 pm (our time). I showed everyone the google map with yellow placemarks indicating the schools that we would be talking to that evening. We made a visual connection to the time zone issue by looking at the geographic location of these schools on the map. aww80s-skype-evening

Each student received six index cards that they labeled with the country. I then asked for volunteers to

  1. Introduce our school
  2. Share something about our school or location
  3. Ask a question

I also asked them to help me take notes of what each school would be sharing or asking us.

While we were in the middle of preparing our index cards, we received the first Skype chat notification from Ann Mirtschin (Australia) that they were ready for the call. Oops, even with using GMT and a converter online, I still must have mixed up the timezones and was off by one hour. (Maybe Daylight Savings time issue?)

So we needed to be flexible and improvised and jump in!

Open YOUR windows to the world!

world-window

image by ozekki

You could literally hear the hinges of the window screech as they opened up and we connected with:

  1. Anne Mirtschin from Hawkesdale P12 College,  in Hawkesdale, Australia
  2. Chrissy Hellyer from International School of Bangkok, Thailand
  3. Jason Crewe from Busan Foreign School Elementary School in Busan, South Korea
  4. Wendy Liao from United World College of South East Asia East Campus in Singapore
  5. Heather Davis from Yew Chung International School of Beijing, China
  6. Amanda Marrinan from St John Vianney’s School in Brisbane, Australia

aww80s-australia

aww80s-asia

In one hour students were exposed to:

  • Connections to people and  cultures from
    • Australia
    • Singapore
    • China
    • South Korea
    • Thailand
  • Measurements and Conversions
    • Temperature- Celsius- Fahrenheit
    • Distance- Kilometers-Miles
  • Geographic Literacies
    • Language, Accents s & Dialects
    • Time Zones
    • Hemispheres
    • Seasons
    • Continents
    • Oceans
    • Location
  • Technology
    • SmartBoard
    • Webcam
    • Skype
    • Chat,
    • GoogleMaps
    • Spreadsheet

Questions students asked the most

  • Subjects taught in School
  • Sports
  • After School Activities
  • How many languages do you speak?
  • How many different nationalities are in your class

aww80s-australia1 aww80s-thailand aww80s-singapore

aww80s-korea aww80s-china aww80s-australia-brisbane

Students took notes on what they heard during our connections

Australia- Hawkesdale

  • 11th & 12 th Graders
  • It is summer there right now
  • Boomerang is used for hunting, killing animals
  • Lots of Koalas and Kangaroos
  • Waltzing Matilda is an Australian folk song
  • Red White and Blue flag

Thailand- Bangkok

  • 5th Graders
  • 81 year old king
  • 15106.82 km away from Jacksonville ~9320.56 miles
  • About 53 different nationalities
  • International School
  • 1870 students at the school
  • They are in the rainy season- hot and humid
  • They have many After School Activities
  • Soccer is a very popular sport

Singapore

  • Kindergarten
  • other side of the world
  • Audio was not working well

South Korea- Busan

  • 4th Graders
  • One student used to live in Jacksonville
  • best food in cafeteria is Pizza
  • Many of the students have been to the USA
  • Popular sport: soccer
  • Really hot in the summer

China- Beijing

  • 4thGraders
  • Wear red shirts as part of their uniform
  • School is on East side of Beijing
  • They like to play football, soccer, rollerskating, ping pong, basketball, badminton, Monopoly
  • Their teacher, Mrs. Davis is from Canada
  • Each student is from a different country, no Chinese students are at the school
  • They all speak English and Chinese and the language of their home country.
  • They travel a lot during their vacation
  • Just celebrated the Chinese New Year (Year of the Ox)
  • Currently -2 C
  • About 850 students at school from 41 countries
  • They like to eat ice cream
  • They just learned about Alaska
  • Ni Hao (Hello)
  • Xie Xie (Thank you)

Australia- Brisbane

  • 2nd Graders
  • Net Ball- Like Basketball, but you don’t dribble, you have to throw it into a goal
  • Sunny and hot
  • They play soccer, cricket, football and netball (for girls), swimming, tennis
  • They live close to the Pacific Ocean
  • They live close to a bay.  “MoretonBay”
  • One family of their class lives on a boat
  • 28 C- 82 F
  • 26 kids in class- 16 are boys
  • compared activities in school
  • wear uniforms

Things to consider for the future:

  • Students tend to be quiet and shy the first time. As will anything else, give them time to practice and they will come out of their shells
  • Let students be more involved with setting up the skype call. Let them manage the chat, dial in and video and audio settings
  • Let students guide the conversation more
  • Practice through role play ahead of time a CONVERSATION.
  • Teach them to continue a question with follow up. How about you? My name is….what is yours?, etc.
  • Improvisation and flexibility. How much do you want to script and prepare the conversation? How does that affect English Language Learners?