Here is a short update after 3 months into the project “Around The World with 80 Schools”.
Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to be “on the other” side of the screen, as I visited (physically) Chrissy Hellyer’s class at the International School of Bangkok. It just happened to be a morning that they were visiting (virtually) Mike Jesse’s class from Japan. What an incredible feeling to see and observe Chrissy’s classroom from the inside this time.
136 schools in 27 countries are participating and waiting to be connected with each other.
Here are some excerpts of what participants are blogging about their experiences.
En marzo comenzamos un nuevo proyecto, durante 2009 vamos a conectarnosÂ a travÃ©s de las videoconferencias, con por lo menos 80 escuelas alrededor del mundo. Es un proyecto del departamento de inglÃ©s y van a participar los QUINTOS y los SEXTOS AÃ‘OS.
Before the event we have a bit of a look around on Google Earth to fly between New Zealand and the place we are going to connect with.
Then we brainstorm anything we know about the country that we are going to connect with. Before our Skype call- not a lot!
We then designed fairly open ended questions and allot people to ask the questions.
I used the Time Scroller widget to get our timing right and after a bit of negotiation as to a time the works we are underway.
I have Call Recorder set up auto record the call which I have edited in iMovie to highlight the interesting bits.
Each group in my class was given a task to come up with a piece to share during our video-conference that they had to research and decide how to share: One group shared about our location with maps and an Earth globe, another shared points of interest though photos of our area, climate was one groups topic, describing our class – number of students, ages, nationalities, etc. -Â another shared things we are studying, and lastly â€œfavoritesâ€ – foods, music and the like.
Tonight 9 students from Room 202 came back to school (yes, thatâ€™s right – cameÂ back to school ) at 6.45pm to get ready to make connection #8 in our Aroundtheworldwith80schools skype project.
At 7pm, March 4, 2009 Bangkok, Thailand connected 14 530.08 kilometres away with Benton City, Benton, Tennessee USA, their time 7am, March 4, 2009.
The kids were extremely excited about the call. They asked questions about field trips, pets, wild animals, the weather (the VA kids asked my kids how HOT it gets in Florida during the WINTER. My students were a bit confused by that one!), and questions about locale such as “Are you close to Washington DC?” and “How many of you have been there?” Almost all of the students from VA had been to DC.
Well, today was the big day. Several students and myself met at school bright and early this morning for our Skype call with the students in Thailand. I think we were all a little nervous because we really weren’t sure what to expect. All in all, I think it went really well. The other class was more experienced at it, but our kids hung in there and did a great job. It was fascinating to see the kids, hear their accents, and really discover that they are just like us! We learned that it is very hot in Thailand right now while we’re freezing in Tennessee! My students were very surprised to see American children in Thailand. They told me that it wasn’t at all what they expected to see.
Finally our skype phone rang and Silvia’s students were there talking to us! What a thrill! We found out lots about them: they attend a private school, they wear a uniform, which they don’t particularly like, they have beaches nearby, they like American football and what got us really jealous: the next day they were going on a field trip to Washington!