By Bonnie McAuley/3rd Grade Teacher at Colegio Internacional Puerto la Cruz
At the 2013 AASSA Administrator’s conference, I had the pleasure of meeting the Ms. Anna Wallace, the elementary principal at AISK. Over breakfast, I talked with her about how our 3rd graders at CIPLC in Venezuela would be representing Jamaica at the upcoming International Day celebration. It sparked an idea to connect our elementary students for a cultural exchange over Skype. Ten years ago, this would have been an inconceivable idea. Three months later, it happened! We connected our classes using Skype to create an authentic, engaging, and transformative learning experience for our students.
On Friday, March 28, 2014 our 3rd graders in Venezuela connected with Ms. Kadie Dickenson’s 5th grade Spanish class in Jamaica for a question and answer session via Skype. The students led the entire session. They introduced themselves in Spanish and generated questions in English. Through personal conversations, each group of students learned about Venezuelan and Jamaican geography, culture, and one other’s schools. They smiled, laughed and learned from one another. They practiced presentation skills and demonstrated flexibility and patience when working with new technology. Our 3rd graders were the first group of students at CIPLC to connect personally and talk personally with real students from the country they were representing for international day!
The goal of the session was to create an authentic, collaborative learning experience for the students. At CIPLC we are continuously aiming to incorporate 21st century learning experiences into our academic program. We are working on transforming our learning experiences and are guided by the 21st century literacies. We are helping students develop proficiency with the tools of technology, guiding them in building relationships with others to problem-solve collaboratively and cross-culturally, and teaching them to share information with global communities.
If you are interested in getting connected and providing students with this type of experience using Skype, here’s a resource with three simple ways to do so. https://education.skype.com/