Skype and the Wider World

The world is an increasingly smaller place. Yet, the more I explore it, the larger it seems to be. As our world gets larger, it’s sometimes difficult to know our part in it. What do I have to contribute? How can my gifts help others? I am constantly confronted by the need to help my students know what’s going on in the world, wonder about it, recognise the similarities and¬†celebrate our differences.

Earlier this year, we shared a video story with our 5th/6th graders about a student their age living in Syria. It showed his desperation to attend school and his frustration that the current situation stops him from getting the education he deserves.

Here is the story from ABC’s Foreign Correspondent:

Ibrahim’s War

After watching this documentary, our students desperately wanted to find out more. They wanted to help Ibrahim. “Perhaps we could send him some books…” mused one student. “Does he have access to the Internet?” they asked. (NOTE: We did attempt to contact Ibrahim through Foreign Correspondent but it was not to be).

This got me thinking about the technology at our finger tips. Skype is a fantastic tool for connecting with others. Naturally, it lends itself to connecting classrooms as well. I went to a Teach Meet in a couple of months ago where I listened to a PLN colleague share how he skyped a class in Turkey whilst his class were learning about WW1 and Gallipoli. How about that for adding in a real-world connection. There’s a lesson those students will never forget!

Heard of Mystery Skype? This is an initiative by Skype Education in which classes can Skype each other and by a series of questions, establish the classes location (well, that’s just step 1). The learning from this could be endless.

Make 2014 the year for spreading tolerance, understanding and acceptance.

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