At 3:59 pm today, I got a Skype video call from Ms. Rose’s grade 5 class from Weatherford, Texas. A few minutes prior, their teacher, Jacqueline Rose had sent me a Direct Message on Twitter asking me if I was available to Skype with her class.
Her grade 5 students took turns introducing themselves and asked me a question which they had pre-composed in their Social Studies class. They asked me:
- what time it was in my time zone
- what my “state” flower was
- how big my state was
- what region I lived in
- what colour my flag was
- what the closest ocean to me was
- what my football team was (which I think was a little bit unfair as they were immediately able to guess after that answer)
Once they discovered I lived near Toronto, one of the students asked me about the show, Heartland which apparently Texans have to wait for to be released on Netflix. We talked a little bit about that.
Ms. Rose said the kids loved it. I thought it was awesome! It took about 15 minutes in total. I wasn’t hard-wired. I just accepted the Skype call, but it could have been Facetime or Google Hangouts.
It really isn’t very complicated to connect our students to others in the world.
And it didn’t take very much time.
They practiced searching, questioning, map-reading, and oral communication in a more meaningful way than doing an exercise in a textbook.
So why don’t connect kids more?