Friday, June 7, 2013

Have Your Students Meet WIth Foreign in Video Conferences

Today one of my 9th grade classes had an usual experience.  We had a video conference with a class of like aged students in Italy set up by Face to Faith.  You can connect with some of the countries that are part of the curriculum in AP Comparative. Yes the name gave me pause at first thinking about our First Amendment limitations, but my hesitation was unfounded.  The organization was founded by former British PM Tony Blair to connect students from multiple countries.  You can do it as a one time shot or meet multiple times and even have your students chat in their closed network. So how did it work?

I contacted FTF just three weeks ago and they were incredibly quick about getting me started.  I checked my equipement with a tech person in India and then set up my files on their website - all within four days of my initial e-mail.  Then I exchanged e-mails with my teaching peer in Italy and we Skyped each other a few days ago.  We also exchanged videos about your schools made by our students (none of which is required) so I knew the Italians were taking an English class and I must say they spoke quite fluently.  You do not need much technical experience other than how to download and run a video conferencing program called the BlueJeansNetwork,  and how to plug in a mic, LCD and speakers.

This morning I got to school about fifty minutes before the conference and connected in 30 minutes before.  We had our tech friend in India, our moderator in London, our school friends in Italy and we are just outside of D.C.  The questions ranged from "What is your typical day like" to what do you do after school, foods you like, items you study at school."  We did briefly discuss religion, but only to ask a few volunteers what religion (not surprisingly all Catholic in Italy and many religions in my school). they practiced.  My kids loved the experience and other than being shy to speak on the mic it went very well.  

2 comments:

Metamorfosis said...

wow... i think it's really amazing... :)

Sulakhe's said...

That a great use of technology the students have done here. Using Video Conferencing Software as a medium to communicate among different schools, countries and people is a great innovation one can face ever.