Thursday, 15 November 2012

2012 Cross-Cultural Projects

As 2011, this has been a year full of very successful intercultural projects and interaction. 

Letters from Sapulpa Middle School

The year opened with very exciting news for our students. They were truly delighted to receive a mailing from the students at Sapulpa Middle School-Oklahoma,USA, with whom they had been interacting via their wiki and Sype during 2011. The package contained Christmas cards and letters from their American epals and showed what a close connection they had established by working together in their joint venture.

Our students opening and reading their letters in class:

Of course, they had also sent cards, letters and presents to their peers in America and had already heard about their excitement when receiving them.

New "cyber encounters"

On May 9th, our students had a new opportunity to meet live with their peers. The preparation prior to the video conference involved the same steps as in the previous ones: negotiating  topics, and exchanging photos, posters and presentations in their wiki. You can read more about the preparation stage HERE

First minutes of the live session:

Later on, on 17th May, a new Skype session took place, this time with students from a school in North Carolina, USA.

The students in both countries had been looking into the topic of bullying so that they could exchange views and experiences during the web conference, and discuss ways to tackle this problem.
Then, they went on to talk about a less serious subject: typical places for a holiday in both countries. The students had brought photos of their favourite holiday resorts and had a great time showing each other their pictures through the webcams.

One of the highlights of the session was when our students walked around the institute with  netbooks and laptops, showing the place where they study to their peers in America - they even walked into the balcony to give them a view of their street! In the process, students from other classes also had the opportunity to say Hi to the American students, who then offered us a tour of their school. 

We are sure our students will always treasure this experience. Projects like this make learning more memorable and meaningful. Students can see that what they are studying is relevant to   their life and enables them to communicate with people in other countries. Another pedagogical gain is that students, without even noticing it, get intensive and extensive practice in the four skills: reading and writing (letters, posts, comments), listening and speaking (in the actual conference). Perhaps even more important is the fact that students become aware of cultural differences and learn to respect and accept them. Also, the projects involve creating different artifacts using web tools like posters, voicethreads and videos thus allowing them to manipulate web tools in a meaningful context

Video with some photos taken during the session: