As a welcoming host for classroom 2.0, I greeted a new member whose name was Ekaterina and she was from Russia. She was interested in forming ?a link with another global school for videoconferencing purposes. As a long shot, I said we would be interested, but did not think our class times would match. But…… they did. We had one hour in the day when our school times overlapped. And so….
- A series of vidoeconference sessions were set up with the two schools, one of which ended up on the Russian TV news.
- A collaborative wiki – Across the World - was set up.
- Then it was all quiet for several years!
However, a recent night time skype conversation with Ekaterina informed me that she was now teaching in a military school and it was requested that we videoconference this week as important visitors were coming into the school. They had not used videoconferencing before. Last Friday, I was logged into skype, Ekaterina found me and we negotiated a time to test our connections. So, within 30 minutes our classes connected and a small group of students from our school and a class of Ekaterina’s chatted to each other – with no planning but making use of teachable moments.
The school that Ekaternina teaches in, is located in the city of Yekaterinburg and here is the school. (We are not sure what it’s name is) This school has students from Byambadorj, Mongolia. They have something to do with Manduul- we did not quite catch that and need to research it. We also learnt that the school has a 7 military companies and the companies consists of 4 platoons, platoons consisting of about 20 students and we think the Mongolian students are at the school for 6 months.
Some amazing facts:
- a Russian military school learning together with a small country school in Australia
- the Russian school is located in a city of?1,350,136 (according to a wikipedia entry) – the fourth largest city in Russia cf Hawkesdale P12 College in a town of 120 people
- Our school has 250 students, their school population- yet to be determined
- See the School Website with photos of our linkup.
What the students discussed – (remember there was no time for pre-planning cos of the teachable moment)
- discussed individual ages of each other.
- questions relating to school and year levels
- favourite music – one of our girls then played the guitar to them
- what they ate for lunch and breakfast
- how could they get to Australia
- distance from school to homes – 4500kms to Mongolia etc
The challenges -
- skype stability on my laptop – had to cable it into the school’s network as the wireless network would not hold.
- the accents
- But …… always student curiousity about each other prevails!
The unanswered questions:-
- So many unanswered questions for teachable moments and individualised learning
- History/geography of where they live
- What the school is all about? What the student population consists of. Why they go there? (We cannot translate their site in google translate but will keep on trying)