On Wednesday, half of my year 9/10 Information Communications Technology class had gone to Warrnambool to a VET taster day. As I only had a small group and as this was a new group for this semester, I had flexible lesson activities worked out for the doule session. As the students settled at their desks, one of my boys asked if we were going to do any videoconferencing as per last year with Connecticut USA. My response was “I hope so!” These were to be famous last words. As the students settled to their work, skype flicked up on my laptop and it was my teacher contact from Indonesia wondering whether she could talk to me. My response was that I was in class and then I thought that this could be a teachable moment. Speakers and data projector were quickly connected to my laptop.
Soon, we were being introduced to the staff in the staff room as students were not in class at that stage. The staff were keen to talk to my students one at a time, and ask them many questions. The most common question being “how old are you?” and “where are you from?” Amidst much laughter with misunderstandings and some sound problems, we settled to our virtual tour of the staffroom and eventually outside into their attractive yard, even to the point where a student said hello whilst seated in the verandah outside. It was hot in Indonesia and cold in Australia.
I was proud of my students who perservered and repeated words, trying to improve their diction and overcome the communication problems. They found they had to be extremely phonetic and break their names up into syllables.
- How to communicate with people on a one to one basis when their English is not very strong.
- What a staffroom looks like in a rural Indonesian school!
- Fascinated by the fact that their internet access and laptop camera were strong enough to show us outside into their yard (see below)
- Absolute admiration for a teacher who in an isolated rural location in a developing country, has been able to achieve far more technologically wise than many of my Australian counterparts. She is determined to bring her students in contact with English speaking countries to help her students improve their English. Their infrastructure is poor, computer access nil but with her own personal resources, Endang is making a difference.