Several months ago, I was asked to take part in an interview project for English. Grade 5 and 6 students were to interview a professional about their career and ask a number of questions about that career. For example:-
- Why did you take up this career?
- What are the challenging aspects of this career? etc
However, the students came from a school in Singapore and I was actually at a conference at Deakin University in Geelong. Not wanting to disappoint the students, I had organised for wireless internet connection with Deakin Uni in their management centre. Due to technical difficulties, I only just got online in time. However, once on the delivery went smoothly. Skype was the videoconferencing platform. I tried to use the chat as much as possilbe, as accents are always difficult to adjust to. At least they could read my notes or chat for verification. These students were young and not used to the Aussie accent. To their credit they spoke confidently, capably and well. Once the interview was completed, students would write up reports.
Some of the other professionals interviewed included:- the Director of Progam development at the National Volunteer and Philathropy Centre, a nurse, an engineer, a barista from Starbucks and a poet from NZ.
The success of the project meant that Aini’s class had to present in front of the entire school. The class hoped to inspire the pupils to be like the people they featured and then try to tie in with their school values.
Learning outcomes for me:-
- Need to use text chat as well as audio when responding to questions in the online interview for full comprehension.
- However, typing on the keyboard made a lot of noise, ( I was recorded the session) and may have interfered with them hearing me clearly.
- Always, always test the equipment ahead of time to allow for the technical hitches that will occur.
- If skype loses audio or video, it is best to hang up and ring back. We had to do this once.
- Experiencing the tyranny of distance and feeling of helplessness at times, when working with a class of students, who were unknown to me and knowing that sometimes Aini was out of the classroom.
- Being part of another wonderful online experience.