The news on the radio awoke me this morning and alerted me to the fact that Western Java in Indonesia had suffered a major earthquake with some known deaths but there was now a tsunami warning out. Shivers ran down my spine, it is never pleasant hearing about natural disastors, but my good e-friend, Endang, her students and schools come from Pekalongan in the northern coast of Western Java.
Immediately, skype was checked but Endang was not online. However, her skype message said that her town (of 200,000) had been in the earthquake. Next, twitter was searched for tweets marked earthquakes and google used to grab the latest news. Before going to school, I quickly emailed so she knew that we were thinking of her. By recess, I had a response to the email to say that the earthquake was not as strong in her city and she was okay.
During period 3 after recess, I noticed that Endang was available on skype, so I texted her to see if she could talk. To our surprise she said ‘yes’ and that she had one student with her. So, my lucky students were able to talk to them about their experiences. They had experienced two quakes which lasted about 5 mins each. Although the earth shook and the buildings, no-one was hurt that they knew of, nor any buildings damages. However, they were still under strong tsunami warnings. They still felt very frightened and the one student lived right near the sea. The connection was not strong enough for lengthy video reception but we were able to talk to them for appoximately 15 minutes via text and video chat.
How amazing is that! My students talking to the earthquake victims, before they had even seen the news on TV! Surely this shows the absolute power of the web and the direction that education may take. It can now be immediate. Students feel personal empathy as world experiences take on a whole new perspective when speaking directly with the victims. Is this a glimpse of web3.0?
Students proceeded to search for:-
- twitter feeds
- google searches for online news, broadcasts and videos
The bell went……. and nobody moved!
Postscript As I am part of the plpnetbooktrial program, I am working with 120 educationalists from Victoria with Sheryl Nussbaum Beach and Will Richardson. I added this post to our ning there and I love this comment that I got back from Will.
What a great model for the immediacy of learning that can happen these days, and the relevance. When you think about all of the things that your students could learn and practice here, interviewing skills, geography and geology, information research, retrieval, editing, organization and sharing, all in the larger context of perhaps assisting those in need who were thousands of kilometers away. I want to make the point, however, that it’s all grounded in your own understanding of these technologies and the ways in which they can help us connect. If you didn’t have that knowledge and experience, this probably would not have happened, and that really is the goal of what we’re all trying to do here, get more comfortable in using these technologies to learn in our own practice. Thanks so much for sharing this great snippet of learning from your classroom.