The question was posed”What is your favourite food?” to a combined class of students from La Lima Cortes, Honduras and Hawkesdale, Australia. These students were in a virtual classroom using Blackboard Collaborate. Most of my students added expected responses in the chat or on the whiteboard: “pizza, pasta, roast etc” and then I saw the word ‘mouse’. Spinning around to my class, I wondered who the smart alec was! Almost in that same breath, Jose Popoff, the teacher from Honduras questioned Australian’s eating ‘mouse’ as a food. I spun around to my students, who could sense my wrath and mounting anger!
A quiet voice in my physical room replied saying “it is chocolate mousse”! To correct his spelling, the student then put ‘moose’ into the chat. That made us all laugh!
But…. how important is spelling and the presence of typos that might occur in the chat when students from two different countries get together in a virtual room or backchannel?
And so brought to an end a connection of 45 mins with Jose and his students. It was a mystery session where my students had to work out what country Jose was from. Jose shared some photos of where they lived and students asked questions of each other. They were all 15 or 16 years of age – all curious about each other and wanting to know more of each other. It was Thursday 2pm in Australia and 10pm Wednesday night in Honduras.
Here are some student reflections on the linkup:-
Yesterday, we tried a linkup using spreecast – a new software tool to me. Several students from our school came in during morning recess to talk to Jose’s students but bad weather in Honduras meant that we dropped out after 15 minutes.