On Thursday evening, my online colleague Reinhard Marx invited me to his first day with a year 7 Science class at Staedtische Realschule Sundern, to say hello for the new school year in Germany. What a great idea! Giving students a global introduction from day one and providing them with a glimpse that this is to be no ordinary classroom.
It was a brief skype videoconference call, where those students who wished to, came up and introduced themselves to me and shared conversations. My question generally required a simple answer, as English is not their first language. It was “Where did you go for the holidays?”. The answers really interested me as I love travelling and two students had actually been to Greece from where I have just come.
Why do this?
- immediately introduces them to the global classroom where learning can take place and be shared, beyond classroom walls.
- introduces students to new ways of communication in this 21st century – videoconferencing using tools such as skype – a popular communication and connection tool and increasingly used in the workplace.
- exposes students to different accents and ways of talking
- pushes them beyond their comfort zone – it is never easy initially speaking to someone from another country and place
- encourages them to communicate effectively and articulately
- shows them that they may need to use both text chat and audio to ensure names are understood and the actual conversation
- exposes them to different countries, cultures and time zones
- provides me with an opportunity to introduce myself and encourage ongoing connections for further teaching and learning.
- accentuates the differing nature of the world – my classes are nearly finished term 3 of four terms of the current school year compared to their new school year.
Thanks Reinhard for allowing me the opportunity to welcome them to their new school year. All the best! Have you had the opportunity to welcome students to their school year? Do you think that this is a good idea?