An amazing visit to Kenya!

Each year our school holds an information evening for prospective parents of year 7 students for 2016. Being a small school, we try to show some of the best aspects of learning at our school. Again, I was asked whether a global connection might be made using skype to demonstrate the ability of technology to break down the barriers of geographical and cultural isolation and take learning beyond the textbook.

Govinda Panthy from Nepal was approached  as the first earthquake was still making headlines in our media.  He was unable to connect as he had an important meeting in Katmandu. Livingstone from Kenya was also asked. Michael Soskil, from the USA.  was visiting with him and they had been actively seeking people to skype with a few days earlier to connect students fom the Cheery School in the biggest slum in Africa but as there was no word from them, Sebastian Panakal, from Kerala, India again kindly consented to skype with us. Just as the first group was about to come into the computer lab, Sebastian warned us that his power may be about to go out and then……. it must have as he immediately went offline!

Video call snapshot 59

Instead, current year 7 students showed some of the global projects that they had been involved in. Fortunately there was a 45 min break as in that time, Livingstone skyped me to say they would be ready for us whenever we were! Student helpers quickly gathered up some objects to share as we were told that the Kenyan students were young and did not speak much English. The Kenyan students attended the HIP academy, a rural school in Kenya.

Video call snapshot 60

As the second group of parents and students entered into the room we called Livingstone on the video camera and commenced with a mystery skype challenge. The prospective students in Hawkesdale posed the following questions that could only have a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question :-

  1. Are you south of the equator? Answer = no, our country covers the equator
  2. Do you have a big rainforest? Answer: no
  3. Do you have lions? Answer: yes
  4. Are you in Africa? Answer: yes
  5. Are you from Kenya? Answer: yes

The sight of the dark coloured faces made it reasonably easy for us to work out where they were from. They worked out where we wer from with some visual clues. They had a paper poster world map to refer to, we had online maps on our computers.

Video call snapshot 61

A young Kenyan girl then taught us swahilli by showing us toy animals that Michael had brought with him to Kenya. She spoke the word in English, then Swahilli, we then had to repeat. She did not move onto the next animal until we pronounced it reasonably well. What a brave effort on this girl’s part as none of these students or teachers had used skype before. Then to our delight, the power of the webcamera was shown, when Michael took Livingstone’s laptop outside and showed us the surrounding countryside. One of the school volunteers then explained about the gardens that they were growing to supply food for the children to eat at lunch – corn, pumpkins etc A donkey could be seen in the distance. The picture was crystal clear and it was as if we were actually there!

Video call snapshot 62

Parents came up to us afterwards to say they had no idea we could even do this! What an amazing introduction to the learning that even small country schools can make on a global scale! A fantastic connection – thanks Livingstone and Michael for making this possible!

Read some about our linkup from Michael’s perspective Adventures in Kenya Series – Day 9 – From Mukuyuni to Nakuru

3 responses to “An amazing visit to Kenya!

  1. I missed such a great lesson!! Thank you Michael Soskil and Livingstone for being there when our friends in OZ needed us..

  2. Dear Anne,

    I have been invited to train a team of Social Entrepreneurs on Thursday 21 May 2015 at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala’s Capital District.

    – Our Prime Minister is eagerly promoting “Make in India” – Kerala Government is keen on digital democracy, empowering the marginalized – I am to train a team of Entrepreneurs ready to empower poor at the bottom of the pyramid

    I should like to invite you and your class to Skype with “Sandesh – Be the Change” learners. The proposed time begins at 10:30 am IST and continues for 4.5 hours (3:00 pm onward your time in Australia). You may connect from your home if that is more convenient..

    They will be eager to meet you; shall pre-introduce you, using your presentation in Feb 2012, at Nanma Learning Centre inauguration by Kerala Chief Minister .

    The attached PDF will trigger your interest..

    Regards

    Sebastian Panakal Wiki Facilitator Chairman, GeoGebra Institute of Kerala Work Value Designer at SNEHOM

  3. annemirtschin

    Hi Sebastian thanks for always being there for us. Technology often fails us too, so we fully understand the frustrations that are exeriences when it does not work. Our students are still at school 3pm your time and we would love to be part of it if it could be arranged during that time. If not would love to try to connect from home, but home can be very unreliable with bandwidth at the moment.
    Unfortunately the pdf file did not work, could you please email it to me. Thanks again Sebastian for being such an amazing contact!

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