Talk of the School …. but, no, not our school, Hawkesdale P12 College in Australia, but Yeh Wah International Education School of Yantai, Shandong. Following is a comment within an email from David Deeds, a teacher at this school, after an exciting Skype linkup.
Paul (Chinese computer teacher) and students had a great face-to-face Monday. It’s the talk of the school.😉
After several test linkups between teachers, using skype, and finding that it was not always stable and bandwidth not always reliable, it was decided to connect our year 7 students with a combined year 7 class in Yeh Wah International Education School. Their students are predominantly Chinese with some Korean, Japanese and other Asian students.
In the past, China has been one of the most difficult of countries to directly connect with, so it was with some nervousness that the video call was made. Problems with my laptop, the need to restart it etc meant that all the pre-setup of audio and video was lost. This took some minutes to rectify but once the Chinese students could see us, there were the sounds of great excitement and interest amongst the Chinese students. This excitement was a little difficult to contain at times and made hearing and listening challenging at times.
How the 45 minute connection looked:-
- our students introduced themselves with both their Chinese and English names using printouts to display to the webcam.
- several Chinese students introduced themselves. Much to the delight of Jess in my class, there was a Jessica in the Chinese class.
- We showed a lamington (cake), vegemite, aussie rules footy, cricket and basketball. Emerson showed a picture of a horse as she loves horse riding.
- They showed us some of their current magazines, including their games magazines
- Immediately, one of my boys went to the staff room, grabbed a newspaper and showed it.
- After Emerson showed her picture of the horse, one of the Chinese girls brought her phone to the camera and showed us her pet dog. We asked how many in their class had dogs and only she had one. Everyone in my class had a pet dog. However many on both sides had a cat for a pet. Immediately, one of the Chinese girls shared a pic of her dog using her mobile phone.
- They wanted to know what we do in our spare time.
- We wanted to know how many students were in their class – 16 boys and 19 girls.
To finish the class, we took a selfie for the records.
No formal structure had been planned for the connection, but each country had some objects to share and show and my students had printed their names on an A4 sheet of paper in both English and Pinyin. However it worked remarkably well. There was lively chatter at times due to the excitement. Students made the most of spontaneous learning by showing pics on their mobile phones to share over the webcamera.
Following are some of the responses from students re “Why they enjoyed the skype linkup!”
Tim: I think that it is a good way to learn about China because they live in China and they can also speak English so we can ask them questions. It was cool to talk to people from far away in a different time zone.
Abbey: I enjoy it because we get to talk to the country (and language) that we learn about at school.
Clem: i enjoyed the skype with china it was some times hard to understand them but it was fun
Emmerson:I enjoyed this session because we got to link up with kids the same age as us and they lived in a different country. I think this is a good way to learn about China because we get to learn new facts about the country from people that live in china.
Georja: I really enjoyed our link up and hope to do it again because it was good as we also learn Chinese at our school.
Jess: My favourite part of the link up was learning that there was another Jess in that year seven class.
Jack: the session was fun because we got to learn about their school and their lifestyle. it is a good way to learn about china because they can tell us in person if it is right or wrong.
I learned that all of the class have phones and not very many of them have pets which I find odd bacause everybody in my class have at least one pet.
Milla: I really enjoyed the link up because it was really interesting to see the difference between them and us eg the technology. They had macbooks and everyone had a mobile phone. Some had iPads. Yet, we also had similarities eg magazines, pets, liked playing video games.
Read student blog posts summarizing the learning
Tim Skype with China
EmmersonThe linkup with China
Jess Link Up in China