NECC Session: Global VOICES – from July 7

Global VOICES : Videoconferencing Opportunities, Information and Cultural Encounters

Jody Kennedy
Friday, July 7 – 2:30-3:30

In spite of the late hour of the conference on the last day, this session was well attended by a variety of other educators. Jody Kennedy invited five of her colleagues to co-present with her to provide a better scope of the Global VOICES presentation. Jody was well supported with a bevy of her own administrators attending this session.

She first related how initially her school was open to using new technologies to teach and was just getting comfortable with this when the tragic events of 9/11 took place. They realized that these technologies afforded the opportunities to explore making connections globally with other students around the world.

Jody wanted to explore the use of video conferencing with other schools but had several hurdles that thwarted her attempts to make this happen. Some of these hurdles include lack of funds, lack of resources, safety issues, and especially meeting curriculum standards. She invited a number of similarly-minded “players” – people who had the connections to make a video conference happen. Many teachers and subject matter experts cooperated and collaborated in order to achieve the goals of the project.

A significant attempt was made to create an inter-disciplinary cross-curricular project. Her vision is to provide global citizenship opportunities by inviting 10 schools from around the world to participate in the global run. Students clocked their steps and miles during the month of October. Once the data was collected, it was passed on to the math classes to be interpreted mathematically and build mathematical skills. The students wrote informational essays about the culture they were matched with. Money raised from the walk was sent to a needy village in Kenya. A new school was built there with the funds raised.

Jody presented a video that documents the development of the project for every month of the project with the culminating footage on the school in Kenya that was built from the funds raised.

This is clearly an amazing project that shows what vision, passion, persistence, collaboration and availability of technology tools can do to bring an exceptional learning opportunity to students in many different cultures. Audience members of the session were impressed with the complex learning situations this project provided.

In 2004, a non-profit consortium was created to assist this program. Each partner contributed their unique skills to help the project achieve its goals.

The slogan of this project was Global Run Project: Taking steps to support the Millenium Development goals.

The sponsors Tandberg and the Rotary Club pitched in one dollar for each mile that the students walked. The Rotary Club already had the relationship with the village in Kenya so this provided the immediate conduit to the partners.

Next year, they want to partner with many other schools for a similar project.

DVDs of the video that was created to describe and chronicle the project was made available to the session participants.

One of the major partners for this project was Global Education Motivators – another portal for global collaborative partnerships.

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