Users of Blackboard Collaborate
I am a Kindergarten through 6th grade computer teacher at a small school in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Last year we opened the walls of my classroom by Skyping with other schools in New Zealand, Nepal, and several states in the United States.
This October and November, I will be traveling to South Africa with ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) and People to People as part of the Technology in Education delegation. I would love to be able to have an Elluminate room to use when I contact my students rather than just Skyping. I think the technology is better suited for me to share my experiences and for my students to be able to communicate back with me.
I'd also like to be able to use Elluminate with other schools that we contact throughout the year. Some of the friendships that we made last year will be continued this school year and an Elluminate classroom would make those experiences much better experiences.
I'd like to share one story of our communication with Govinda Prasad Panthy, a man who created his own school in Nepal who was helped by some High School Seniors from Kansas. These students created the Open World Project which raised money for Govinda to purchase computers for his students. Being from the Eastern United States, I was the first person he knew who was on Skype and could talk with him via video chat. He was so excited to be able to share his world with me and I was very excited to share my world with him. A few days after this first official contact, he asked to see more of my lab. Two students made comments that showed how much of a difference opening the walls of our classroom makes. The first student, one who typically refused to participate in classes, asked how we could chat because he understood that they didn't have computers in countries like Nepal. This allowed me to make the point that this was truly an exciting time because these were his first computers. The second student made her comment after we finished our chat. She is one of the students who has the best of everything and upon finishing the chat with Govinda, she turned to me and said, "Ms. Kraft, we really are lucky to have everything that we have."
These are the types of interactions I want to keep happening in my classroom and having an Elluminate classroom will definitely help me enhance any global conversations that we have.