For the second year now, one of our classes has participated in the 24-hour Skype marathon hosted by Beverly Ladd and her Grade 2 students from Pine View Elementary in Wilmington, North Carolina, USA. This year it was the turn of the Grade 5 Pelicans class and as before, it was a huge success!
Beverly started planning this all months ago – I received an email from her in October last year already, and once I had identified a class to participate in the Skype marathon (Skypathon). We were tasked with some preparation too. Out students had to prepare answers to some very thought-provoking questions, and this is where true learning came in. Not only were we going to learn about a class in a country on a continent thousands of kilometres away, but in preparation we were learning about our own community too. The questions posed by Beverly’s class were:
- How do students at your school get health care, education, and access to clean water in your community or country?
- What are the needs or wants of students in your school or local community? How can they be solved in a month from now, a year from now, or twenty years from now? (An example would be fundraiser to help cure diseases.)
- Does your community or school receive support from any groups or individuals (i.e. school supplies, volunteers, financial support, etc.)? How does this make your community or school a better place.
- What do students at your school do to help protect the Earth? What could students at your school to make a greater impact?
- How can we positively take action and make decisions that support and nurture our environment and animals?
- What other global issues affect your school/community/country and how can you make a difference now and in the future?
- Teach or show something that is unique or special about your culture or your state/country that others should know.
On the day we were blessed with a crystal clear connection – even the visuals were clear. We were very thankful for our upgraded, fast and efficient fibre internet connection. We took turns to share the answers to our questions. We were interested to learn that their communities face many similar challenges as the communities here in our area, such as poverty and homelessness. We found it interesting that they have doctors and nurses at their schools so they can get medical care there, if necessary.
A highlight for us was when the US students sang their National Anthem for us. It was very moving – especially since they were about 20 hours into their 24-hour marathon!
Click on the image to view the video:
Our students greeted the US students in all 11 official languages and then two of our girls showed them what traditional Zulu dress looks like.
I am now being pressured by our students to host our own Skype marathon, but I’m not sure if I’m up for a 24-hour stint. Twelve hours seems a good starting point. Watch this space!
A huge thanks to Beverly and her students for a very fruitful experience. They had some very tired little bodies, but it was wonderful to experience learning across the miles and around the globe!
Here are some more photos taken from our side: