Embarking on an International Adventure via Skype

As I tossed and turned the night before our Skype with India, I was filled with excitement and questions:  would my students arrive on time at 5:45 am?  What are the chances that high school students will voluntarily come to school this early?  Will Skype connect two classrooms worlds away?  What are the chances that technology lines up, that satellites are navigating the sky to connect us, and that computer modules work within both of our schools?  I finally decided, stop wondering and go!

As I pulled up to the entrance of school I saw eight students standing outside.  Then seven more students were dropped off  by dedicated parents who also were willing to wake at this beyond break of dawn hour to drop their kids off.  I was now ready and excited!

Lit by our cell phones in dark hallways, we found our way to the classroom.  I remarked that we should be singing Mission Impossible while we walked.  One student said “this is fun” and another said “this is spooky” as we walked down the darkest hall to our room.

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The early birds just after being let in by the custodian..waiting for the rest to arrive

 

Now to see if we would be able to connect with Taljit’s classroom in India. I connected my laptop to our station and synced with Skype. Suddenly that wonderful tone began ringing from Skype showing dots of connection as it wirelessly connected us from  The United States to India.  It worked!  We connected and said hello….and then the call dropped!  This was actually a welcome break in our action as my students had donuts and croissants and muffins that they were eager to eat for breakfast.  What is a technology event without some technical difficulties???  Navigating through the challenges is half the fun.

Within 10 minutes our call was re-established due to the genius work on the technology departments behalf at Taljit Kaur’s school, Rayat International School.  We then Skyped for just over an hour with zero interruptions.   The stars had aligned and we were off on our incredible journey across the world.

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Taljit Kaur and her classroom via Skype

The goal of my club, FM (Fayetteville-Manlius) International, was to find ways to help students with technology needs at Taljit Kaur’s school.  We walked away with a conversation that covered education, technology, culture, and favorites in school.  We met for just over an hour.  This call was one in which the students did not want to stop talking…not a bad thing.

As a result of our call, FM International club is having a bake sale on Wednesday and Thursday of next week to prepare to raise funds to make connections for Talit’s classroom and school, Rayat International School.  The students enjoyed having a face to face meeting with Taljit’s class and even talked about desires to visit each other’s schools in the future.  Taljit’s principal joined in on the conversation, a real honor.   I am honored to have met Taljit and her students as we have been connecting via the Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert program through Microsoft in Education.  The MIE professional learning network is the best on the planet, as evidenced by interactions like this one.

I found during this international adventure that I was both terrified and excited as the journey approached.  I thought, this is a huge risk…but I am willing to take it for the students.  We had the most inspirational morning!

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Students celebrating their success with a breakfast party!

This is an international approach I take for teaching from a 360 degree view.

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