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Videoconferencing up 500 percent at SMES

2 September 2010 admin 1,320 views No Comment Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

VideoconferencingThe use of videoconferencing in St. Margaret’s classrooms was up 500 percent from the 2008-2009 school year! The 2009-2010 school year was St. Margaret’s second year with videoconferencing capabilities; the teachers and staff embraced the new technology allowing students numerous distance learning opportunities.

“Videoconferencing at St. Margaret’s has opened up our classrooms to the world,” said Library Director, Darla Magaña. “The difference between reading about the Holocaust in a textbook and talking to someone who liberated Jews from Dachau concentration camp is an incomparable learning difference. To stay true to our focus of educating global learners, we need to let our global society into our students’ learning. At this point, the easiest way to do that is through videoconferencing.”

Below is a list of videoconferences that students participated in throughout the 2009-2010 school year:

  • Grade 9 world history students met with Marcela Gaviria, journalist, award-winning filmmaker and PBS documentarian, and students from other high schools, to discuss the challenges facing U.S. troops in the Middle East
  • Grade 6 students met with an archaeologist in Israel
  • Grade 5 students met with a Rabbi in Israel to discuss Jewish customs
  • Physiology students watched a live knee replacement
  • Physiology students watched an autopsy and then went back to the classroom to view tissue slides and ultimately assess the patient’s cause of death
  • Grade 3 students had a visit by Laurie Keller, an award-winning author of the book “Do Unto Otters”
  • Grade 4 and 5 reading club (BOB) students met award-winning author, Linda Urban who spoke about her book “A Crooked Kind of Perfect”
  • Grade 5 students met with award-winning author, Andrew Clements, a very prolific and loved writer who talked about his writing process
  • Grade 4 students visited with their penpal “buddies” in Texas to discuss hobbies and other things they had in common
  • Grade 7 students interviewed Andrea White, author of their summer reading assignment, “Surviving Antarctica”
  • Actors from St. Margaret’s fall performance, “Children of a Lesser God,” met with their sign language coach to practice their lines
  • World history students met with a veteran of D-Day
  • American history students had a discussion with the son of a man who walked with the Little Rock Nine on the first day of school
  • World history students spoke with a soldier who liberated Dachau concentration camp
  • Constitutional law students spoke with one of America’s most censored authors, Chris Crutcher;  each student read a different book by him, all of which have been banned somewhere in America

“We’re looking forward to another year of this amazing technology and what it can do to assist in the education of our students,” said Mrs. Magaña. “We hope to encourage our students to interact more and more with other learners throughout the world. I love that videoconferencing allows us to meet with experts and gain first-hand knowledge and collaboration beyond the walls of our classrooms.”

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