Making connections: trying to understand other people’s lives and cultures

I feel that the power of the internet to bring people together is immense. When I look back over the years that I have been teaching I know that twenty years back there was no real possibility of communicating with the school down the road no mind being able to talk and see children from across a town, a state or county, a country or indeed anywhere in the world!

I have written in an earlier post about my enthusiasm for the “Flat Classroom Project” which is seeking to bring together pupils from around the world to collaborate with each other and also, very importantly to try and understand each other.

This week I came across two excellent examples of this.The video is a Skype communication between children from a Jewish school and children from a Muslim school in the United States.In it you will see the fact that the children are making an attempt to understand each other’s way of life and gain an appreciation and respect for each other.

In a podcast from the BBC in their series “School Reports” we hear children from a school in Bristol, S.W. England talking to children from Kabul, capital of war-torn Afghanistan.It is a brilliant example of children trying to understand each other’s lives. It is very moving in parts because you can begin to hear how much of an impact the dangers faced in just trying to go to school are for the children in Bristol who certainly take their schooling for granted.It can be accessed on: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/school_report/8549339.stm

Both the video and the podcast show the immense power that the internet has given us as educators to really begin to make an impact on our children’s understanding of the world. I know that the internet has a lot of detractors and that it harbours many many dangers for children, but it also has the chance to bring them together as “world citizens” and begin to break down age-old barriers that we humans have erected over centuries of mistrust and misunderstanding.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Around the World with 80 Schools“, posted with vodpod
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One thought on “Making connections: trying to understand other people’s lives and cultures

  1. I work in the Cambridge Public Schools, where we take diversity in stride because it’s everywhere. I’m glad I’m in a place where I don’t have to Skype to have students meet people with different backgrounds. But I’m glad there’s an effort to get to know people from other cultures in areas that aren’t as diverse.

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