Classrooms go global with video conferencing

Tuesday, January 31 2012

Organizations such as My Culture Connect and the Flat Classroom project are encouraging schools to break down cultural barriers and engage with students in faraway classrooms through video conferencing. With just an internet connection and a computer, schools can use web conferencing services to attend live meetings with international students from the comfort of their classroom.

My Culture Connect is a nonprofit Taiwanese organization that uses video conferencing to bring English speakers into classrooms for a cross-cultural learning experience. At De Soto Middle School, students in Wisconsin learned to count to ten in Mandarin and write the numbers in traditional Chinese characters during a video conference arranged through My Culture Connect, reported the LaCrosse Tribune. 

Students at South Plantation High School in South Florida have used video conferencing technology to participate in global events. Freshmen connected with Egyptian students and journalists for the announcement that President Mubarak was stepping down, according to Education Week. They have also used the services to hold national educational video conferences for schools across the country about relief efforts following the Haitian earthquake. 

The Flat Classroom project challenges middle and high schools to invest in video conferencing services that will allow classes to collaborate with international students and become globally minded.