Video conferencing unites high schools in reading discussions

Tuesday, November 15 2011

Young students have reaped the benefits of video conferencing in the classroom. One top-ranked school in Vermont has used video conferencing in its curriculum, particularly in their reading and discussion of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

The grade nine English class at Montpelier High School set up video conferences with two other classes at different schools - another grade nine English class at a school in Vermont, and a correctional facility in Alabama for young teens.

The Montpelier students first engaged in conversation with the Vermont school, finding much in common and sharing similar views about the book and the topic of racism, particularly how they both have had little personal experience with prejudice.

The students in Alabama brought a contrasting viewpoint to the discussion, enlightening the Vermont students about the casualness of racism in their area and their own personal experience with it in disciplinary settings. Both classrooms learned about the norms of society in a part of the country that they had never visited before and discovered that not everyone has the same life experiences as they do.

While students cannot pick up their backpacks and travel to another state every week, they can meet with other schools via the internet. Video conferencing can help young students like Montpelier's gain a well-rounded perspective of the world.