Government primary school children have been talking to each other and to their counterparts in Bermuda and Seattle by video conferencing.
Thanks to the efforts of Information & Communications Technology Peripatetic Teachers, Keisha Thompson and Brendan Smith, children were given the opportunity to speak to other students at other primary school sites and ask questions of common interest.
This was done, not with expensive video conferencing equipment, but with a webcam, microphone, multimedia projector and external speakers, said a press release from the school.
The webcam enabled the students to see and speak to each other and the projector and speakers were used for whole class comfort.
‘It was kind of fun talking to the students in Bermuda,’ said Alexandria Forbes, a Year 5 student at North Side Primary. ‘I don’t know anyone from Bermuda and this was a nice experience. I learnt a lot about their country and I didn’t even go there!’
Mr. Smith commented that ‘the exercise really opened students’ and teachers’ eyes to different possibilities for technology in the classroom.
‘Some students have webcams at home, but have never seen the potential of them as tools for learning about other countries.’
Ms Thompson said ‘Information & Communication Technology is taught in primary schools to bring across more life and substance to other curriculum subject areas. In our primary schools, pupils are taught to use ICT skills, such as using digital cameras, productivity tools, the Internet, and scanners, to find, exchange and present information creatively.’
Education Officer for ICT, Fred Speirs, congratulated the teachers on their initiative. ‘It would be nice if the ITALIC project could provide two or three webcams for each school. Keisha and Brendan have demonstrated that, for a small outlay, alternative technologies can be used to make the curriculum more interesting and meaningful.
‘Even at the local level, Year 6 children from different schools can be meeting and talking to each other long before they come together in secondary school. The next step should be to establish links among the three Cayman Islands.’