My students video chatted with people in three different time zones today. No big deal, right? Just a few clicks, and that’s the power of the internet.
Here’s how we did it. Yesterday, I realized that I didn’t have a guest speaker lined up for our Wednesday Speaker Series this week. During our world geography unit, we have weekly visitors talk about different cultures and places around the world — our last fabulous speaker, for example, was Manny’s dad who is originally from Portugal.
So, I went to social media and wrote a quick post — “Looking for someone who is from a country in Europe, Asia, or Australia (or has spent time abroad) and wants to be a guest speaker tomorrow from 1-3 pm EST… My 5th and 6th graders would love to hear from you!”
The responses came streaming in. It turns out that one of my buddies from middle school works in Spain. A college student who came on my China trip offered to speak about the Netherlands, where she is from. Other old friends linked me to their friends in Ukraine, Japan, Australia, and Germany.
In the end, we got to jump ahead in space and time… with three different “visitors” on Skype:
- We leaped 5 hours ahead to Ireland, where my balloon twisting buddy Victor told us about all the green in the Irish landscapes and the payoff– lots of rain.
- We leaped 6 hours ahead to Switzerland, where my old camp friend Nicole taught my students about the safety of the Swiss countryside and the ways that the locals make use of the Alps. Our mouths watered as we imagined tasting all those cheeses and touring the chocolate factories.
- We leaped 7 hours ahead to Istanbul, Turkey, where my sister’s old penpal, Ceyda, explained about interesting topics like history of the Ottoman Empire and Muslim hospitality… and also introduced us to her adorable kitten.
It ended up being a fabulous “guest speaker” day getting to travel around the world. This probably wouldn’t have been possible 10 years ago, so what will education look like 10 years from now? My mind is already blown.
Note: Big thanks to all our fabulous guests who helped out today: Victor, Nicole, and Ceyda! I’m so grateful that you are all part of my global community.