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Sweden, are you there?

BCLUW class connects to students overseas

October 13, 2010
By ANDREW POTTER, TIMES-REPUBLICAN

CONRAD - Students in a literature class at BCLUW High School connected to students across the world Tuesday morning. The group used Skype video conferencing to connect with a classroom in Sweden as part of a study on Existentialism.

Shaelynn Farnsworth teaches the class at BCLUW and made a connection with the teacher in Sweden, John Noonan, through Twitter to have him teach a lesson to her class.

The two teachers then decided to connect both classrooms and get them involved in a project together. Like BCLUW, the International School of Helsingborg in Sweden also has a program where every student is provided their own laptop computer, which has made it easy for the students to interact.

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Before the project could start, they had to have their first online meeting, which occurred Tuesday morning in Conrad, which was Tuesday night in Sweden.

The class in Sweden wanted the BCLUW class to sing "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey to them as an icebreaker. The students at the international school waved their arms during the song and gave a loud applause to the BCLUW students when they were finished.

"This is cool," said BCLUW senior Eli Odle.

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T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Students in a BCLUW High School literature class talk with students in a high school in Sweden via video conferencing through computers Tuesday at the school. The students include, front row, from left. McKinly Springer, Eli Odle and Tyler Critchfield. Second row, Mackenzie Nash, Shannon McCoy, Hannah Caster, Kristine Schossow and Jesse Switzer. Behind the students is BCLUW teacher Shaelynn Farnsworth.

Odle compared the experience to what the future was imagined to be like in movies decades ago where people were talking via video.

"It's kind of cool to see us walking into the future," he said.

This was the first web chat the two classes have made though they have been making connections over the past several weeks on social networking sites.

"We just talk about everyday stuff," said BCLUW senior Kristine Schossow.

Farnsworth said it has been fun to see the students learn about each other.

"They are finding out they are more alike than different," she said.

It seemed the excitement level of the online meeting was just as high in Sweden.

"One of our students referred to this project as the classroom of the future and was very excited to be part of what many considered to be a groundbreaking project," Noonan said. "It is certainly very exciting for our students to meet 'face to face' with the students at BCLUW after a number of exchanges on Twitter and via blogs and they are very keen to pursue this."

The classes will continue to interact in the next few weeks even debating each other as part of the project. The international school's class has students from Sweden, Italy, France and several other countries.

"The project has already exceeded expectations and the students are looking forward to future connections and the final project," Farnsworth said.

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Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or apotter@timesrepublican.com

 
 

 

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