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Many students at T.W. Browne Middle School in Dallas are budding with excitement, and not because of summer nearing around the corner. Teacher Hannah D’Apice and her sixth grade students hosted their first video session with the Sukma Bangsa Schools in Indonesia on April 9th through the School-2-School Program!
The discussions began with some clearing up of nominal issues, such as distinguishing between India and Indonesia and where Indonesia was geographically located. The Skype video session set out with a slow start due to bad connection, so the students moved to a laptop in the teacher’s lounge. Despite the technological difficulties, things became exhilarating once the students started asking questions and their natural curiosity with the unknown showed through. Questions about common things like what kinds of sports do you play or what TV shows do you watch were asked from the Browne students. When they heard that the Indonesian students do not play baseball, the Browne students rushed to the laptop to pick it up and showed the far away students in the screen what the baseball field looks like right outside their window. Hannah also encouraged her students to ask about Indonesia’s government; the Browne students then asked what their police force was like unsurprisingly because that is what they see as government in America. The students on the other end in Indonesia were enjoying the experience as well and asked questions inquiring about student’s names and what they liked to study.
The success of this first video session leaves hope and smiles on the student’s faces as well as Hannah’s. Her students could not sit still during the session as they were bursting with energy and were shouting out different questions. Both sets of students demonstrated curiosity about circumstances that were different than theirs, and even though they were worlds apart, children were able to relate to other children disregarding status or religion. Hannah knows that her students who live just outside of Dallas do not see much else besides their neighborhoods; “to have the opportunity to talk to these students from around the world is a lot to take in, but if this didn’t happen, they wouldn’t have anything like this otherwise.”
Hannah and her students discussed what they learned and enjoyed about the first video session, and to Hannah’s excitement, more of her students all at once became responsible and turned in their permission slips to participate in this wonderful partnership because of the reactions of their peers in class. Overall Hannah believes that S2S is off to a great start, is something that her students can gain much knowledge from, “and is a truly wonderful experience for them.”