by Karina Batat, Maja Seguljev, and Ngo Thanh Nam
Expert Educator Columnists
Three Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts from Israel, Serbia, and Vietnam collaborated to link their classrooms and students through Skype and work together on a traffic safety project. Read the full story from each of their perspectives below!
Karina Batat, Israel
I’m Karina Batat and I’m a teacher at Gordon Primary School in Petah Tikva, Israel. We joined the Project in November. Everything started with Nam’s post at the Microsoft Expert Educator Facebook Group. Nam was searching for partners and I jumped on his offer. I’ve been leading collaborative projects since 2009 (The Travelling Mascott Project) so I’m aware of the great benefits of this global project to both students and teachers, combining the wise use of ICT, collaboration and communication.
In Israel, traffic safety is included in the curriculum and 5th grade students learn about the subject 2 hours a week and explore in-depth the subject of crossing the road, both its theoretical and practical aspects. In 6th grade, they stand in major intersections around the school to help young students cross the street safely.
For the first time, I’m teaching traffic safety integrating ICT within a global collaboration project. After I read Nam’s description I found it very relevant to my students and thought it would be empowering for them to share data (by a shared OneNote), experiences and products (creating photo collages, Kodu games and short movies on Moviemaker) with students from around the world.
We already met with our partners through Skype and the online meeting was inspiring! Students saw, heard, and talked with our partners from around the world (see Sway). They discovered differences and similarities. They were anxious to see the presentations of the other partners and since the end of the meeting they’ve been looking forward to the next meeting.
I believe that today we need to engage students ; we need to motivate them to learning, and one effective way to do it is to deal with daily questions and problems integrating ICT and on a global level and that’s exactly what the “We Are Little Volunteers” project does.
From my point of view, the project will lead to students increasing their traffic safety awareness, as well build a commitment to disseminate the subject to the community. I feel very lucky to have taken part in this project and I want thank my partners, Nam and Maja for the opportunity to innovate together. I also want to thank my students for being so enthusiastic about the whole project and my principal Rachel Berman for the trust, openness and partnership.
Petach Tikva, Israel
Maja Seguljev, Serbia
International cooperation in education is an outstanding challenge. It encourages curiosity, enhances motivation and launches research spirit. At the same time ,it expands the boundaries of the project and reduces the historical, linguistic, and cultural barriers. Incredibly, even a bad internet connection had exceptional advantages: curiosity, excitement and motivation of students and teachers increased significantly, perhaps even more than when the class was perfect. Students had inquired about the customs, life, history, and geographical characteristics of countries with which we collaborate. An opportunity to work with someone so far motivated students and, suddenly, the students had a whole series of new ideas, they wanted to do more, better, to meet their friends, and expand their knowledge. They wanted to learn and pass on their experiences to others. I cannot wait until the next Skype class with our friends from Vietnam and Israel. Thanks to Microsoft, it has become possible.
They decided to show what they learned to the students of the first grade. As a teacher, I am delighted to work with wonderful teachers from other countries, on another continent. The challenge of making a project better creates better professional cooperation. High motivation creates realization of good ideas. This enthusiasm and motivation influences my students, as well. They work harder, better, and more creatively. Although I had fears about different technical conditions of our schools, I felt really great and honored when I received the professional support of Ms. Karina. Mr. Nam takes care of every detail of his project and of the people who participate in it. In such circumstances, we cannot work in any other way but the best. I am sure we will continue our collaboration on other projects, or with other teachers in the coming years. Thank you for the opportunity!
M.Sc. Maja Andjelković Šeguljev
Belgrade, Republic of Serbia
Primary school, “Jelena Ćetkovi”
Ngo Thanh Nam, Vietnam
My name’s Ngo Thanh Nam, and I’m a grade 5 teacher at Vietnam-Australia international school in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam.
I love applying technology to my teaching, which effectively benefits as well as generates my creativity, as well as my students’. I once participated in the “creative teachers” contest in Vietnam and luckily came first with the project “We are Little Volunteers”.
After the event, I not only understood more about the importance of technology in teaching but also realized that cooperation, especially with teachers from other countries, brings an amazing benefit. In the process of developing the project, I’ve had the great fortune of collaborating with Ms. Karina and Ms. Maja. It comes to my awareness that traffic safety is not only a great concern in Vietnam but also in other countries, which is why I believe my project is only getting started will be complete when I can work with other teachers from around the world. It’s a pleasure and a great chance to receive the kind support of Ms Karina and Ms Maja.
This experience not only provides me with a precious view of teaching development but it also assists my students in mastering their 21st century skills; they can better understand the social and cultural features of other countries. This is my first time implementing a global project but I’m greatly inspired.
My sincere thanks to Microsoft for organizing a professional environment so that we can have a good opportunity to work together. I also want to thank Ms Nhi Le, Faith Root Recruitment, Vietnam, and Ms Quyen To, MIE fellow, for your great support.
Blog for global project: http://namngovas.wordpress.com/
Mr. Nam’s student: I feel terrific when I can be a part of Mr Nam’s project, together with Ms Karina and Ms Maja. It’s my first time to learn and share things with friends from other countries. The first online host via Skype was amazing. Thank you teachers for engaging us in such an interesting project. I’m looking forward to more upcoming plans in near future.
Linh Nguyen Ta Khanh (Mr Nam’s student)
Vietnam Australia International School
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam