I've just begun working with a school in rural Texas that was designated as "profoundly rural" by a grant giving museum. We all had a bit of a giggle on that description but it is a small school with 120 students in grades K-8 surrounded by ranches and farms. All of the teachers started last school year with INTEL Essentials and have success stories to share but recently we started working on reaching further than the classroom and have been looking for good video conference opportunities. Late in December several grades watched the "Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas" program from the Cowgirl Museum in Fort Worth and just last week the sixth graders rescued some astronauts on a space station bombarded by a solar storm during their e-Mission with the Challenger Learning Center in Wheeling, WV. We have some grade a-like meetings scheduled to talk to teachers in other small schools coming up and are planning for the students to make connections around the globe. Because of an unanticipated trip to Alaska next week, I'll be communicating with them via a video conference on my Android tablet! Looking forward to "sharing" the cold with the students in Texas! Knwoing that communication for these students will be more and more flexible and rich to more and more remote places, we are trying to help them build the skill set they need to have meaningful, respectful dialog using today and, hopefully, tomorrow's technology.
Carol, what a fabulous demonstration you are involving the school in! I'm in northern Arizona, with many schools I would classify as "profoundly rural" so I know what that's like. Unfortunately that situation often comes with a lack of bandwidth. Videoconferencing is going to take off here in AZ within the next year as we are all going to be able to join a new network created for schools and libraries with 100 mb connectivity! I am really looking forward to breaking these schools out of their little worlds and connecting them with the rest of the world!
Thanks for sharing your project! With Common core standards, we ought to be able to connect for lessons more and more!