Watson Chronicle


Programs for P-12 Students

WCE Elementary Ed Students Participate in Pine Valley Skype-a-thon

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Elizabeth Crawford and 20 undergraduate and MAT students enrolled in elementary education programs at the Watson College participated in the second annual Skype-a-thon at Pine Valley Elementary School (PVES) April 14-15. During the 24-hour program, Pine Valley second, third and fourth graders connected with classrooms all over the world. PVES students also rotated through different global lessons taught by PVES teachers and WCE students.

Skype Master Teacher Beverly Ladd organized the event.

Ladd said the idea for a Skype-a-thon originated when Pine Valley students wanted to Skype with Australian students but were hampered by time zone differences. “I had an a-ha moment,” Ladd said. “I thought, if I can orchestrate a 12-hour time difference in some way, why not make it 24?”

The Skype-a-thon helps Pine Valley students understand large global issues and build empathy for others, Ladd said. As an example, she cited the students’ reaction when an earthquake hit Nepal last spring, just a week after the inaugural PVES event. Students wanted to help, so they created a program called Nickels for Nepal to buy water for the school they had Skyped with, Ladd said.

Associate professor Elizabeth Crawford and WCE Elementary Education students helped students in 10 PVES classes prepare for the 2016 Skype-a-thon by discussing global issues and preparing questions on a range of topics including education, health care and environmental protection.

Students completed 33 Skype sessions with 37 classes in 24 hours before the event came to an end at 6 a.m. on April 15. The Skype-a-thon countries included Saudi Arabia, Iceland, Kuwait, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Ecuador, Mexico, Canada, Venezuela, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, Vietnam, China, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Hungary, Spain, Iceland and Serbia. Students also connected with classrooms in California, Tennessee and Hawaii.

During the day, classes participating in the Skype-a-thon also rotated through PVES classrooms learning about a range of global issues through lessons and activities taught by teachers at Pine Valley and WCE students.

Lesson plans developed by Watson College students focused on environmental sustainability and endangered species, Crawford said. During the Skype-a-thon rotation, they shared lessons and activities about sea turtles, the declining bee population and endangered Asian and African elephants with the PVES students.

The Skype-a-thon event gives young children an opportunity to learn about important global issues and to discuss them with peers around the world, Ladd said. “The cultural exchanges that occur when the students are Skyping are priceless.”

Photos by Hilary Snow at PortCityDaily: http://portcitydaily.com/2016/04/15/world-meet-classroom-pine-valley-elementary-holds-24-hour-global-skype-event/