A project through which St. Libory School fourth-graders told students in an American school in Bahrain, as well as Gibbon and Cedar Hollow School, about Nebraska subjects, from sandhill cranes to Kool-Aid Days, Husker football and Native American tribes, is truly impressive.
And it starts us thinking about how this could be a great learning experience for children in every state in our country if they were able to interact in this way through the wonders of the internet. Students in Alabama could tell Nebraska children a lot about the fight for civil rights in their state. Students in New Mexico or Arizona could tell students in Minnesota about life in the desert.
At St. Libory, Katie Pfanstiel’s students used a webcam in their classroom to present slides and information about life in Nebraska through their “Connecting Nebraska: The Good Life” project.
The students has been working on gathering the information since October, so they have learned a lot about their own state. But now, because they were able to share what they have learned online, more students have learned about the good life in Nebraska.
Education has been transformed by the use of technology in our classrooms and it seems like the sky is the limit for what can be done as technological advances continue to be adapted right here in Nebraska.
Pfanstiel said the project got her students excited about learning. The students in Bahrain were probably excited about the virtual visit by Nebraska students, as well.
The St. Libory teacher noted that the project fit in with the state standards for what her students should be learning about their home state.
It also widened their horizons as they learned where Bahrain is and that there are American students there who are interested in learning about life in Nebraska.
Heather Callihan, technology integrationist for Northwest Public Schools, set up the webcam so that the St. Libory students could make their virtual connection. She noted that last year she worked with sixth-grade teachers on connecting with students in Alaska after the local students read a book about dog sledding.
The possibilities are endless now that technology is breaking down the barriers that once kept students in Nebraska and Maine apart.