Wood­land El­e­men­tary stu­dents take vir­tual trip

First ever Kids Guide to Canada we­b­cast deemed suc­cess

The Compass - - Front page - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@cb­n­com­pass

Grade 6 stu­dents at Wood­land El­e­men­tary in Dildo took time last week to con­nect with fel­low stu­dents from across Canada thanks to a new ed­u­ca­tional pro­gram. Kids Guide to Canada con­nected class­rooms from coast to coast, of­fer­ing a win­dow into the lives of oth­ers via a we­b­cast.

Sixth grade stu­dents at Wood­land El­e­men­tary in Dildo re­cently took part in a new ed­u­ca­tion pro­ject look­ing to change the way chil­dren learn about their coun­try.

Kids Guide to Canada is a pro­ject that con­nects stu­dents all across the coun­try via a live video­cast, which is streamed from in­side the class­rooms of par­tic­i­pat­ing stu­dents.

The first we­b­cast for the pro­ject took place on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, June 14.

Wood­land El­e­men­tary in Dildo was the first and only school in New­found­land to jump on board with the pro­ject right away, and the sixth grade stu­dents there were the first in the prov­ince to catch a glimpse of the ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties the pro­ject of­fers.

Emily Mayne, am­bas­sador for New­found­land for the Kids Guide to Canada pro­ject, said she was very ex­cited for the pro­ject to get started, and was look­ing for­ward to the ben­e­fits it will have for stu­dents in the fu­ture.

“I think this whole idea is re­ally great,” said Mayne. “It’s such a step away from just sit­ting kids down with a book, or read­ing to them about these places and show­ing them a few pic­tures. They get to meet and in­ter­act through the In­ter­net with kids their own age all across the coun­try, and I think that’s re­ally go­ing to have a ma­jor im­pact on the way they learn, and also the way we teach.”

Start­ing at 2 p.m., the we­b­cast be­gan with a Grade 4 class from Van­cou­ver, Bri­tish Columbia, who took turns in­tro­duc­ing them­selves and talk­ing to other stu­dents on the we­b­cast about their prov­ince.

The we­b­cast, which lasted about an hour, saw stu­dents from sev­eral prov­inces fol­low suite, un­til fi­nally reach­ing Wood­land El­e­men­tary, who rep­re­sented New­found­land.

Photos taken by mu­sic teacher Leila Brown were dis­played on the screens of other class­rooms, and stu­dents in Brown’s class ex­plained what each photo was.

At the end of the slideshow, stu­dents pre­pared their in­stru­ments and per­formed “Mus­sels in the Har­bour” as a way to in­tro­duce other stu­dents to New­found­land cul­ture.

“The photos we showed the other classes were all taken by me. Some peo­ple in the coun­try tend to think that our prov­ince is a lit­tle be­hind the times, and it’s not, so I wanted to make that clear to stu­dents with those pic­tures,” ex­plained Brown. “But then, af­ter the pic­tures, of course we still needed to demon­strate what New­found­land cul­ture is all about. When you think of New­found­land cul­ture, of course one of the first things that comes to mind is the arts – mu­sic, per­for­mance, all that. I think it’s im­por­tant that we teach other stu­dents about that as much as we can. That’s why we played “Mus­sels in the Har­bour” for them.”

At the end of the we­b­cast, Mayne said she was very im­pressed with how things turned out, de­spite some clear tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties and time zone is­sues.

“This was the very first time this has been done, and I think that for a first time, it went great,” Mayne said. “There were a few hic­cups here and there, but over­all, I can’t com­plain. This is still a learn­ing process for every­one in­volved, and I think once things get ironed out, it’ll be a re­ally great learn­ing and teach­ing tool.”

Both Mayne and Brown agreed that the tim­ing of the video call was some­thing that could be worked on, as stu­dents at Wood­land El­e­men­tary are dis­missed for the day at 2:40 p.m., leav­ing them with lit­tle time to fit ev­ery­thing in if the we­b­cast starts at 2:00 New­found­land time.

Other tech­ni­cal is­sues were faced dur­ing the we­b­cast, in­clud­ing mi­nor mi­cro­phone is­sues for some schools, and a school in Hal­i­fax be­ing un­able to con­nect to the call prop­erly. “If these were the only is­sues, es­pe­cially on our first run, then I think we’ve got some­thing good go­ing here,” added Mayne.

This we­b­cast was con­sid­ered some­thing of a prac­tice run for the pro­ject, and if all goes well, it will take place in many more schools start­ing in the fall of 2017.

CHRIS LEWIS/THE COMPAS

Grade six stu­dents at Wood­land El­e­men­tary per­form a song for stu­dents across the coun­try via video call.

CHRIS LEWIS/THE COM­PASS

Stu­dents per­formed “Mus­sels in the Har­bour” to help teach other Cana­dian stu­dents about New­found­land’s ties to mu­sic and the arts.

CHRIS LEWIS/THE COM­PASS

El­e­men­tary school stu­dents from Bri­tish Columbia, Ed­mon­ton, Saskatchewan, On­tario, Hal­i­fax, and New­found­land all joined in the very first we­b­cast for the Kids Guide to Canada pro­ject.

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