This week saw the culmination of a series of videoconference dialogs between students at Parkway North and Normandy High Schools when the two groups met face to face. Twenty-five Parkway North students in Scott Moeller’s government class took a bus to Normandy High School to meet the students they had been talking to for the past semester over videoconference. They took a tour of Normandy High School and sat down to a lunch prepared by Normandy’s culinary students. The students talked to wrap up the semester-long project that focused on the student transfer program from unaccredited districts and what effect it had on them.
Distance Learning Brings Students Together
The program was conceived, initiated and implemented by EducationPlus. After going through the student transfer program last August, Martha Bogart of EducationPlus and Ed Wright, a retired social studies teacher, discussed talking to the students about the process and what impact the transfers were having on them. Normandy and Parkway agreed to take part, and a series of videoconference dialogs started. The objectives of the program were for the students to research the background of the school accreditation process and the current transfer program, including national and Missouri state educational policy and evaluate and summarize school accreditation from all perspectives. The students also discussed stereotypes that each group had about the other and tried to formulate a solution about how to keep the Normandy School District from “lapsing,” or being disbanded.
The Parkway students were impressed with the auditorium and the state-of-the-art fitness room at Normandy, and one budding chef was jealous of the culinary program, as Parkway North does not have such a program. Another Parkway student suggested having the Normandy students visit their school.
This type of videoconferencing dialog program is not new to EducationPlus. Several years ago we conducted a series moderated by a facilitator from the National Conference for Community and Justice, on race and racism with area high schools. We also conducted a series of videoconference dialogs between local high schools and a high school in Jerusalem, Israel. One of the most touching dialogs was with Iraqi students both before and after the Iraq War.
EducationPlus is always studying education issues and trying to help shed light on important issues in our field in order to reach solutions. If you have an idea for further dialogs with students, let us know. We are here to serve you and the needs of the educational community.