International Gems

So today I went back to the Poster Sessions and the Global Gallery, and found a couple more great VC projects!

The first was Professor Dr. Reima Sado Al-Jarf from King Saud University in Saudia Arabia. She is a professor of ELT and Translation. She shared pictures of their videoconference classrooms and how they are connecting three campuses of the university together in maximize access to instructors. Two of the campuses are for female students and the other one is for male students. I’m so intrigued by how the technology is partially breaking down a traditional barrier, in a way that extends access to instruction to all students, while keeping within the cultural distinction between men & women. It’s very interesting to see how different cultures adapt a technology or communication tool to their specific needs. We had a wonderful conversation about the various uses of videoconferencing in the curriculum.

Next I came around the other side of the table to see videoconferencing from Alberta, presented by Karen Andrews, VC Program Coordinator for the Alberta Education department. Clearly Alberta is doing some very creative things with videoconferencing! Check out their province VC website at Some stories included:

  • Connecting students with the Ontario Science Center, where students sent their DNA (with permission) to a scientist who discussed the various aspects of DNA related science.
  • Two social studies teachers in Alberta and Ontario connected to Gwen Dyer (sp?) a famous British journalist to discuss the origins of the Mid East conflict so they could help their students understand current events.
  • Connecting 5th grade students, along with their high school mentors, to a famous Canadian artist, Robert Bateman, to learn drawing tips & tricks.
  • Connecting students to a Mars scientist from the Canadian Space Agency.
  • Connecting Calgary students to an expert on Ancient Greece in Toronto with the 12th grade students at her site and discussing the content.
  • Doing “Math Improv” with two high schools and two college math professors. The high school students give each other real-world problems and try to solve them with tips from the professors.

In addition, in the fall they will publish a series of videos on their website to teach VC etiquette etc. This will be a great addition to the VC community.

Plus, best of all, they are doing a huge research project on VC using the Community of Practice Research Model and the results will also be published in the fall.

What a lot I learned from this little poster session!!!!

Now off to fly home. A great conference and I learned lots!


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