Impact of Remote Connections  

March 15, 2016

We don’t even think twice anymore about connecting with friends and family using Skype, Facetime, or Hangouts. It’s becoming second nature to us. And it’s something our younger generation doesn’t even think twice about. It’s entirely natural for my son, who is still at home, to Facetime with his brother who is in the Navy. 30 years ago, I couldn’t even have imagined talking to my brother via video conference while he was in the Navy. It would be months before we got letters in the mail or had a chance to talk to him on the phone. My nieces and nephews don’t “talk on the phone”, they Facetime with our family, showing us their new dance moves or cool new video game. It opens a whole new medium of communication that allows us to laugh harder and longer, see the smiles and giddiness on their faces, and bond in a way that we normally couldn’t 300 miles apart.

Educators across the globe and right here in our districts in ESU 10 are taking advantage of this powerful medium in a variety of ways. The tools we have now allow us to connect to classrooms worldwide, NASA, Agate fossil beds, and digital storytellers who share about Martin Luther King Jr. Students have passed around fossils from Morrill Hall as they learn from experts and ask questions about life millions of years ago. It also allows experts from far reaches of our state, and other parts of the nation, to present to our leaders and teachers. Video conferencing also serves as a vital way to attend meetings or workshops right here at ESU 10, without getting in a car and having to drive several hours.
Don’t take my word, hear it from our teachers and students -

Teacher:
Fifth graders read the book, “Wonder”, along with a fifth grade class in New York. Groups of students prepared a presentation regarding the key themes of the book and how the students plan to apply the precepts and principles in the book. “Wonder” is a novel that focuses on bullying, prejudice, and discrimination.

Students:
1. The book is awesome!
2. It was fun to discuss the book with another school.
3. It was fun to hear what a class in another part of the country thinks about the same book.
4. It was fun to prepare for the presentation.
5. I liked talking to the New York students!”

From our remote presenters -
•   Thank you for arranging the connection to the Data Cadre meeting, really appreciate being able to participate and present remotely and especially appreciate the extra effort on your part that it takes to make it happen. 
•   Thank you for your help connecting today, and always!

Remote connections and connected learning opportunities are the future of education, and educators in ESU 10 are blazing the trail. As the technology matures and more and more teachers are using this powerful tool, our students are being prepared for the world that awaits them.

-Jason Everett, Distance Learning