Thursday, November 03, 2005

Tremper meets Plainedge HS, New York:

ONE rare example of the technology gods smiling on KUSD-

I arrive at Tremper 25 minutes prior to our connection with Plainedge HS Social Issues class. Two words that will stop a distance learning facilitator dead in her tracks, "NETWORK DOWN".

Call NY, let them know we're switching to Plan B (As soon as I formulate a Plan B).

Plan B- draft Ruth (Library Media Specialist) to help get a speaker phone and go audio...

7:59am - One minute to scheduled connection- NETWORK UP! Clouds parted- angel chorus and all systems go!

For the next hour, teachers Sean McKim (Tremper) and Doug Abram (Plainedge HS) lead student discussion on issues such as illegal immigrants in our communities, after-school jobs, political preferences, extra-curricular activities, teenage drug use, school enrollment, gangs and more.

This connection was the first videoconference experience for everyone involved! I never tire of seeing kids when they realize that no matter if it's New York, Georgia, Utah, Idaho, Tennessee... they share the same challenges, struggle with the same issues and learn to understand and respect cultural diversity.

A few interesting DIFFERENCES to note:

MOST Tremper students have a job, while most Plainedge students do not.

Tremper students participate in many extra-curricular activiites, whereas Plainedge has NO extra-curricular groups, clubs or organizations due to severe budget cuts. Plainedge only has athletics- which, by the way- they are NY State Football Champs :-)

There is little to no dress code at Plainedge- hats, short skirts all allowed. Tremper dress-code is much more restrictive say students.

There are more President Bush supporters at Tremper than Plainedge-

Finally, on a lighter note- most students from BOTH schools watch Laguna Beach!

More connections in the works- great experience and thanks everyone!

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