Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Infant school travels around the equator three times


Just under a year ago Scargill Infant School (SIS) in the London Borough of Havering made their first international link via video conference (VC) to Bell Top Elementary School in New York State.  Twelve months later, each class at SIS have their own partner school whether it is a local, national or a international partner.  The school has had regular conferences with schools in Devon, Virginia, Cumbria and a local Primary school. The head teacher of SIS, Kath Keeper, had a vision for her school.  She wanted all the children in her school to experience what it was like to communicate using a technology that she predicts would be used in the workplace of the future and she wanted each child in her school to experience learning about another school community. 

SIS have travelled over 3 times around the equator (83,548 virtual miles) during the last academic year, see table 1 below. VC technology has enabled the school to do this with ease – travelling costs and total travel time of( 234 hours)alone would make the visits impossible if they were made face to face.

School
Return mileage ( 1 visit)

 Return Travel time( 1 visit)
 No of visits Sept 2010 – July 2011
Total mileage
( 2010 – 11)
Total Travel time saved
( 2010-11)
 1
 Pinewood Primary, Havering, London
12
 0.5 hours
4
48
2
2
Seaton Academy, Cumbria, UK
600
8 hours
5
3000
40
3
Bell Top Elementary, New York, USA
7000
16  hours
6
42,000
96
4
Steuart Elementary, Virginia, USA
7500
16  hours
5
37,500
80
5
Bratton Fleming Primary, Devon, UK
500
8 hours
2
1000
16
TOTAL
    83, 548
234
Table 1: Showing total travel time and mileage ( Sept 2010 – July 2011). 
( 25,000 miles around the equator ) , therefore SIS travelled 3.34 times around the equator in the academic year of 2010 – 2011.


The benefits of school to school partnerships are huge via video link, Mrs Keeper quotes “Young children relate better to other children speaking and sharing experiences helping each other learn. Through developing children’s communication skills learning about the world comes to life. Video conferencing has built local and national community relations for Scargill Infants and a better understanding of cultures and ways of life, showing the children that their peers, around the world are actually the same as them. Our school no longer feels isolated – through the use of VC the world is now at our doorstep.”

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