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Volcanoes, Songs and Laughs: Cross-Cultural Conversation Deepens Bonds Between Students

After collaborating on 3D designs and exchanging video messages via Level Up Village’s global platform, students in Roanoke, Virginia, and their partner students in Central America connected live via Skype. And what amazing conversations they had! Here’s the story, as told by Tina Coffey at Oak Grove Elementary and Fernanda Oliveira at NicaPhoto.

Live Skype Tops Off Global Inventors Exchange

By Tina Coffey, Instructional Technology Resource Teacher at Oak Grove Elementary School

Such an amazing experience this week Skyping with our Global Inventor partners in Nicaragua at NicaPhoto and Honduras at Honduras Child Alliance. During the Honduras Skype, students talked about their favorite sports, the types of homes they lived in, and what animals were nearby. They were especially interested in each other’s schools, how many students attended there, and what the schools looked like. The Honduran students even made a few jokes that had us all laughing!

While skyping with Nicaragua, students took turns learning about each other’s homes, schools, pets, siblings, and favorite foods. The classes sang to each other and talked about how they were going to use the solar flashlights they had created together. Oak Grove students were especially interested in the volcanoes nearby in Nicaragua and even about the earthquake drills that they practice there. The idea that there was an active volcano with a lava lagoon blew their minds!

It was absolutely amazing to watch–our kids gave up recess because they didn’t want to stop talking with them–it was about a 50 minute Skype call by the time we had to stop. Our Dare officer came in to see at one point and that led to a discussion about safety, and then our music teacher came in while they were singing. The principal stopped what she was doing and came down to watch, too. Our kids had blue lips because they had brought their lunches back to the classroom to eat (noon is their lunch time) and the cafeteria served some sort of crazy blue icey stuff – but that sparked a whole conversation, too.

I think possibly it was one of the best things I’ve witnessed in this job–and I’ve skyped with other classes before. I think what set it apart was the fact that the kids knew each other from the videos and had a relationship already.

We were so lucky that our partners lived in time zones close to ours so this could happen. A big thank you to Level Up Village for arranging the Skypes and a shout out to Arara Language Solutions, LLC for providing a translator that made the whole process go smoothly. It really was awesome to be able to talk to our partners live!

3D Printing, Conversation & Song

By Fernanda Oliveira, Moving Worlds volunteer at NicaPhoto in Nagarote, Nicaragua

Students from NicaPhoto in Nicaragua, one of Level Up Village global partners, had a great time this morning with their student partners in the U.S. from Oak Grove Elementary School. Through a Skype call, students from both countries, who are partners in the Global Inventors class, part of LUV’s STEAM curriculum, had the chance to get to know each other better and learn about their countries and culture.

The students, age 8 to 11, have been working together for 8 weeks now on a 3-D Project using Tinkercad. Together, they have to design and build a solar-powered flashlight while learning about electricity, renewable resources and green energy.

The best part of the class for the kids is the video messages they exchange throughout the course. And today, they had the chance to talk to each other on Skype.

Each kid prepared a couple of questions for their friend abroad. And through simple questions like “What’s your favorite food?”, “What’s your favorite class?” or “What’s your house like?”, they found out they have more in common than they ever thought.

They also talked about what they want to be when they grow up, geography – the students in the U.S. were amazed to hear about the volcanoes in Nicaragua and about Ometepe Island, known as one of the best wonders in the world – and also about security in school.

At the end, they even shared a little bit more of each other’s country. The U.S. students sang their National Anthem. And the students in Nicaragua sang “Nicaragua Mia”, a very traditional song that celebrates the country’s culture and national beauty.

(Throughout their Level Up Village Global Inventors collaboration, students exchanged asynchronous video messages with their partners in Central America and worked together to co-design 3D printed flashlights. At the end, they were also able to talk live with their partners via Skype. Read more about this exciting global exchange at Oak Grove Elementary in this article in The Roanoke Times.)