Having the world at their fingertips may be a metaphor, but today Skype and Google Hangouts connect students to the world in many ways not previously possible.
Throughout the Weatherford Independent School District, students are speaking to authors, connecting with students in foreign countries, and holding conversations with other classes thanks to these social networking and communication tools.
Fifth grade language arts teacher Jacqueline Rose helped begin the practice at Austin Elementary, and has been encouraging its spread for two years.
“None of us know everything there is to know,” she said. “We don’t know all the knowledge that’s out there, but if we have the ability to connect with those all around the world, we have the ability to gather all the information that’s out there.”
Her students are Skyping with a participant in the World Race, where participants travel to 11 countries in 11 months to help others.
“I hope that it increases their ability to be independent and to be able to be those lifelong learners,” she said.
“I don’t want them to see school as something that happens within four walls,” she added. “I want it to be something that they fall in love with and continue doing and see it everywhere.”