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edu180atl alicia andreou 2.9.12

Some days you just never know what the day will hold. Two things are always certain; I learn something and seize the moments. Partly the unexpected nature of just what the day will hold and how it moves me forward as a human being, educator, and friend, is what makes each day so unique and memorable. Today it came from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

9:00am, 19 6th graders, 3 teachers, and me- an administrator on the “prowl” who likes to pop into classrooms and join in the learning. This morning I had a “heads up” about a Skype session and I could not miss it. Students are sprawled on the tech lab floor, a few are at tables backchanneling, and they take turns in the “hot seat “at the laptop to pose their questions about life in Saudi Arabia. What is happening? Students are actively engaged, enthralled, and in some cases amazed as the responses. I am too!

My learning keeps shifting and becoming reinvented with the tools, ideas, and opportunities that are literally at our fingertips now. While I did not know that ONLY Muslims are allowed in Mecca or the nuances and realities of life in Jeddah for foreigners, what struck me most was the connections that we can make around the world with such ease- and the richness it brings to our students. Learning has transformed to something that is real and alive.

My brain? Spinning with possibilities! My learning? Accelerated!

Alicia Andreou (@AliciaEDU) Passionate about inspiring learning. Loves adventure- hang gliding, scuba diving, and the great outdoors!

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lovely reflection Alicia – and yes it is the capacity to learn and connect globally that is animating and deepening the learning of this generation of students – and adults! How very exciting for everyone.

    February 9, 2012
  2. Maryellen Berry #

    The gifts of technology and inquisitive minds under the leadership of a savvy teacher. Love to see learning that is active and in the present. Thanks for sharing your learning with us!

    February 9, 2012
  3. Very cool, Alicia! What a great example of how we can use technology to expand the walls of the classroom, to become more global, to engage with other cultures, and to learn from other religious traditions. I’d be interested to hear from some of the students who participated in this Skype session. What did they learn about this other culture and how was their thinking changed about either Saudi Arabia or Islam because of this session? Also, were they Skyping with another class or just with adults?

    What if we could regularly engage in these sessions with other classrooms around the world and then afterwards have students from each class blog about what they learned from each other? It would be fascinating to see not just what our students learned about their culture but what theirs learned about ours. In this age of so much conflict with the Middle East and with Islam, what better way to lessen tensions than to begin a dialogue between our children!

    February 10, 2012
  4. Amy Derin #

    Technology has opened a new dimension in learning. However, it still takes a curious mind,desire to know to utilize that technology, and a facilator with vision. How refreshing to see/hear students are being encouraged to use these new venues of learning.

    February 10, 2012
  5. Rachel Munk #

    I think that it is great for students to start learning and interacting with other cultures at an early age. It can lead to a greater understanding of our diverse world which is so important nowadays. How wonderful that this technology is available to students, and institutions are recognizing this and utilizing it to its fullest! Being able to see and speak to ones peers about current issues also opens up an avenue of learning that can be much less intimidating and much more interesting than merely reading excerpts from an outdated text!!

    February 10, 2012
  6. Sara Nalley #

    Alicia,
    My parents lived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for three years in the late ’70’s. It was a very challenging, yet life-altering experience for them both. My mother, well-informed-of and respectful-of the culture she was experiencing as a temporary “guest”, totally embraced the people and events she encountered. One of my parent’s Arabic wall hanging from Jeddah is displayed in the World Language classroom of Mrs. Kuipers.. You will also find there many of my mother’s dolls she collected during her travels, including those from Saudi.

    March 26, 2012

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