Friday, December 16, 2016

We lit up the world: Christmas traditions around the globe

On 14th December 2016 students and teachers from all over the world met in 4 video conferences between 8am and 3pm German time. All teachers and classes took strong effords to prepare a certain presentation and to express similarities and differences in Christmas traditions. Next to different Christian classes there were non- Christian children joining the conference who had nothing to do with Christmas at all.

To raise awareness for different religions, getting different cultures closer together in a conference when people around the world have to search for a new place to live and cultures getting mixed more and more locally, support understanding for diversities for people who live next door to us, or even to get to know how many candles are on a wreath in other countries: all these goals - and many others - were expressed in this conference. Additionally  we trained new ways of using technology in classes combined with different subjects and different students` groups and ages at the same time.

Four weeks before we started to prepare this event. Many classes prepared a little slide show, other classes sang some local Christmas carols or danced to these songs. Students and teachers could ask questions to each presenter`s group before the next group started to express their local Christmas traditions.

We used Google Hangout to gather all participants into four separate video conferences. I set up a sheet to register for this event at a certain time slot. A linked time converter could be used to find the correct local time zone. To avoid problems with time differences classes had the chance to come in to this conference at any time during this 7 hours`session to present and to get to know as much as possible about other Christmas traditions. The link for the video conference was spread around 30 minutes before the registered participants to make sure that all these partcipents had the chance to be present right in time. Some presenters met me in a short video conference to check their technical requirements at school or at home.

We used a second computer and a second camera to catch up all the questions during our own presentation. Girls from my grade 7 class operated that second camera walking around the class while the other video unit were fixed for the presentations.

On behalf of my administration and the music conductor I want to thank you all for your strong effords to let this event become a real illumination. These participants were:

Ängas School, Eva Widdenhielm and Anni Abgarian, class 8, Sweden

Anne Mertschin, Hawkesdale College, Australia
Gyöngyi Tóthné Bàn, class 6, Balatonboglar, Hungary
International Community School Abidjan, Kim Piot, grade 6, Ivory Coast
Saint Molaga`s School, Cliona Brennock, grade 3, Balbriggan, Ireland
Yelena Volina, grade 8, Ryazan, Russia
Joe McNulty, Newtown, USA
Newtown Middle School, Joe McNulty, grade 7/8, Newtown, USA
Maria Colussa, Santa Fe, Argentina
Collège Petit Manoir, Catherine Mongis, grade 6, Martinique
Saint Joseph`s Convent, Renée- Amanda Heywood, grade 7, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Tracy Hanson, So. Acworth, NH, USA
Steve Sherman, Living Maths, Cape Town, South Africa
Katherine Zablatnik, Sankt Veit, Austria
Maryam Waqar, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Ellen Smith, USA

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