What is life like for children in Essex CT? And what is life like for children in Deschapelles Haiti? How can children learn from each other about their similarities and differences?
It was important to have given the directors of the schools the experience in using the tablets to video. They understood the purpose of the exchange and in learning about it had fun themselves.
Building on their “learning” about each other, the Essex students were successful in their ability to adapt to ways of conveying information about their school with a minimum of words. Their videos of activities were shared with the schools in Haiti. The two photographers helped the first school devise a plan of how to respond. They followed the guide of what one puts in a back pack, a geometry lesson exercise done on a blackboard, one child speaking about himself and school and then recess or as they call it “recreation” The children, both in Essex and Deschapelles learned that it was important to enunciate and project their voices. The video link below, was created by Andrew Snyder, using selected clips of the different activities from both exchanges. The growth in understanding of both groups on how to better convey information is quite evident. The ODES facilitators for the project did not ask for the most talented children to do the videos (which is often what happens in Haiti) but rather asked for volunteers for the different tasks.
It takes more time than one might think to make this actually happen: carrying tablets with videos in travelers’ luggage; sharing with the different classes; recording in the ambient noise atmosphere of schools in Haiti; and then returning the new videos from Haiti back to Essex. But it was well worth the effort as the children in Haiti and Essex now know a bit more about their simllarities and differences in their school lives, and they became creative in adapting to a format that was more successful. In the fall of 2015 the 6th graders in Essex and Deschapelles will share information about different foods that are locally available and how they are purchased.