Michael Soskil’s fourth-grade students in Newfoundland, a rural town in northeastern Pennsylvania, are video chatting with students in Kenya.
They are comparing ways to get the weather forecast. The students in Kenya don’t have access to the Internet at home. They can’t Google the weather like their counterparts in America. So they pay attention to the clouds – the color and shape, and the direction of the wind.
Soskil’s students in the Wallenpaupack Area School District have been learning about clouds, too – the different types and how to use them to predict the weather. They want to share their knowledge with their friends in Kenya.
They decide to make a short video. Using an iPad, a green screen, and assistance from their dedicated teacher, the students are able to help their African peers. They will in turn receive a video from the Kenyan students featuring gardening tips they have learned from expert farmers in their village.
This is the Distance Teaching Project in action – an innovative program developed by Soskil, who was recently a top 10 finalist for the Global Teacher Prize.