Beyond the Classroom Walls

The world is my classroom

Teaching and Learning Beyond the Classroom Walls

Grade 10 teachers at ATHS Ras Al Khaimah explored the possibilities of using Skype to connect with experts around the world and to provide students with the opportunity to interact with authentic audience during the first week of September. The content in Unit1: Animals, deals with a range of topics like working animals, endangered species and wildlife protection and conservation. Grade 10 students connected with experts who spoke about guide dogs, Rhino conservation and the successful conservation program of American bald eagles in three separate Skype sessions of 30-45 minutes each. This was a great learning experience for students as they were talking to real people and experts who could give them first hand information about the topics discussed in the unit.

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Daniella Rubio Trujillo, Apple Distinguished Educator, Spain

Daniella is completely blind, but this didn't stop her from achieving her goals in life. She is an Apple Distinguished Educator, a member of the Apple Education Advisory Board and a successful educational and assistive technology consultant. She connected with a group of 16 students in grade 10-02 and shared her experiences of using a service/guide who helps her to be independent and move around in new places. Daniella explained how a service dog is trained to support disabled people in their day-to-day life. She also described how her life changed and how she became more independent with the support of her guide dog. After the information session students asked a range of different questions related to service dogs. The session was much more engaging than a traditional reading lesson or a Youtube informative video session. The real-life element of this session made it much more realistic and engaging for the students. The students were excited to see Kara, the guide dog at the end of the session.

Edward Clark, President, Virginia Wildlife Centre, USA

Ed Clark, the president of Virginia Wildlife Centre, connected with a group of around 40 students from grade 10 to share his experience with the bald eagle protection program, that happens to be one of the most successful protection and breeding programs. EdClark described the causes of the decline in the numbers of the bald eagle in the 40s and the 50s, the steps taken by the government and the wildlife protection laws that helped the protection program. Students got a lot of useful information from an expert who has been working with the wild eagles for many years. This session also exposed students to authentic language used in the context of wildlife conservation, which is the theme of unit 1. It was also an excellent way to recycle and reinforce the new vocabulary as students were using the target lexical items to frame their questions and take notes.

The information session was followed by a Q&A session, wherein the students came forward to face the camera and asked their questions on a one-on-one basis. On the whole it was a great experience for our students. We truly appreciate the efforts of Mr. Ed Clark, as the session was too early for him (5:30am) considering the time difference between the US and the UAE.

Jo Wilmot, Chipembere Rhino Foundation, South Africa

Using Skype Grade 10.3 and 10.4 students at IAT Ras Al Khaimah had the opportunity to speak to South African businesswoman, Ms Jo Wilmot, a volunteer with the Chipembere Rhino Foundation and a Member of Rotary International responsible for the conservation of Endangered Species about the work she is involved in.

Jo was able to give students insight into the conservation and breeding programme currently taking place in South Africa to increase the number of rhino. She explained that contrary to popular belief that rhino were hunted for Asian medicinal purposes, it was in fact more of a trophy and commanded a price tag of 60000 USD/kg.

Whist providing information about the rhino, she emphasized the importance of our behavior when seeing these animals: do not post pictures online especially ones with your location as this directs poachers to where these animals are; stick to the rules and be respectful of the animal’s environment.

The breeding programme is successful and they have managed to increase the numbers of the White Rhino.

Follow up

The Skype session was further extended to a short writing task, where students had to create an online flyer based on any one of the sessions. Clink on the link above for more information.

Grade 10 Teachers

Ms.P. Anjali Rajan

Ms. Anthea Cameron