Students in Harvard, Massachusetts, Initiate Video Exchange with Students in India
Bryce Mattie teaches 10th grade Global Studies at The Bromfield School in Harvard, Massachusetts. After traveling to India on the Primary Source Chalo, India! study tour last summer, she was inspired to initiate a video collaboration project between her class and students at the Banyan Tree School in India. Bryce's students created videos highlighting daily life at their school and in their town, and sent these videos to the Banyan Tree School—along with questions for the students about what life is like in India. View the videos here (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) and read on to hear more about this cultural collaboration.
Primary Source: What inspired you to start a collaboration with the Banyan Tree School?
Bryce: After visiting the school while traveling to India with Primary Source, I was really impressed with the students, teachers, administration, and school curriculum in general. The students who toured us around the school were so similar to our students—it was really fun and eye-opening to see! Naturally, I thought it would be fantastic if my students would be able to interact with the Banyan Tree School to have a similar experience. Since the time difference is too great to have a Skype video conference, I thought of the possibility of creating a video exchange. The Banyan tree school was very eager to collaborate, and everything then fell into place.
PS: Describe the process of developing this project with your students. What did they find most exciting?
Bryce: Filming of this video took place at the beginning/middle of our month-long unit about Modern India (beginning with Indian Independence). There were several components necessary for the film (introductions, tour around Bromfield, questions, and analyzing "green" practices). Students earned extra credit if they wanted to stay after school and complete any of the components. Then, two student volunteers edited the video, by far the most timely process.
The students were most excited to share a little about themselves, and were in turn curious to see if students in India had similar likes or hobbies. We looked at the Banyan Tree School's website and some videos I had taken at the school, and they were immediately excited—and a little intimidated—to collaborate. We had been talking about dispelling stereotypes and "the danger of a single story", but also conversely the difference between urban/rural, private/government schools, so I think this was a perfect fit for our lessons. My students are very eager to see the return video from the Banyan Tree School!
PS: Why is it important for students to connect with people from different cultures and learn about different parts of the world?
Bryce: My course is about helping students develop a global awareness, and teaching them to interact and thrive in a 21st century global world. I was really happy about this interaction because I think it is a fun way to share and celebrate different cultures, while dispelling stereotypes and learning about similarities and differences. Harvard, Massachusetts, is often described as a homogeneous community, so students here have a general curiosity about the world around them, and I like to facilitate this in constructive ways.
PS: How has Primary Source helped support you in teaching about global education?
Bryce: Primary Source has inspired my lessons in so many ways! Firstly, through lecture series and fabulous presenters, my own knowledge is strengthened in my content area, which makes lessons more interesting and constructive. Primary Source is also a fabulous place to turn for resource suggestions, websites, interactive lesson plans, and more. I leave every experience brimming with new classroom ideas! I have always wanted to internationally collaborate, but didn't have the tools to do so. So the Primary Source Chalo, India! study tour was an awesome place to make connections and meet people to make this a reality.