Posted May 16 2012 by heather | Filed under: News.
Opportunity Africa is excited to announce the launch of a new program — Classroom Connections. In this program, classrooms of students from the Bilingual High School in Bertoua, Cameroon will connect with classrooms of students from the Founder’s hometown and alma mater, Fergus Falls High School, in Minnesota
. Cross-cultural learning opportunities and exposure to the global community fosters understanding and promotes peace. It establishes a foundation for an informed worldview, necessary to be successful global citizens and to effectively participate in a globalized economy.
In partnership with Opportunity Africa, Fergus Falls High School French teacher, Deb Sutor, applied for and received a Minnesota Education Association grant to fund the technology to facilitate the exchange activities. “Classroom Connections” will allow students the unique opportunity to connect with individuals from a completely different culture on a personal basis throughout the school year in several classes, including:
- French students will use their acquired language skills to communicate with Cameroon students via Skype video chats on a weekly basis
- Cultural Geography students will self-reflect and exchange values with Cameroon students via Virtual Bulletin Boards
- Digital Photography students will exchange photos with Cameroonian students to explore each other’s worlds, which will culminate in the 2013 Opportunity Africa wall calendar
Derek Abrahams, Fergus Falls Cultural Geography teacher states, “I talk to the students about how fortunate they are to have a free, public education, accessible to all students. In many African countries, students must pay for their education and do not have adequate materials with which to learn. It is difficult for my students to appreciate what they have.” By connecting with students of Cameroon, Fergus Falls students would better appreciate their world and develop a compassion for those in other countries.
In addition, it allows Cameroonian students to connect with American peers and gain a deeper, more nuanced understanding of American culture beyond its idyllic portrayal in television and movies.
Opportunity Africa is currently collaborating with Fergus Falls teachers to plan a detailed curriculum and outcome objectives. A test-run of the Skype video exchange is scheduled to take place in May. “Classroom Connections” will begin in September 2012 and continue through the 2012/2013 academic year.