Session 10- Simpson and Toyn (2011)

This chapter begins by describing how schools can link with cultural settings, the barriers to schools being able to visit these cultural settings, e.g. cost, and then the online facilities that these cultural settings can offer. Whilst I was on my first block placement in Year 1 I had the opportunity to visit the National Gallery with the Reception. However, before the children visited the National Gallery, the class teacher was able to show the children a virtual tour of the gallery provided by the National Gallery website which enhanced the children’s learning through experiential learning. I thought this was a great idea as the children were able to see what the Gallery looked like before going so they knew what to expect. It also allowed the class teacher to teach children about the specific painting the children were working on and show it in a different aspect. It is a shame that the National Gallery does not provide video conferences for educational settings as this would be very beneficial for the schools who are located far away from the Gallery or for the schools who do not have enough money to travel to the Gallery.

From reading this chapter I have learnt new information which will benefit the schools I work in by providing them with the information to have access to the online facilities that cultural environments provide. Before reading this chapter I was not aware of video conferencing from cultural settings being available for educational settings and I think this is a fantastic idea and resource to have if they educational settings are not able to visit these cultural settings.

I think linking schools is a good idea because the children and all of the staff can learn a lot from the school they are linked with. For example, my secondary school was linked with a school in Kenya and it was amazing when a group of students from Kenya visited our school for two weeks. I believe this broadened student’s thinking and cultural awareness and respect as the students learnt about the Kenyan student’s culture, values and beliefs. Although it may be difficult to set up a link with a school outside of the UK, I think it would still be very beneficial for the students and the staff to have a link with a school within a near proximity to their own school as like Hurford and Knowles (2012) stated, schools are individual places and all have their own ethos, community and approaches to teaching and learning. School links have many benefits for the children and staff in both schools as they are able to share resources, ideas and information, and most importantly being able to collaborate and communicate together to enhance learning.

I have found a video from Redbridge Primary School about video conferencing between schools which I thought was interesting as the headteacher talks about how they use video conferencing to communicate with other children around the globe. The video also shows children from that school from different year groups talking about what they like about video conferencing, for example, being able to learn about other cultures. The assistant headteacher also suggests that video conferencing is a vital resource to use with children with English as an Additional Language (EAL) as they are enhancing their speaking and listening skills. This has broadened my knowledge and understanding about the benefits of video conferencing as I never thought of the benefits for the children with EAL and I would also like to use video conferencing as an opportunity to do that for the EAL children in my own class in the future.

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