Let’s Connect East/West

This page is about an exchange project my third year classes (age 13-14) are carrying out with a class in Dubai.

It all started on Edmodo, a social network for schools and teachers. I answered a request from Chris Nitsche, a teacher of English in Dubai, who was looking for a class in other countries his students could write to. He was very happy to work with a class in Italy.

We then agreed on handshake activities for our students to get to know themselves better and also to get an idea about the environment where they live. It was amazing to see the comments, not always written down, about the way they perceived the reality of the others. Namely, they had to post and tag pictures of places in their town they like or that mean something special and say why the place was favourite and important for the town. We used thinglink for this activity. They had fun taking pictures of their town and adding comments straight on the pictures.
My Italian students were struck by the modern architecture of Dubai buildings and by the students talking often of places where to shop and luxury hotels and restaurants. They got the idea they must be very rich. Some of them had heard about Dubai, but would have never thought it could be like that, particularly when they saw the pictures of the desert.

I skyped with my colleague in Dubai to comment on the activity and he told me that also his students were amazed to see how old our buildings are (my students took pictures of the medieval castle and cathedral).

Definitely, they are learning a lot more than just English from this project and we hope to continue learning with a new activity. We would like our students to collaborate on writing a story which could account for their different ways of living.
I’ll tell you more in the following posts.

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