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Current Issues Class video conferences with schools around the world

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On January 18th and 30th, the current issues class was given the opportunity to video conference with several schools around the world and talk about the issues that exist in our world today.

The goal of the video conferences vary depending on the theme of the VC.  However, I believe the broader goal is to create a safe environment where students can learn about other communities, cultures, values, and beliefs of students from other countries around the world in order to eradicate ignorance and navigate differences in a peaceful way.  Generation Global video conferences teach students to break down typical stereotypes that we have about a certain group of people, place, religion, or race, in order to celebrate diversity and embrace globalization in an ever-changing world.  I also believe that it encourages students to learn how to listen, a skill that takes practice and is not used nearly enough in our society today,” said current issues teacher, Alex McKenzie.

The first video conference held on January 18th was with a school in England and a school in Indonesia. The subject of that one was to talk about things within the news and how everyone deals with the news that we get from social media and other places.

Our class was grouped with a school from London and also one from indonesia. There also was a group leader who gave us prompts to talk about as well as just facilitated the conversation in general. Each school took turns asking questions and talking about life in their country,” said senior Danielle Lacke.

Many students were struck by stories that were told by the students at different schools in the world and how much we differ from them yet share similar experiences as well.

I was surprised on how well the students knew English. It was interesting because around the world students learn english in first grade, while most of us in the US learn in high school. Not only did they know the language, they were very knowledgeable about American politics, whereas most of us don’t know much about their countries politics. So it was interesting to see how educated they are on global news and history,” said senior Camryn Arroyo.

The second video conference was with a school in Palestine. This video conference was based on the student’s lives and morals and how they make us the people we are today.

“Something that really struck me during the video conference with Palestine is how their problems don’t even compare to America’s problems. It makes me feel very fortunate for what we have and how I can do a lot of things,” said senior Shannon Keilwitz.

Many of the students who were from elsewhere in the world spoke about their surrounding communities and how they go about their normal days. Several current issue students really picked up on some key things that allowed them to realize all the opportunities we have in the United States.

“Also, while talking to Palestine, it was interesting to hear how different their society was. They explained how male dominant the country is, and I felt grateful to live in the US where we are able to verbalize the inequality and thrive off the rights we do have. The students also talked about the Israeli presence and how it is difficult for them to get place to place without being stopped by barriers and ID checks on the roads. I am thankful that we have freedom to roam our country feeling safe and free,” Arroyo said.

Usually there are three to four video conferences per year however, there is a lot of work put into it behind the scene to make these things happen. Make sure to keep a lookout for new video conference dates as they are announced.

All of the students that participate do this voluntarily before school. Any students that are interested are welcome to speak with me and I can get them connected in a future VC. More information can be found at https://generation.global/home,” McKenzie said.

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Current Issues Class video conferences with schools around the world