Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Global Nomads Group Relies on Videoconferencing to Connect Students Worldwide

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Global Nomads Group Relies on Videoconferencing to Connect Students Worldwide

Article excerpt

Students from around the world came together in December to discuss their holiday traditions and opinions about global events. This was not done, however, in a face-to-face meeting, but rather though a videoconference setup by the Global Nomads Group, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to foster dialogue and understanding among the world's youth.

Using videoconferencing equipment from Polycom Inc. and GlowPoint Inc.'s IP-based video communications network, the "Global Perspectives: One World, Many Celebrations" videoconference linked students from Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, N.Y., and The Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles with students from Open House, a youth center in Israel.

For the participating students, getting used to the technology was not the most difficult hurdle to overcome. Breaking the ice is always the hardest part, says Mark von Sponeck, executive director of the Global Nomads Group, referring to the difficulties that come with moderating videoconferences. "Often at the start, students are a little nervous--especially those who have never participated before in a videoconference."

However, once the videoconference was under way, the students became visibly more comfortable and a real exchange began. Discussing how they would be spending their holidays, the teenage students found that they had much in common despite their drastically different geographic locations. The conversation soon turned to world events as the Israeli students spoke, with shaking voices, of living with the daily fear of violence, while the New York students spoke of how the Sept. …

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