Connected Classrooms: Using Skype to Reach Students Around The World

0

From the plains of Tanzania to the mountains of Canada, youth from all corners of the Earth are making a positive change in the world. To date, Roots & Shoots members have reported more than 1,700 service projects for people, animals, and the environment in over 100 different countries. Inspired by Dr. Jane and empowered by their adult mentors and peers, these young people are weaving a worldwide tapestry of hope.

But how do we connect these compassionate young change-makers? Among the ways is the popular video-calling service, Skype.

Through a collaboration with Microsoft, the Jane Goodall Institute is able to connect members of the Roots & Shoots U.S. National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) with classrooms across the globe. The NYLC is made of passionate young people who are dedicated to making positive change happen in their communities. Together, they are the youth voice of the Jane Goodall Institute and help support JGI’s programs, while leading their own amazing projects.

NYLC classroom “visits” are a unique resource for Roots & Shoots educators and groups. Members of the NYLC talk about Dr. Jane’s life and impact, the Jane Goodall Institute’s projects, and how they can make a positive difference through Roots & Shoots. They share stories about their own work and what motivates them. For example, Mady from Massachusetts talks about her bobcat conservation work, Bradley talks about how he was able to raise over $125,000 for veterans, Sarah explains how she got the idea to write a children’s book about frogs, and Kye discusses what it takes to be a young person running a non-profit organization for youth around the globe. The 34 members of the NYLC each represent an incredible story about leadership and determination to make the world a better place.

A fifth grade class in New York City, taught by Felice Clyne-Davis, chats with Madi Vorva, NYLC alumna and current JGI board member, via Skype. Madi speaks about the devastating impacts of palm oil and her work advocating for the use of sustainable palm oil in Girl Scout cookies. After this visit, Ms. Davis’ class created a campaign to promote recyclable water bottles at their school and continue to work on a variety of other service projects in their community.

A fifth grade class in New York City, taught by Felice Clyne-Davis, chats with Madi Vorva, NYLC alumna and current JGI board member, via Skype. Madi speaks about the devastating impacts of palm oil and her work advocating for the use of sustainable palm oil in Girl Scout cookies. After this visit, Ms. Davis’ class created a campaign to promote recyclable water bottles at their school and continue to work on a variety of other service projects in their community.

Invite a Member of the NYLC to “Visit” Your Group

Young people love hearing from other young people. Invite a member of the NYLC to Skype with your classroom, community group, or your friends/family who want to make a difference. Get the scoop on Dr. Jane’s, hear what other kinds are up to in their communities, and get some tips for starting your Roots & Shoots group or your next service project. Here’s how:

  1. Choose dates and times that your group is available. Tip: Multiple availabilities and/or planning far in advance will give you the best chance to schedule a speaker.
  2. Consider if there’s a specific topic that you’d like a youth speaker to focus on. For example, do you know that you want to do a project to help butterflies? You can request a speaker who has experience with butterflies and we’ll see if we can set you up with a butterfly expert!
  3. Click here to visit the Roots & Shoots Skype in the Classroom page and request a speaker. Don’t forget to add your timezone!
  4. Wait for a bit. A Roots & Shoots staff member will be in touch soon with further instructions. You’ll be matched with a member of the NYLC to finalize logistics. On the day of your scheduled session, sign in to Skype, connect to your speaker, and settle in for an exciting visit.

Skype’s technology has enabled us to connect with people in different areas of the world. The compassionate NYLC leaders spread their stories of change and encourage youth to make the world a better place. Invite them to speak with your group and you just may be inspired, too.

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world” – Robert McKee

About Author

Sam is currently an intern with Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots program, while also working toward her Master's degree at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She is studying Agroecology and has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Bemidji State University - the only campus where you can park on the lake during the winter! She worked as a STEM Coordinator at a Boys & Girls Club and wants to pursue a career as an environmental educator. When she's not sharing stories about nature, she is an active coffee drinker, bird watcher, and hockey fan.