Exchanges in Action

Teachers in Surabaya, Indonesia and Sydney, Australia believe that dispelling stereotypes is a continuous practice that should begin in elementary school. Both teachers partnered their Grade 5 and 6 students for a digital cultural exchange with Know My World to foster cultural understanding between the two schools. The exchange began with a live one hour Skype conference call between the two classes, where the students asked each other true or false questions based on the other culture. Here, students could begin to challenge impressions and perspectives they may have learned about each other’s cultures.

An interesting dimension of this partnership was the class sizes, where 11 students from Indonesia interfaced with 60 from Australia. Both teachers in partnership with Know My World felt that a well-organized experience can have a big impact no matter what the size and that using adaptability, flexibility and creativity, they could educate their students about cultural misconceptions and discussion.

Exchange discussions were done on Edmodo. The students continued with the project asking each other questions and showcasing the geography and their own cultural customs. Then they made a timeline showing a day in their lives. The students all posted the timelines and began comparing their days to the other students. The class in Indonesia made a physical chart comparing 2 different timelines; one from Indonesia student and one from an Australian student. The next discussion was about how they use technology at schools and their homes. The students worked on posters, PowerPoint presentations as well as Powtoon presentations to show the different technologies they use on a daily basis. This also generated a great comparison discussion.

The exchange ended with a second live call between the two classes where the students asked deeper cultural questions to each other. Lastly, they continued posting videos of their appreciation for the exchange and what they learned from it. The exchange was a great success, it lasted 7 weeks, and teachers and students alike reported a new perspective of their partners with an increased feeling of connection.