One of the biggest perks of having so much technology at our fingertips is being able to connect with people worldwide. As often as possible, I make real-world connections within the classroom, and utilize technology to make this happen.
I know people from around the world, and, often times, try to find the best times to invite one of those people into the classroom. My students have interviewed people ranging from a Japanese college student in Yokosuka to a Delta flight attendant in Harlem, NY.
Each time we interview a new guest speaker, the gap between the city of Atlanta and the world becomes smaller. My students, to this day, remember when they interviewed a non-English speaker about the difference of day and night. They remember my friend dressed in pajamas walking us (or her laptop) outside of her home to show us that it was, in fact, night time for her. Although my friend could speak English, I asked her to speak Japanese as a means to expose my students to another culture and language.
Having guest speakers in the classroom is wonderful, but to be able to invite a virtual speaker, at times, can be even more educational. Through this 10 minute interview, all of my students instantly understood why and how the time of day changes around the planet. They understood that other countries may not speak English as the native language, and they learned how to construct and host an interview.
Hosting a virtual guest speaker in the classroom is truly priceless when given the right circumstances.