Russia vs. Netherlands Quiz Day – An Inspired Collaboration
By Boris Berlijn
Boris Berlijn is a SMART Exemplary Educator. He currently teaches geography at Ashram College in Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands. Boris often undertakes student projects within the SEE community and we’re really proud of how he embodies the spirit of inspired collaboration in his classroom.
It’s 7:56am on Thursday morning, December 20, 2012, and I am in my classroom in Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands. In about four minutes we will start the quiz that will conclude our collaboration project with fellow SMART Exemplary Educator Yulia Bondarenko and her class Gymnasium #12 from Novosibirsk, Russia. Because of the time difference with Novosibirsk (it’s 13:56 over there), my Dutch students need to arrive extra early to school. To compensate, I have arranged for tea, spice nuts, meringues, Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) and Christmas cookies.
Getting to know each other
Prior to the day’s Bridgit software collaboration event, the students from both sides made presentations about their own city, country and cultural habits. During the project, the class in Russia put a video on YouTube so we could get to know each other better.
And of course the Dutch students created a movie for the Russian students as well.
Notebook and Bridgit software together create multiuser collaboration
My students worked in groups on a presentation in English about a subject they chose themselves — geography. They added pictures, text, drawings and movies to their presentation and the Russian students have done the same. To conclude this project, Yulia has created a quiz with questions about the content from the presentations each country had created. The students have created their content in SMART Notebook software because Bridgit software works best with this file type and we will maximize interaction between the SMART Boards in both classrooms. I uploaded the Notebook quiz template to SMART Exchange.
After instruction from my side about the quiz, we start the Bridgit session on the SMART Board. We each created a group of questions based on information from shared presentations and exchanged those files via email.
The Russian students successfully answered all eight of our questions and the Dutch students knew only six out of eight questions. The Russian students won the quiz, but according to them there was no winner because our questions were easier.
Both in Russia and in the Netherlands, the day was devoted to cooperation and collaboration. And the enthusiasm remains! I asked my students to do a short survey after the project to ask them about their opinion on the project and whether they would like to participate in another collaborative project. Unanimously, the students chose to do such a project again. We were both glad that the project worked out very well. Both the students and the teachers are already looking forward to the next project.
This project with the school in Novosibirsk, Russia, is an idea that first began at the EMEA SEE Summit in Hamburg, where I met Yulia Bondarenko. Meeting educators from around the globe is one of the great things that I gained from participating in SMART events. Collaborating with other schools in the SMART world rules!
Next, I am searching for a way to further integrate my contacts abroad into my curriculum. I am starting with my SMART friends from abroad. At this moment another of my classes is collaborating with SEEs (and their pupils) from the United States. They have made contact with very special people who really try to make the difference for my students. For example, my students have connected with people who witnessed 9/11 in New York City and a person that has met President Obama. My students use e-mail, Skype and Facebook to get in touch with students in classes run by American SEEs and they really like this way of gaining information for their assessments. Already SEE Michelle Marks from Chicago, Illinois, has informed me about the possibility to work together on such a project with her students. I love my job!
Boris Berlijn currently teaches at a SMART Showcase School named Ashram College in Alphen aan den Rijn, which was first outfitted with SMART Board interactive whiteboards in 2007. Berlijn is an ambassador of technology in education and of SMART products, in particular, both at his school and within the Dutch government community. In May 2008, he attended the SMART Interactive User Forum in Stockholm, Sweden, which is when he first became a fan of other SMART products beyond the SMART Board.