Last week, ten thousand miles from New York, students learned about microorganisms from one of our educators. Anthony Negron, manager of our Virtual Visit program, employed videoconferencing technologies to connect with St. Kevin’s Primary School in Sydney, Australia. Using microscopes, NYSCI exhibits, and a live feed of various microorganisms, the students learned where the tiny creatures are found, and how to classify them. The program helped to launch a new technology room at the Australian school and was attended by students, parents and educators.
Brett Salakas of St. Kevin’s Primary School and coordinator of the event called the program a “wonderful experience” that “greatly enhanced our science unit on microorganisms. The well-balanced program gave the students an insight in the topic which we could not provide here in a regular classroom.”
New Yorkers are accustomed to tourists. Approximately 50 million of them visit our city each year to soak up the culture, take in a Broadway show, and gobble down untold numbers of pizza slices. But this summer, the city will welcome a very special group of youngsters from Kenya. The school kids will visit NYSCI, participate in science lessons, and get a glimpse of life in New York City – all without ever leaving Africa.
The students will visit as part of a distance-learning program that will use videoconferencing technologies to virtually connect the Sereolipi Primary School in Kenya with our instructors at NYSCI. This pilot program, called The Mizizi Project, is a part of a partnership with the nonprofit organization e2 education & environment, which seeks to unite students and teachers in different parts of the world through a single collaborative virtual learning experience.
Over a series of sessions this summer, the students in Kenya will work on topics such as microbiology, biomimicry and environmental science. The result will be a “global classroom” where New Yorkers and Kenyans work together on a shared science curriculum.
Now if only we could get the other 50 million tourists to stop buying up all the Book of Mormon tickets …
Photo by Liz Titone