The current situation has made it very challenging for everyone to travel to different countries and this means that many schools have had to re-invent their existing overseas exchange programs. Good Hope School in Hong Kong recently arranged a virtual overseas exchange with 6 other schools from Europe and Asia.
During 12th- 16th July 2021, some students from our Extra Class English program (11D) joined this fascinating new concept and the project was called COIL 2.0, which stands for Collaborative Online International Learning. The theme for this year was ‘Caring Across Borders’ and it was a 5-day virtual collaboration.
In total there were 11 groups and each group had a facilitating teacher. From Ektra Mr. James (Head of Foreign Staff), Ms. Ketaki (Eng. Act. Presentations, English and Business), Ms. Joralyn (Social Studies) and Mr. Sunny (English) represented the school and were each given a group to coach and guide during the process.
The schools that participated (at the final stage) were Good Hope School and La Salle College (from Hong Kong), Sophianum (from The Netherlands), High School attached to Shanghai Normal University (from China) and Sarasas Ektra School. Two other schools also joined, but were unable to join the final virtual collaboration (due to time zones) and they were De La Salle College, Ashfield (in Australia) and Colegio De La Salle (in Argentina).
On the first day, there were various virtual ‘ice breaker’ activities and the guidelines were provided to participants. Students were put into mixed groups (a combination of all 5 participating schools) and were tasked to come up with a ‘Virtual Community Project’ that they would need to present to a panel of judges. At the end of the first day students were asked to think about different social issues they have in their own communities and share their thoughts with others. Then, students had to decide upon which issue was one that they could think of to better support the community virtually.
The guidelines were as follows:
1. What is the social issue?
2. Why is this something that needs to be better supported?
3. What is the idea and reasoning behind it?
4. What is the timeline for implementation?
5. What is the budget / financial planning for this project?
6. Throughout, evidence and supporting arguments should be given.
On days 2 and 3, the students had to arrange for their own ‘Zoom sessions’ and collaborate together to prepare for their virtual presentations. Then on Days 4 and 5 students presented to each other and it ended with some whole group discussions and some closing comments from Mr. Leander Pang (Vice Principal from Good Hope School) before the winners were announced.
Some examples of the virtual community projects included; creating applications to help teach and guide the elderly to learn how to use technology effectively, mass mask production projects to support underprivileged communities, a new app created by students to learn about different ‘extra-curricular’ activities to support children during these challenging times, a digital platform called ‘Aloha!’ for students to connect and make new friends and a new application called ‘Inclusion’ which celebrates diversity and people of different races.
All participating students had the opportunity during this collaboration to have discussions about issues that matter to them with other students from across the globe. Not only did they have an additional chance to use English for presenting, but they also had a chance to further develop their organizational skills, financial literacy, communication, research and to be able to negotiate with others.
The winning group received a $25 gift certificate from Amazon (per student) and the first runners up received a $15 gift certificate also from Amazon.
Finally, we are proud to announce that Mr. Kawinvee Kosittaweepisan and Mr. Nattakit Kiatlatanakosol were members of the runners up group.