21st Century Technology Bridges the Gap
This spring, Mr. Boudreau's Sociology 3A students participated in a long distance, inter-generational, learning experiment. Using video-conferencing equipment, they talked each week with a group of Senior Citizens from the Pauline Charron Centre in Vanier.
The project gave the students a chance to improve their French skills and to learn how Seniors view today's society; they traded views on family, television, nationalism, youth and leisure.
Although both groups were hesitant at first, the immediacy of video-conferencing helped to break down barriers. After a few weeks it became apparent that a link was developing between the two age groups. "They noticed our French improving while we noticed vigour and interest in what we were accomplishing", said Emrys Davis. Interest, trust and friendship grew.
On June 10, M Boudreau's class project was featured at a "Pace 2000" Conference in Ottawa. Students participated in a round table discussion with Seniors and explained the benefits of video-conferencing in education.
Afterwards, the class visited the Pauline Charron Centre to meet their friends and share lunch. The students did point out that no video-conferencing could convey the warmth and immediacy of a personal meeting, but it was a valuable tool for sharing ideas.
The students would like to thank M. Boudreau, Dr. Marie-Madeleine and all of the Seniors for a fantastic experience. And particular thanks to the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Councillors who have the most comfortable chairs imaginable!
Finally, M. Boudreau would like to thank Mr. Thompson of the Technology Dept. For ironing out all the technical glitches which nobody else could understand. Technology is wonderful when it works!
©1999 PACE 2000 International Fondation