The key to solving complex issues often starts with understanding people. With the theme of “Open Hearts, Open Minds”, Skype-a-thon 2017 strove to facilitate better understanding among people of cross-cultural differences in a fun and engaging way.
Held on 28-29 November 2017, the event saw students and educators participating from 90 countries around the world, travelling over 14.5 million virtual miles. Students played games, shared their cultures, worked on projects together, visited museums and space stations, interacted with experts and more—all within the space of two days! Here are some of the exciting highlights that took place across Asia:
In Indonesia, a week of Hour of Code activities culminated in a three-hour live Skype-a-Thon session involving 10 schools and over 350 participants!
During the Skype-a-Thon session, the eight winners of the Minecraft Education Competition held during Hour of Code Indonesia 2017 were announced. The session also featured guest speakers who shared their insights and perspectives on coding in education.
Guest speakers included Vicario Reinaldo from one of Indonesia’s most successful tech startups, GO-JEK. As the head of the company’s talent grooming program, Reinaldo encouraged students to hone both their technical and soft skills to thrive in the workplaces of today and the future.
Aranggi Soemardjan from Clevio Coder Camp provided insights on how teachers can leverage Minecraft: Education Edition to help students develop critical thinking, innovation, and problem-solving skills.
Benny Kusuma from Microsoft Indonesia highlighted ways in which educators can use the Minecraft: Education Edition in the classroom to translate real-life encounters into learning experiences. To demonstrate this, a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) Fellow showcased an intricate educational game he designed using the game, involving six stages set in different worlds.
Skype-a-Thon in the Philippines saw over 1,150 students in 71 classrooms travel a total of more than 250,000 virtual miles—more than the distance from Earth to the moon!
300 students from the Cotabato City Central Pilot School alone covered almost half of this distance. The students visited 14 different countries in just under two days, experiencing the dunes of Egypt to basking in the Tet festivities of Vietnam. Together, they explored the world and its various cultures and people—without stepping out of their classrooms.
Leading the students on these virtual trips around the world was Bai Sheina Kusain, a Microsoft Education Ambassador. “Despite all our different locations and time zones, there are no boundaries to learning,” she said. “With technology, it is now easier than ever for us to learn from and about people all around the world. All we need is an open heart, and an open mind.”
In Thailand, more than 2,200 students in 37 classrooms traveled a total of 170,000 virtual miles in Skype-a-Thon sessions held across the country.
Somporn Laothongsarn organized three Skype-a-Thon events for his students at Don Bang Pisai school. He connected his students with classrooms in Vietnam, Turkey, Spain and Bangladesh and organized cultural exchange activities such as guessing the national flag and played #SkypeKahoot.
Thai Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Ponthip Ponsungnern conducted several sessions and earned a badge for travelling over 50,000 miles with her students on Skype. In one session, her students connected with Jess, an educator from Curtin University, Australia. The students presented to Jess their favorite Thai food and were in turn given a virtual tour of Curtin University’s campus and gallery. They also performed a Thai traditional dance known as the Chui Chai Phram for Jess.
These were just some of the many highlights of Skype-a-Thon 2017 that took place here in Asia! Find out more about other Skype-a-Thon events that took place worldwide in this blogpost here or learn how to use Skype in your own classroom or school here.