Students at Bayville Primary School have been participating in videoconferences with classes of the same grade level from all over the country. These free events are occasions for children to learn about other areas of our world, as well as present information about Bayville to those students.

“It is an opportunity for our youngsters to hear first hand about other types of communities, as well as to gain presentation skills as they teach about their own community,” explained Bayville Primary librarian Stefanie Lipsey. Mrs. Lipsey organized the videoconferences through TWICE (Two Way Interactive Connections in Education), a National Education Association program. Using technology that the Locust Valley School District already owns, participants are able to see students in classrooms from anywhere in the world, and those children can see the Bayville students as well.

While preparing material to share in their classrooms and in the library, the Bayville Primary School population benefits from the research. One topic covered was “communities” in which descriptions of rural, suburban, and city were recited by various individuals. The students learned the material for their own presentation and then learned about the topics that the other school presented to them.

“It’s a fun way for the kids to learn, both from others and from themselves,” Mrs. Lipsey said. Sometimes the lessons are taught by teachers, offering the experience of having a guest speaker from anywhere in the world.

Bayville Primary School Assistant Principal Dorothy McManus applauded Mrs. Lipsey for taking the initiative to set up the videoconferences. “Finding creative ways to engage students in new topics is a wonderful thing,” she stated. “To do so using programs that are free is a big plus and all of the teachers have done work in their classrooms to enhance the videoconferences.” Some of the teachers are planning to correspond with classrooms that they visited as pen pals.