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Students in Christina Connors's Family and Consumer Science class at "traveled" to Ghana in Africa last week using the district's video conferencing technology.
The middle schoolers interacted with students from the Akoma Ntoso Cultural Center in Cape Coast, Ghana for about an hour. The middle school students worked on a cooking unit earlier this year in which they looked at what people eat in various regions of the world and how that diet impacts health.
More recently, the class are currently using money and time management skills to plan a vacation to Ghana. They have a set amount of money and time to investigate what there is to do, and write a journal about their "adventure."
The Ghanaian students were joined by some of their teachers in discussing a wide variety of topics. The "trip" began with a demonstration of how they make some of their favorite dishes. LCBMS students were able to watch as the Ghanaian students used foods and materials native to their country to create three meals.
The students from Ghana and the Lakeland middle school students exchanged questions and information ranging from what they like to read, favorite games, food, pets, the two cultures, and how they dress. The middle schoolers found out that in Ghana they like to play Xbox and watch the Food Channel there with "Chopped" much as students do in the United States.
"It was fun to see how and what they cook," Alyssa Monte said. "It was cool to talk to people across the world."
Brandon DiDomenico said he liked "talking to people on the other side of the world and seeing some of their culture."
"I liked seeing the people and learning about their lifestyle and their cooking," Sophie Kropf said.
Their teacher Connors made the connection with the Cultural Center through a list of providers the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC.) The Lakeland School District has expanded its use of the video conferencing technology to provide learning opportunities not available to students due to distance or cost.
This year the district will participate in more than 100 programs, both classroom to classroom and with content providers, according to Linda Brandon, director of Instructional Technology.
"And every first grade class connects to another first grade in the district through our project, 'Flying High with Videoconferencing,' she said.
This was Lakeland's first conference with Africa.