Prepping For A Global Conversation With My Students

John Schmitt, Educator at Brooklyn Collaborative School (BCS)

On Thursday, April 21st, 9 BSC students participated in a live webcast with young Syrian refugees through two organization called Students Rebuild (SR) and Global Nomads Group(GNG). GNG is committed to global citizenship, connecting young people around the world through technology and unique experiences like the webcast. BCS was able to take part in this experience through the tremendous work of our Crews, making pinwheels and generating $3,000 towards helping the refugee crisis!

Students met after school the day before the webcast to learn more about the current crisis for Syrian refugees, and to learn more about the conflict that is causing so many people to be uprooted from their homes.

BCS was given 10 Google Headsets called Google Cardboard, which almost by magic transform a cell phone into a full 3D immersive experience! Their journey took them to a Syrian refugee camp in neighboring Jordan, a story told through the eyes of a 12 year-old girl named Sidra, who is one of 130,000 people staying in Zaatari Refugee Camp, being administered by the United Nations. Learn more about the VR experience here: http://vrse.works/826/clouds-over-sidra-wins-sheffield-docfest-award/

Students also used a curriculum developed from Students Rebuild, tailored to fit our school’s core practices. We developed an engaging and beautiful artifact that connects the root causes (roots), current problems (trunk), and effects (branches and leaves) of the conflict.

The next day, students took part in the webcast along with over 180 other schools, and got to hear students from NJ ask questions and field questions from Syrian students living in the camp in Jordan.

Overall, it was an incredible experience to connect BCS to a very different, important part of the world! Students all remarked how they hope to do more to raise awareness and contribute to helping the plight of Syrians looking for a place to find relief.

(Huge shoutout to Mai for helping facilitate the Students Rebuild initiative and arranging for the Google headsets to be delivered! And, thank you to Grace Lau from Students Rebuild for all of her time and efforts in onboarding BCS into the VR experience and the webcast, along with the terrific curriculum! BCS definitely looks forward to the next Students Rebuild opportunity!)