Videoconferencing between BBPS Dwarka and Westhoughton School UK
The moderator of the conference was Ms Joe Malone she did an excellent job by making both school exchange the activities conducted and the school curriculum. After the basic general discussions the focus shifted to the exchange of views of the main global issues surrounding the world at the present. It was interesting to see the similarities in views between the students sitting in different continents separated by sea. Then the opportunity was given to students to ask questions directly to each other. The questions revolved around the topics of their understanding of faith, what can a student contribution to resolve the world issues discussed? Bal Bharati students raised an important issue of ‘whether religion and spirituality synonymous?’ Students also discussed the various activities conducted in their respective schools under the program of face to faith. The student’s view regarding the Government’s role in managing world issues was also taken up. Commenting on import and impact of Videoconferencing Ms Jo Malone said,” I thought there were some interesting outcomes in terms of their top priorities regarding global concerns and what governments should do about these issues, and also some interesting points raised regarding faith and identity.”
The workshop ended by sharing the ways in which Christmas is celebrated in the respective countries. The students of Bal Bharati got an opportunity to know more about Christmas. Now, while performing a ritual they will be aware of the significance of it and this will increase their faith on it. Mrs. Simmi Kher, India Coordinator, Face to Faith Programme applauded everyone by saying “It was one of the best and intense Video Conference I have witness and it makes me feel proud and satisfied that the young of today are involved in such meaningful dialogues.”
The videoconference helped students to widen their knowledge. This was a step, an opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that awaits us
Mrs. Abha Adlakha
Face to Faith Project connects Bal Bharti, Dwarka to UK schools through Video Conference
Across the seas, in a conference room students of Bal Bharati Public School, Dwarka and students of Westhoughton School, UK sat talking to each other as if they were in the same room on 15th December 2009. This was made possible by the Face to Faith Programme of Tony Blair Faith Foundation which aims to offer an authentic and meaningful environment in which students can develop key 21st century skills such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking and problem-solving. It also aims to improve young people’s cultural/religious literacy, which is a vital skill in an increasingly complex, global society.
Eyes glued to the plasma screen television and speaking to their peers at Westhoughton students were eloquent, honest and curious - which is a great starting point for any successful Video Conference. They had obviously really taken in the messages about communicating honestly in a respectful way.
The Video Conference began with some general hellos and chit chat about the weather and so on. The students then asked one another questions about their schools and school days, e.g. when school day starts and ends, what subjects they study, what IT facilities they have, etc. There was good and equal participation from both sides. The conversation then moved on to the most important issues in the world today. Issues highlighted were: world hunger, poverty, disease (malaria, HIV, cancer), global warming, natural disasters, human trafficking, terrorism, animal extinction and recession. The discussion then hinged around what individuals could do to help to deal with these issues, and what their experiences of raising money, and/ or campaigning were, and also what they thought governments should do. When Elliott from Westhoughton mentioned about Western government giving aids to Developing nations, Vaihav from Bal Bharti offered further suggestions on this point. This showed that they were really listening to one another and probing deeper, clarifying further and reflecting more deeply.
The conversation was then steered onto the topic of faith. A student from Bal Bharti asked whether the concept of faith varies from person to person. Westhoughton responses included – yes, it does, because there are people of different faiths in school. Then a very eloquent response from Bal Bharti was made where one student explained why they believed faith was a matter of individual interpretation and reflection.
There were some interesting outcomes in terms of their top priorities regarding global concerns and what governments should do about these issues, and also some interesting points raised regarding faith and identity.
Present on the occasion were Dr. Nigel Fancourt from Warrick University, UK and Mrs. Simmi Kher, India Coordinator, Face to Faith Programme. In Simmi’s words “It was one of the best and intense Video Conference I have witness and it makes me feel proud and satisfied that the young of today are involved in such meaningful dialogues.”
Overall it was a mesmerizing experience and will be fondly etched forever in memory of everyone present there.