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Village Park Elementary, UK Students Talk Fairy Tales

Local fifth grade students take part in a special live international video conference with peers at St. Gregory's School in England.

Pennsbury students connect with students thousands of miles away to talk fairy tales.

Fifth grade students at Village Park Elementary School took part in a special live international video conference with peers at St. Gregory's School in Chorley, Lancashire in England. 

Students participated in a three-part series of live video connections to share information about their governments and their study of fairy tales -- particularly in light of the recent royal wedding -- as a tie-in with their social studies and English curricula.

“The fifth grade students at Village Park now have a better understanding of what England’s Parliament is all about,” Langtry said. “It was the first of three video conferences planned by teacher Eileen Koch, Librarian Jenn Dillon, and Educational Technology Associate Mandy Gancarz. This team of educators applied for a technology grant through the MAGPI located at the University of Pennsylvania. They were selected with three other teams from the state of Pennsylvania to bring their virtual plans to life in real time by connecting with students across the globe.”

The grant is titled, “A Royal Wedding Fairy Tale Exchange.” In an effort to engage students in current events, social studies, and writing, the students researched the American government and presented the information through a PowerPoint Presentation and posters. In turn, the students in England made a presentation about the Parliamentary government, along with interesting facts about the history and people of England, according to a news release. 

"This first-hand, virtual experience was enjoyed immensely by both classes and built excitement for the next two conferences in June and October,” Koch said.

The news release said that during the conference, students shared questions and answers about the royal wedding, government officials, hobbies and sports. Each class enjoyed the joint session and prepared excitedly for this follow-up session in June that will enable them to present their own original fairy tales to each other.

“We plan on sharing our differing perspectives about fairy tales," Koch said. “In England, fairy tales can come true, but here in American we still view them as fiction, since we do not have royalty. This wonderful grant provided us with the unique opportunity to teach across different curriculum areas and expand the geographic boundaries of our classrooms. When we are not meeting virtually, we keep in touch through our wiki page. The world is truly flat and we can learn from others regardless of our location in the world.”

MAGPI, The University of Pennsylvania's Internet2 hub, provides regional and Internet2 advanced network connectivity and education services to its member institutions in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Florida. MAGPI is committed to promoting advanced applications, collaborations, and services for the K20 research and education community through high performance networking technology. For more information about MAGPI, visit http://www.magpi.net

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