This was arranged by Mr Wilj Dekkers who happened to know the classroom teacher in the International School run by Shell Oil. In fact, the Skype session happened over two days, with the initial session struggling for consistent internet connectivity (they had experienced a massive snow dump the night before which may have contributed to the problem). If anything, this taster added to the suspense for the students and also allowed Mr Dekkers to coach the the students on formulating effective questions, listening carefully to the responses given from the students and using the various atlases and computers to research more effectively:
When the students managed to reconnect, the quality of the call was significantly better, allowing the two classes to freely ask questions back and forth with these having a strong focus on geographical locations such as
- Are you north of the equator?
- Is your country land locked?
- Does it snow often in your country?
- Do you use the Euro as a currency?
The students were required to ask closed questions that could be answered as “Yes” or “No” and quickly realised from this that there was a real skill in being able to formulate a useful closed question.
In the end the students from St Andrew’s College managed to guess the capital city of “Moscow” leading to the inevitable question of “Are you in Russia?”, whereby our new friends followed with “Are you kiwis?” They then shared some interesting facts about their school, including:
- It’s an international school with all of them being there because their parents are connected with the Oil Industry
- There are ~140 students in their school, made up of 33 nationalities
- They were about to head outside and play in the snow and it was -10 Celsius (it has to get to -20 to -25 degrees Celsius before it’s too cold outside to play.
The St Andrew’s students then performed a rousing waiata to finish off the very enjoyable Skype session: