Skyping from Ireland

Communicating with first graders authentically

Pictured here are Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny with the OWU travel-learning contingent that traveled to Ireland during spring break. Team members learned about the country's economy and political situation, and did some skyping with a first grade class along the way!

When OWU senior Kate Raulin traveled to Ireland during spring break to study the country’s current economy and political situation, she never dreamed that she would be Skyping with a group of first graders at a school in Hilliard, Ohio. Raulin’s travel-learning group of 10 students and politics and government professors Sean Kay and Joan McLean spent two weeks in Dublin, meeting with people in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, journalists with The Irish Times, and a group from the Defense Department.

“Being in Ireland for the second time re-confirmed my interest in the country and my thinking about possibly attending graduate school there,” says Raulin, an economics management major and politics and government minor from Silver Spring, Maryland. Skyping with the young Ohio students turned out to be an unexpected but pleasant experience.

“My OWU friend Holly Gilbert ’12, was student teaching at Ridgewood Elementary School, and the class was learning about St. Patrick’s Day,” recalls Raulin. Gilbert suggested the Skype session.

“I and another student on our trip, along with a woman from New Zealand, talked with the students as each first grader came up to the screen to ask us a question about Ireland,” says Raulin. “They wanted to know what the weather was like, what people there do on St. Patrick’s Day, and why the grass was so green where we happened to be standing.” Shortly after their 15- minute conversations, the young students sent the group a thank-you letter for taking the time to Skype with them.

Raulin traveled to Bangladesh last year to learn about global poverty.

“The travel-learning opportunities at OWU have enabled me to see different cultures and perspectives,” says Raulin. “I never thought I’d find myself at a rural village in Bangladesh.”

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