The Ottumwa Courier


April 25, 2013

Cardinal students Skype with children at Ugandan orphanage


Infusing classrooms with the latest technology has been the Cardinal School District's game plan ever since it was named a one-to-one school during the 2008-09 school year. Between Greiner and fellow second-grade teacher Stephanie Ferrell's classes, the students share iPads and Macbooks.

"It's great because most of these kids don't get this opportunity at home," Greiner said. "Around 60 percent of the children are on free-reduced lunch."

"Remember, this is an orphanage," Greiner told the students before the Skype session was initiated. "These kids go to a home without parents, so it's a little different than how you go home at night."

When the faces of the Ugandan children popped up on the screen at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, it was 5:30 p.m. in Uganda. This was a notion some of the students couldn't quite wrap their heads around.

"Well, sometimes the earth goes around, and they're on the other side of the earth, so ..." one boy explained.

The half-hour Skype session began with the Ugandan children singing a song to applause and cheers from the Eldon classroom. The Cardinal second-graders then began clamoring to ask questions, from what kind of musical instruments the Ugandans played to what pets they had to their favorite singer.

The Ugandan students came back with more questions, their grinning faces bouncing in and out of frame, looking for an opening to ask a question or wave. What's the name of your school? How many subjects do you have? What color are your uniforms? What do you want to be when you grow up?

"I like when we get to ask questions," said second-grader Grace Eakins.

Second-grader Jean Brimmer said the Ugandan accent was a little difficult to understand.

"But it was exciting to listen to them, to their different accents," she said.

Greiner said she hopes Wednesday's Skype session with the Ugandan children wouldn't be a one-time thing.

"They've caught my heart," she said.



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