Present day history came alive for 8th grade students at Knox County Middle School on February 16 during the school district’s first Skype classroom teleconference.
Students in Jeremy Ledford’s social studies class at KCMS participated in a live teleconference with Knox County resident Specialist Jeremy Patterson with the U.S. Armed Forces currently stationed in Baghdad, Iraq. The teleconference was coordinated by Kristen Hinkle, a student teacher from Union College who is interning in Ledford’s class this semester.
The students asked questions and learned more from Specialist Patterson during the teleconference. The questions were generated during previous lessons in the social studies class. Also present were Rev. Tom and Ann Patterson, parents of Specialist Patterson. Patterson’s parents spoke about how communication has advanced and allows them to communicate on a regular basis with their son. Ann shared stories with the students about communication methods her and Tom used when he was in the Vietnam War. She also shared a “mother’s perspective” of having her son in danger halfway around the world. Tom shared with students stories of his three tours of duty in the Vietnam War.
The idea for the teleconference was brainstormed by Hinkle to fulfill the community leadership requirement of student teaching. Technology for the teleconference was coordinated by Frank Shelton, public relations director for the district. Shelton currently jointly serves on the Ed Tech committee which develops innovative classroom uses for technology. The teleconference was recorded and is currently being shown on the district’s television channel and available online.
Also present for the Skype teleconference were Kelly Sprinkles, principal at KCMS, Marion Sowders, assistant superintendent of the Knox County Schools, Melinda Rice, college-based supervisor at Union College, and Mary Alice Lay and Milton Dunaway, teacher educators from Union College.