Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Skype lets Spring Hill kids see, chat with new friends in Vietnam

SPRING HILL — It used to be pen pals. Now it is e-mail buddies, students using a host of new electronic means to make friends around the world.

This year, Heidi Schlyer's fifth-grade students at Notre Dame Catholic School reached out to their e-mail buddies through Skype technology, which allows users to see the person to whom they are speaking.

And so it was one Sunday in March when the students went to school at 9 p.m. to talk to new friends halfway around the world in Vietnam.

"It was 8 a.m. in Vietnam," Schlyer noted.

The call lasted about an hour, and the children could see and speak with each other. "There was lots of screaming, laughing and giggling," Schlyer said. "Seeing each other's faces was really exciting for them."

The grand experiment, which concluded recently when the students gathered to sign a book containing photos and e-mails from their new pals, began in January when University of Central Florida professor Thomas Murray visited the class to tell them about the country.

Murray had visited the school last year when Schlyer was teaching first grade and he had a grandson in the class.

A former student of Murray's, Liz Henderson, now teaches at the Singapore International School in Da Nang in Vietnam. She and Schlyer, who were introduced last year, instantly connected.

The Notre Dame students went to their newly revamped technology lab when it was time to e-mail their buddies. Henderson used a list from Schlyer to match their students. The number of children didn't exactly match, so a few Notre Dame fourth-graders were invited to participate.

As the students corresponded, they got to know their counterparts and vise versa. The friendships were highlighted when they got to meet them on a big, white Smart Board during the Skype call.

"They learned they were so similar," Schlyer said. Both cultures include soccer, baseball, pets, computers and similar subjects in school.

Lots of photos were taken to remember the call and to help illustrate the next part of the project, a book of memories dubbed Good Morning From Viet Nam. Students wrote reflections and drew pictures of their relationships and what they had learned about their friends.

The book also contains photographs of Murray teaching them and of the Skype call. The students commemorated the events by signing the quarter-inch-thick book.

Lindsey Statler, 11, was pals with Mary (she didn't know her last name). "I learned that she has two dogs and a sister," Lindsey said. "Her house is very colorful. I think it's more colorful than most houses. We both like animals, and hopefully we'll be able to get together some day. She's 11, also."

Kyle Lovelock, 11, met Orion Leen Verduijn. "We're alike because we both like soccer and we both like playing sports. Vietnam, even though they're a different country, they're very much like our country," Kyle said.

"He said that in Vietnam where he lives, their school is like our school, but in other places it's kind of poor. He said he wants to help them when he grows up. He would like to become an engineer."

Skype lets Spring Hill kids see, chat with new friends in Vietnam 06/09/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 9, 2011 6:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Les Miller on Charlottesville: 'This is not what we should about'

    Blogs

    TAMPA -- In the aftermath of the violent protests in Charlottesville, Va., and ahead of today's continued conversation on Tampa's Confederate monument, Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller on Wednesday looked to inspire unity in an invocation that a colleague called "inspirational."

    Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller prayed for unity during Wednesday's Hillsborough County Commission meeting, following the violent protests in Charlottesville that left 19 injured and one dead.
  2. Here's what Florida's gubernatorial contenders say about removing Confederate monuments from public lands

    Blogs

    Gwen Graham: "Our state's role in the Civil War and the deplorable promotion of slavery still cause deep pain today. We all have a responsibility to combat racism and hate wherever it …

    Protesters climb the Confederate Memorial in Tampa on Sunday night after more than 200 people marched down the streets of downtown Tampa to protest white supremacy. Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Hillsborough Flaggers plan are standing guard now to protect the statute.
  3. Here's what Florida's gubernatorial contenders say about removing Confederate monuments from public lands

    Blogs

    Gwen Graham: "Our state's role in the Civil War and the deplorable promotion of slavery still cause deep pain today. We all have a responsibility to combat racism and hate wherever it …

    Protesters climb the Confederate Memorial in Tampa on Sunday night after more than 200 people marched down the streets of downtown Tampa to protest white supremacy. Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Hillsborough Flaggers plan are standing guard now to protect the statute.
  4. U.S. teen drug overdose deaths inch up after years of decline

    Health

    NEW YORK — After years of decline, teen deaths from drug overdoses have inched up, a new U.S. government report shows.

    OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vt. A report found drug overdose deaths among U.S. teens inched up in 2015 after years of decline. The report was released on Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [AP (2013)]
  5. UF denies white supremacist Richard Spencer's request to speak on campus

    College

    Citing "serious concerns for campus safety," University of Florida leaders have denied white nationalist Richard Spencer's application to speak on campus next month.

    White nationalist Richard Spencer (C) and his supporters clash with Virginia State Police in Lee Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering Aug. 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Va. [Getty Images]