This past Thursday (June 12) the Modesto and Kyoto students had a joint video conference in preparation for the coming visit by the Kyoto students to Modesto. The students will be participating in a joint three week summer school class in Modesto culminating a year online as part of the PacRimX project.
Students interacting face-to-face
The Modesto students were asked to bring props for this video conference, and many had funny outfits on during these face-to-face meetings. We had some connectivity issues with the California K12 High Speed Network video conference bridges, and this cut into the time the students had to interact. But overall things went pretty well. It was nice to see that the students are more at ease with each other now (as compared to last summer).
The students will be broken into teams (6 teams are planned) to produce a DVD of their visit to Modesto and their experiences while here. The Kyoto students will start capturing video and pictures as they depart from Kyoto to the US. During their visit there are weekly trips planned to Monterey, San Francisco and Marine World (now Six Flags Discovery Kingdom). While they are here both groups of students from the PacRimX project will be working in-world with the new Kyoto students back in Japan.
Several Modesto City Schools board members are planning on visiting the classes, as are several administrators, throughout the program. This will be a major milestone for this project, and it will set the tone for the future of this project. We just completed our computer lab upgrades and reimaging of the computers with a dual boot configuration that will resolve many of the issues we had with running SL in a network environment last year. The response from the Modesto students that have tested out the new configuration say it is a lot faster than last year.
We will keep a steady flow of updates to the blog during the next month. We are all very excited to see how these students interact with each other, and what outcomes will emerge from this highly anticipated visit. I am sure there will be a few friendships that emerge as well from this visit.