Pupils from all four schools in Devon’s Cornerstone Academy Trust took part in the sixth annual Microsoft Global Learning Connection on 10-11 November. The event brought together students from all over the world in a variety of online activities designed to build as many global links, and accumulate as many virtual miles, as possible in just 48 hours.
Renowned for their use of digital technologies in teaching and learning, Broadclyst, Westclyst, and Monkerton Community Primary Schools in Exeter, and Yeo Valley Primary School in Barnstaple, involved their students from Reception to Year 6 – almost 1,000 pupils in total. They exchanged information about their cultures, and even gave performances, over pre-recorded and live video. Over the course of 25 calls using Microsoft’s Skype, Flipgrid, and Teams, the children covered five continents, virtually travelling 93,005 miles to countries including Malaysia, Spain, Austria, Japan, and Indonesia.
The event reinforced the trust’s mission to encourage curiosity and appreciation of diversity. Year 5’s virtual trip to Zambia included a safari and making traditional Zambian sweet cornbread. The students in Reception participated in a Japanese friendship project and observed traditional Indian dance, and Year 4 got an inside look into Hans Christian Andersen’s home culture through a virtual all-day trip to Denmark.
Students also made presentations about Remembrance Day, calculated the number of virtual miles they travelled, and practised using geographical language to guess the location of mystery Skype calls.
Chloe Farrant, International Coordinator and art teacher for Cornerstone Academy Trust shared her passion for this project: "Virtual platforms offer so many opportunities to forge new links and make new connections all around the world—this is essential in pupils’ learning, to help raise awareness of different cultures, values, and perspectives, as well as to help them grow into global citizens."