If Skype Classroom and Google Hangouts existed when I was in middle school, I might have been a better student.
I was a kid who always needed a lifeline from the classroom to the world. Field trips, guest speakers, and documentaries account for most of what I recall from my days of primary and secondary education, however infrequent they were. There's just something to be said for hearing directly from the world's experts, doers, shakers and makers.
Mr. G, an 8th grade science teacher in Guelph, Ontario, is on a quest to do more of just that - physical barriers no matter. His classroom's mission: connect with 50 scientists, explorers and conservationists through Skype. Joining an expedition on an active volcano in Italy, chatting with Fabien Cousteau from the bottom of the ocean, and hanging out in an Adele Penguin colony in Antarctica barely scratch the surface of his classroom's connections thus far.
So I was both honored and excited when Mr. G reached out to include me as part of the mission. We talked about everything from my work on climate change adaptation to lemurs in Madagascar to challenges of being out in the field for long periods of time. And, it turns out 14 year olds will ask you deep, thought-provoking life questions when you're least expecting it ("So with your job, what do you actually do everyday?")
Thank you, Mr. G and @SkypeClassroom for helping bring the world into the classroom - we need more teachers and platforms like you!
Mr. G's great write-up and photos/video clips from our Skype lesson: