PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to report the implementation and outcomes of the “Open Wings” project, a continuing effort to create a community of self-directed elementary school learners and to enhance their homonomy. Technology-enhanced international videoconference presentations resulted in both knowledge gains and attitude changes. These, in turn, inspired creative, collaborative interdisciplinary projects through which students demonstrated that they could embed themselves in contexts that contribute to homonomous identification and development.Design/methodology/approachOver the 2015-2016 school year, interactive international videoconferences were delivered to first and sixth grade classrooms in two elementary schools in Athens, Greece. Topics included a personal immigration story and responsible citizenship. Impact was measured quantitatively by a pre-test/post-test design that measured changes in knowledge and attitudes and qualitatively by student group projects at six stations inspired by e-reflect methodology.FindingsStudents demonstrated gains in factual knowledge and changes in attitudes toward immigrants and refugees. Individual and group work at each station revealed that they could plan, research, and present projects that demonstrated their personal sense of self and their place in the community.Originality/valueWith many in Greece directly affected by the economic crisis and an influx of refugees and immigrants, students feel they have no control over their lives and become fearful of outsiders. Even when resources are limited, innovative use of learning technologies can help educate students in the prescribed curriculum and guide them beyond hopelessness to see themselves as empowered individuals who can enrich their own lives and those of their communities.
The International Journal of Information and Learning Technology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 6, 2017