Tapped In Member Perspectives: Meet Donna Sautner
Donna teaches 7th grade U.S. History and Computers at the Donna Klein Jewish Academy Middle School in Boca Raton, Florida. She has been a member of Tapped In since 2005.
The 7th graders at Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton, Fla. are using the online virtual classroom forum Tapped In to communicate through web logging and a discussion board with 7th graders at a school in Israel. The students post their responses to different prompts created by both teachers. First, as a warm up activity, they investigated and compared how religious holidays are recognized in America and Israel. We hoped to enlighten the students as to how education leads to global tolerance through the understanding and acceptance of different cultures. Next, they visited a website that hosts many different websites and organizations that tackle racism through promoting tolerance through education. They visit the various websites and post questions and answers to each other to increase their exposure to the work that is being done to teach tolerance and fight discrimination. Many of our students will more than likely be able to meet their "web pals" face-to-face next year when they travel to Israel on a class trip. Thus far, the students have shared pictures but have not been able to arrange for a live chat due to the different time zones.
Our collaborative thinking has only just begun. We hope to continue to discuss various culture clashes that occur in the world today and apply education as the directive to grappling with these issues. We hope to brainstorm ways in which democratic education can be promoted and funded where it is desperately needed.
Luckily, Tapped In is free and does not have any time restraints. Students in Israel can log in whenever they have time in school or at home and the same goes for our students here in South Florida. The 7th grade students here get one class period per week in computers class to respond to the discussions. The online classroom hosts documents, web links, photos, and any file that can be stored by a computer. This allows us the freedom to work with our colleagues with relative ease and ample security.
As stated above, distance, language, and economic barriers do not exist as we are using Tapped In. As long as we have computers with an Internet connection, we have access to each other.