BRIDGING the Gap in West Virginia

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In January 2018, a daylong workshop for teachers starting the BRIDGE Program in Spring 2018 took place. Nine educators from nine different schools in West Virginia came to South Middle School in Martinsburg, WV for the training. The workshop prepared educators for the online course and for connecting with teachers from other countries, as well as reviewed the essentials of online exchange and project-based learning. Teachers received hands-on training and guidance in using the iEARN online platform, reviewed their curriculum, planned for integrating project activities in the classroom, and learned best practices for engaging professionally online and preparing students to participate in online exchanges. During the workshop, teachers were able to have first-hand video conferencing experiences as they connected with previous BRIDGE educators from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Palestine, and Israel. They also got to see a class-class synchronous video conference take place between a class at South Middle and one in Israel.

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“Through the BRIDGE program, we really had to learn how to go through the website and know the protocols for when you are speaking with people in another country...Some of the assignments were how to introduce ourselves, how to build a global community by connecting with other teachers in other schools and also talking about the challenges and opportunities we have had.” Cindy Evarts (quoted from "Teachers working to BRIDGE the gap" by Adranisha Stephens)

After the workshop, South Middle School hosted their Social Studies Night, which included a social studies project fair and an awards ceremony. The event was attended by teachers, students, family members, and the community. At the event, there was a BRIDGE exhibition, which featured a presentation about BRIDGE, student-produced final videos from BRIDGE projects, and recognition for the educators that completed BRIDGE in Fall 2017. It was a wonderful day of introducing new teachers to BRIDGE, and celebrating work that BRIDGE teachers did in the fall!