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School uses video conferencing to educate pupils

A West Sussex school has been experimenting with video conferencing services to help better prepare its children with special educational needs for the real world.

Teachers at Sackville School, a mainstream school in East Grinstead, have increasingly been turning to information technology in an attempt to engage and educate its pupils about skills that aren’t easy to teach in the classroom.

Such skills include the reading of body language and communicating effectively with others; things that may perhaps one way help the school children find jobs, reports guardian.co.uk‘s teacher network.

Anne Jakins, Sackville’s special needs co-coordinator, explained that the school has been conversing with Finnish students using video conferencing in particular in an attempt to capture the imaginations of their pupils.

“They realised the thing they had in common was they would soon be leaving school, so we did a project on interviewing skills and non-verbal communication, to show all the body language you use in an interview,” Ms Jakins said.

“It gives them a different kind of focus. They become more self-aware and because it is unusual they make more effort. They realise they’re representing their school,” she added.

Ms Jakins highlighted that the secondary benefit of turning to computer technologies is that students sometimes excel when using their IT skills over their literacy.

International projects such as Sackville School’s are often funded and encouraged by organisations such as the British Council, which can donate funding of up to £1,500 per school to pay for similar initiatives, says schoolsonline.britishcouncil.org.