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SchoolNet Global and ABC-Gemini: The Initiating Partners
Click to go to John Cabot Website
Click to go to John Cabot Website
John Cabot City Technology College is a successful independent school serving Bristol UK and is situated in Kingswood in the North East of the City. John Cabot is one of only 15 independent schools specialising in a Science and Technology rich curriculum. The College is funded directly by the Government and there are no fees. Whilst the College is independent of Local Education Authorities, it works with them in many aspects of college life.

John Cabot is the only CTC in the South West of England and was opened in 1993 with a brand new innovative building. The College is designed for a maximum of 156 students per year group in Years 7 to 11 along with a sixth form of 240. There is a College uniform for students in Years 7 to 11 and business dress is expected in the sixth form.

City Technology Colleges were established by the Government to test new ways of working in schools and are considered to be amongst the most successful schools in the country. It is therefore John Cabot’s mission to be at the leading edge of developments and it is important for parents and students, when making their decision to come to John Cabot, to be aware of this aim.
</U>Click to go to Vasant Valley Website
Click to go to Vasant Valley Website
Supported by the India Today Group, Vasant Valley School opened in 1990 with 200 students and a staff of 16 in New Delhi. By 1998 there were 1000 students and a staff of 105. The school believes that education is a preparation for life and is an enjoyable, interactive and ongoing process that equips students to be thinking, caring and confident young adults.

Vasant Valley is committed to developing constructive citizens who are sensitive, open minded, creative and aware. The school's objective is to define a positive attitude, to help imbibe social and moral values and to encourage original expression. The emphasis here is on learning and not on teaching. In order to realise this vision, Vasant Valley has created an ambiance where children want to learn. Knowledge is not just imparted but students are trained to experiment, collate information, draw inferences and to arrive at their own conclusions.  
Dr. Baldev Singh is Head of Computing, and the E-Citizenship Co-ordinator at John Cabot City Technology College. Baldev set up the links with Nitya Ram, Head of the Computer Department at Vasant Valley School as part of the Gemini project.

Autonomous Learning - Collaborative Learning

Once the project was agreed to, the students, who are 11-12 years old, conducted their own background research on the Internet and in the school library. Baldev says,
"Students prepared Power-Point presentations on their findings about the conflict in Israel and Palestine, and contributed their own ideas to an online forum with students at Vasant Valley School. Students took control of the discussions, even continuing after the lesson had finished. Their views and ideas complement the international governments' official Road Map peace plan.The children's discussions illustrate commitment to pursuing projects together that will lead to positive outcomes.”

Cross-Cultural Understanding

Baldev continues, "The project is of enormous value to all the children involved. They are becoming autonomous learners and have gained a deeper understanding of the political arguments from both sides. They have come to appreciate the views and values of different communities in other countries and learned to understand and respect other cultures. They have experienced project-based learning and team working. The children have used ICT in a very imaginative and practical way to address a serious
issue in the real world."

These views are reflected by Nitya Ram, who says, "The most important benefit of working collaboratively was that our children realised that the difference between them and children across the world is not very great.They found that they used the same language and similar expressions. The two sets of children also converged on common ideas, so now they have learnt that people do not need to live close together to agree with each other, all people are citizens of the same globe and need to have common ideals, of which friendship and understandingare, perhaps, extremely important."

Baldev adds, "As a teacher, I have learned how to encourage autonomous learning, and have developed my role as a facilitator and e-teacher. It has been so exciting to see how the online forums have developed - the children have all made friends and have really enjoyed working together."

Nitya Ram is very excited about the possibilities of working collaboratively and says, "The project has really boosted students' general awareness - because our children are so excited with the medium of the discussion, they are putting in a lot of effort to understanding the problems of conflict."