Internet Teaching From Japan

October 24, 2007 - Posted at 7:45 p.m. CDT

CARAWAY - First it was the steamship, then the jet plane, now it's the Internet that's shrinking the world.

Brenda Hutcheson, a gifted and talented teacher from the Riverside Public School district is in Japan for three weeks A visit funded by the Fulbright Memorial Fund. . During her stay she is making several Internet visits to all the schools in her school district.

During her trip she has made regular reports back to her schools via an Internet connection, today she was surfing in to Riverside Junior High in Caraway and she says she needed this visit for more than educational purposes.

"I think that's its amazing that I am a world away but I'm right next door being able to talk to the students. I was just a little bit homesick today and seeing them just made things a lot better for me . "

What I thought as one of the coolest things about this Internet hook up is that kids can come up, get on the web cam and ask Mrs Hutcheson questions and she could tell them what she was experiencing in Japan right now, where by the way it was eleven thirty, Thursday night.

And the questions the students asked showed a deep curiousity about the country.

"do you have to take baths in front of everybody?

"have you used one yet?" (referring to a certain piece of oddly built bathroom hardware.

"is it salmon and eggs or what is it?"  Are we talking sushi here?

And the answers were .... not me, have to and  Hutcheson, "a lot of it is raw, a lot of raw fish."

One of the first students to talk to Mrs. Hutcheson today was someone special, her grandson hunter who thought is was a very special and unusual occasion.

Hunter told me, "it's not like you can talk to people over across the world all the time. "

9th grader Kyley Campbell was also impressed by the technology, "I thought it was really neat that she could be over in japan and we can still see her and talk to her."

Of course the stateside hookup couldn't be possible without a technical wizard at this end. John cook the technology coordinator  says  it's not that hard.

"It's not difficult at all, the computer is the one that does all the work for us, it's all in the software, all I have to do is hook it up."

John says at all these sessions the kids are amazed with the technology to bring a teacher into the classroom from thousands of miles away. And like the students John can't wait for Mrs. Hutcheson to get back to answer his question.

"Well I'm like the kids about the bathroom, I think that having a toilet that can sing to you is pretty cool."

School officials say Mrs. Hutcheson is about halfway through her trip with about another week and a half till her return.