Teacher Meishan Spradlin usually begins her Mandarin Chinese class with a warm-up, with phrases such as “My name is” and “I am 13.”
A chorus of students echo the words back, but from two different classrooms: the class seated before her and the 8th graders on the television screen.
Spradlin, an instructor at World Language Academy in Flowery Branch, Ga., leads a class via teleconferencing Mondays through Thursdays at nearby Davis Middle School. The Hall County district, which includes Davis Middle and the World Language Academy, expanded its Chinese program in August. Chinese is now offered at the elementary and middle school levels, as well as in three high schools in the county, a curriculum change happening or being considered in many districts around the country, thanks, in part, to new technologies.
Teleconference technology is allowing Spradlin and possibly additional teachers in the future to reach more than one school in a class period.
Spradlin says she calls and connects to Davis Middle School in the morning, and the image of both classrooms is displayed on the screen at the front of the class.
A version of this article appeared in the October 20, 2010 edition of Digital Directions as Ga. Students Learning Chinese Via TV