Video Conference between representatives of Mawuko Senior Girls's High School, Carlo-Mierendorff-Schule and HITA e.V.

After a relatively long time, a video conference with representatives of the Mawuko Senior Girls's High School, the Carlo-Mierendorff-Schule and HITA e.V. took place on July 20th shortly before the summer vacations in Hessen. Up to 9 participants* took part. It is always surprising how good - despite the great distance of almost 6,000 km - the connection quality is and how great the added value of the image is. The peculiarities of the image compared to the word are the basis for the advantages of image communication. According to Doelker (1997/2002, pp. 52-60), these special features can be described - in distinction from the word - with four characteristics: Ambiguity, concreteness, spatiality, and immediacy of emotional impact. Depending on the respective communication content, pictorial representations are characterized by a whole range of advantages that can have a positive effect in communication. These include:
  • high communication speed
  • almost automatic recording without major mental effort
  • particularly efficient information processing through the images
  • subtle transmission of attitudes and feelings
  • high credibility
  • high degree of clarity and thus general comprehensibility (cf. Schierl 2001, p. 286).
Based on our experience so far, we would add three more aspects:
  • Easier overcoming of language barriers
  • Greater proximity between stakeholders, which in turn leads to easier and perhaps more open communication
  • Easier to build relationships even over distance.
The last aspect is a very crucial one for our work with colleagues over long distances. Video conferencing or web meetings open up the option of allowing teams to come together across borders and distances - at any time. This allows teams to work together on topics that would otherwise be difficult for the participants to discuss due to the local distance. As a result, interactions with each other increase and important topics can be discussed promptly, in a targeted manner and with a high level of commitment. After a more detailed round of introductions, due to the high turnover in the schools new teams had to be formed, today we worked as a team on the following common topics:
  • On a joint Internet presence. In particular, this involved the creation of profiles of the schools and the key people. In addition, we want to create introductory videos that will then be made available on YouTube
  • Longer-term activities in the school partnership, including exchange opportunities for interns and teachers through the ASA or similar programs.
  • On joint activities in the context of special events: for example, the German partners want to contribute to the 40th anniversary of the Mawuko Senior Girls' High School in November. Conversely, we discussed how, for example, the Ghanaian School can support the Carlo Mierendorff School's Africa Day in the fall. For example, we at HITA e.V. want to support schools in offering video conferencing between schools on these occasions
  • Another important topic was the establishment of a computer club in the upper school of the Carlo-Mierendorff-Schule, which will take care of the preparation of PC computers and laptops, which will then be made available to schools and educational institutions in Ghana. What a great project, in which students from Germany support their colleagues in Ghana directly and sustainably!
  • Last but not least, the colleagues reported on an incident that has far-reaching consequences for teaching and especially for the taking of so-called e-exams (computer-based exams). Due to a power failure or overloads, several laptops and PCs donated by us were recently destroyed.
We from HITA e.V. promised to help quickly and unbureaucratically. For this we need your help! We are quickly looking for several PCs and/or laptops to transport to Ghana in the next few weeks. If you have private or professional access to computers or would like to support us with a monetary donation, please contact us directly: either by email or by phone 015678 952247. Another way to help would be to bring laptops if you were to travel to Ghana yourself or know someone who is traveling there. Thank you very much. Literature: - Doelker, Christian (1997/2002): A picture is more than a picture. Visuelle Kompetenz in der Multimedia-Gesellschaft, third, revised edition, Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta 2002. - Schierl, Thomas (2001): Text and Image in Advertising. Conditions, effects and applications in advertisements and posters, Cologne: Halem 2001