Armenian Students Interface Via the Internet

LOS ANGELES–The Narod Armenian Children’s Cultural Institute implemented an Internet Videoconference between students in Yerevan–Los Angeles and Marseilles–Saturday–May 9. This was the first ever Internet videoconference with Armenia using live video and voice–in addition to a "chat" session in Armenian–and the use of a "whiteboard" to dynamically share and interact with images and drawing tools.

The theme of the videoconference was a collaboration between the students during which they answered each-others’ questions regarding the locations and details of Armenian monumen’s. The students would find images of these monumen’s in Armenian Web sites–and would use the whiteboard to draw their locations on a map of Armenia–while they exchanged information via the video link and text in Armenian.

Participants in the conference were Schools #170 an #198 from Yerevan; Hamazkayin School in Marseilles–France; AGBU Marie Manougian School–Alex Pilibos Armenian School–and Chamlian Armenian School in Los Angeles.

Students from Alex Pilibos–Chamlian and Marie Manougian gathered at the Alex Pilibos School computer lab facilities to take part in this ground-breaking project.

The Armenia node of the conference was made possible by Arminco–the Internet Service Provider in Yerevan–under the project management of the Narod Network Project Yerevan technical coordinator–Ana Karakhanian.

Arminco volunteered substantial technical and human resources to this event–and hosted the more than twenty participating students in Yerevan.

Originally scheduled for 30 minutes–the conference lasted almost one-and-a-half hours due to the excitement of the participating students. In addition to the planned exercise–students exchanged greetings–general cultural–social and personal information over the video link–in an atmosphere of fun and intense collaboration.

"This program is a positive one–since it creates a live link between Diaspora and Armenian students," said Alex Pilibos principal Viken Yacoubian. "This is one of the best means through which a common denominator is established between Armenian students throughout the world and the Narod Institute must be commended in its efforts for bringing this technology to the forefront," he added.

One of the high points of the conference occurred when a student in Yerevan inquired about one of her counterparts in Los Angeles–with whom she had been exchanging email and collaborating through the Narod Network Project. Marie Lou Papazian–the Narod Institute director pointed out that this was exactly the kind of complementary functionality that a videoconference brings to the global activities of the Narod Network Project. "It is also significant," pointed out Papazian–"that the oral and written interaction between students naturally took take place in Armenian–the only language common to kids in Armenian–France and the US."

The Narod Institute–a subsidiary of the Ani and Narod Memorial Fund is devoted to enhancing the cultural and social lives of Armenian children around the world. Details of the Narod Network Project can be found at the Narod Institute website at www.narod.org. In the coming weeks–video excerpts and images of the May 9 conference will be made available at the website.

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