In recognition of World Good Deeds Day today, we spoke with one of our Skype in the Classroom Guest Speakers, Justin Miles about the #SpoonAppeal– a charitable initiative he helped to set up which provides much-needed spoons to help prevent the spread of diseases and keep children in school.
Justin Miles is a professional adventurer, or explorer – or whatever! In his own words “I don’t care what job title I have. I get to go to the most awesome places on Earth, do some really cool stuff when I get there and I meet the most amazing people along the way!” His adventures take place in polar, mountain, jungle and desert regions and are all used to support global education projects, to engage with schools around the world and to support various charities. He has already virtually traveled 872,710km with Skype. We managed to catch Justin in between his travel and adventures to learn more about the #SpoonAppeal and how he’s building up support with the help of Skype in the Classroom.
Thanks for taking time out to talk with us, Justin! Could you tell us a bit more about the Spoon Appeal and how you got involved?
The idea for the #SpoonAppeal came after I spent some time in East Africa with an organisation called ‘Girl Child Network’. We visited some really remote schools where compulsory education is a relatively new concept and the GCN team introduced me to the barriers to education, and one of those barriers was disease. When I was there the children were eating their food with their fingers so I asked why they weren’t eating with spoons; the answer was that they simply couldn’t afford to buy them! Spoons are everywhere and most of us have many that we never use, so I thought ‘why not ask people to send their unused spoons over to these schools?’. However, the idea for the #SpoonAppeal runs far deeper; it’s a vehicle for introducing children to the challenges of universal education provision.
Will you be visiting the area again?
Yes! I’m planning a trip out to Kenya again very soon to meet the schools that I visited last time and visit many more.
How many classrooms have you spoken to about it via your Skype Lesson?
I have no idea- probably hundreds! I’m always talking about the #spoonappeal everywhere, all of the time and I talk with two or three schools a day through Skype Classroom.
What has been the reaction from the students you have spoken to around the world about this via your Skype Lesson?
Children all over the world over are getting engaged with the #spoonappeal. It’s such a simple way for people to get involved with making education happen and it’s a great way of introducing children to the global education crisis.
If there is one thing teachers can do with their students for World Good Deeds Day, what would you recommend?
The one thing that teachers can do with their students is to do something! Too many people, all around the world, see campaigns like this and then do nothing, but if everyone did something just imagine the difference that could be made!
How did you start using Skype in the Classroom?
I stumbled across Skype Classroom entirely by accident around eighteen months ago but since then I’ve relied on it as an excellent platform for taking my expeditions and adventures into classrooms all around the globe. I speak with about 4000 children a month; sometimes more, sometimes a little less. The number of teachers using Skype Classroom as a way of bringing something new to their lessons is definitely rising, and I’ve noticed a very pronounced increase in the diversity of countries using the platform too. When I first started nearly all of my sessions were with schools in the US and Canada but now I speak with schools literally all around the world.
What is the most memorable Skype Classroom call you have had?
My most memorable session? Wow – that’s a tough one! I can honestly say that every session brings something new and every session leaves me feeling inspired to do more.
What do students learn during a Skype Lesson with you?
Hopefully children learn loads through my sessions! I cover, or touch on, a range of subjects and I try to leave the children asking loads of questions which the teachers can then use as a basis for lessons, from animal adaptations to history and even math!
How did you become a ‘Professional Explorer’?!
I decided to turn my passion for adventure in to my profession after a car accident left me having to learn to walk and talk again at the age of 26. I didn’t just want to ‘do stuff’, I wanted to use my experiences to open the world up to people who weren’t in a position to travel, to give children a ‘window to the world’ as it is now, to inspire children to learn and experience more as a vehicle for bringing education to those who currently don’t have access to it… and to have fun!
Although it’s World Good Deeds day today, any day is a good day to get involved and make a difference!
Teachers: You can view and register for Justin’s Spoon Appeal lesson here – Justin is also giving away a set of his books to the person who submits the best Sway- more details on the page.
Parents: Why not ask your school to get involved with Skype in the Classroom so your kids can experience the world live from their classrooms?