"Do you ever get days outside the prison?"
The tweet caught my eye. I had stumbled upon what I would call David Billiikopf's version of Connections-based Learning as I was scrolling through my twitter stream.
Do you ever get days outside the prison? Do you get to go home sometimes, or do you go out to do special activities sometimes? #norwask— Henny Karine (@HennyKarine) December 9, 2015
I had to check this out. I looked deeper.
#norwask @DavidBillikopf Do you celebrate Christmas or other holidays at the detention center or do you go home?— Liv Smith-Sivertsen (@LivMullerss) December 9, 2015
There was some activity going on here that shocked the pants off me. Could I have really stumbled on student conversations from the comforts of the classroom to ones behind bars? I had.
A prison teacher, David Billikopf, was having his students communicate with Terje, a teacher from Norway. The students locked up in a juvenile correctional facility were learning about Norway while the Norwegian students were learning about the life of a student inmate. Amazing.
Of course. I had those internal questions: How can they maintain prisoner confidentially, is online management of behaviour an issue, basically ... How can you do this? But they were doing it. And doing it beautifully. You can read all about it here: Our Twitter Class Adventure Continues or follow the #norwask hashtag.
Questions posed by the students
It didn't stop there.
Mr. Billikopf's students began sharing poetry with their counterparts. Here is one shared over twitter:
ICYMI Poetry from incarcerated teens on being locked up! https://t.co/sI0S4Zgx2M pic.twitter.com/zq3bs72wln— David Billikopf (@DavidBillikopf) December 14, 2015
The response was so meaningful.
I think that your poem is strong. When you write It's like you tell your story. #norwask— Amalie.G. Nilssen (@amalie1001) December 11, 2015
And the story will continue. This is why human connection is so powerful. The interaction is genuine. A relationship builds. People are humanized. Crafting what is said and done becomes important. And learning happens. . .important, individualized, meaningful learning.