Today, Simon Sanchez High School will take student-led debates to the next level by hooking up a system that will allow Guam’s five public high schools to participate in the New Millennial Senatorial Debate via a virtual conference environment.
IT&E, one of the sponsors of the event, worked on the online platform allowing students from their respective school locations to participate in “real time” while the main debate proceedings are being held at the SSHS library in Yigo.
“The carrier has provided 4G service to all five schools, free of charge. Each school has its own laptop and its own multimedia projector. At 8 a.m., they’re going to log in to a specific channel devoted to the debate at Google Hangout and then schools will be able to ask questions through that medium. This has never been done before,” SSHS AP Government class adviser Andri Baynum said.
He said it took a month for the AP Government, Social Studies and Student Government Association classes to organize the event – a huge coordination effort – from calling teachers, principals, senatorial candidates, and local officials, to developing and agreeing on debate rules and format.
Starting 8:30 a.m. today, incumbents will be debating challengers from the opposing political party on critical issues and also address questions submitted by students. Baynum hopes the proceedings would encourage engagement and spirited competition.
Baynum sees the potential of using the virtual platform as a new tool for educating students on Guam.
“You know, if you have a guest speaker in another class, in another school, or from off island, then this type of technology can be utilized to bridge gaps between campuses,” he explained.
He further added: “I hope that in the next budget cycle, they will leave room for this. Specifically, work with some carriers on island to work on a competitive bid, if you will, to come up with a package that is suited just for the schools. That would be the ultimate goal for this project.”