A group of Iowa educators leaves this weekend for China to attend a conference that’s drawing educators from around the globe. Lisa Schaa, of Stratford Elementary School in Hamilton County, is among the Iowa delegates who are heading for Beijing.

“We have an opportunity of a lifetime in that we’re going to be able to go to this conference,” Schaa says. The conference is called, “Joining Us At The Wall, We All Learn and Lead in China.” She says, “Basically, it’s students and educators who are together and collaborating on using 21st century skills.” Schaa says those skills include blogging, social networking and multi-media storytelling.

“Everybody participates in a group and comes up with different projects to do, trying to flatten our world so that we can show the kids that we’re all just people,” Schaa says. “It’s a way to get everybody involved in a conversation and promote global understanding for kids.”

Schaa says she and the other Iowans will visit the Great Wall and other tourist sites while spending the week in China. She says being from a rural area in an agricultural state like Iowa will make their group stand out a bit.

“We wanted to share with kids in Beijing what it’s like here in Stratford,” Schaa says. “We’re unique in that we’re so tiny. When we Skype with other students around the globe, we always tell them that we don’t have any stoplights in Stratford. Their mouths always drop open because most of these kids are from urban areas.” She plans to present some two-dozen copies a book about life in Stratford to students from Beijing and elsewhere.

The Iowa delegation will return home February 28th.

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City