Small World Summit 2024: That's Strange, But Why?

On the 8th of February 2024 learners over 150 learners from Switzerland, India, Germany and Scotland took part in the Small World Summit 2024. We are delighted to share the story of the summit with you all and hope that it inspires you to break down geographical barriers!


The opening slide for the Small World Summit with the Memoji's of learners and teachers.

The Idea

The idea for the summit was born from a prior project by Swiss ADE Peter Mandak. After sharing his project with some fellow ADE's at the EMEIA Institute last summer we decided to team up and bring our learners together across borders. The theme of the summit was 'That's strange, but why?'. Students looked at, shared and explored things within their cultures that others might find odd and intriguing. We hoped that by exploring these things together pupils would be able to build an appreciation for and understanding of cultural differences.

How It Worked

Before the summit learners worked individually or in small groups locally using iPads to prepare something creative to share that celebrated, showcased or explored an element of their culture. We gave them the freedom to choose their means of expression but limited them to two to three minutes per presentation.

On the day pupils joined a meeting (hosted on Webex) across three different time zones and four geographical locations. They joined either 1:1 on their school iPad or 1:2 on school iPads. After and introduction and some starter activities, learners were split into age groupings and subsequent smaller groups to share their presentations.

How It Went

We started off with a period allowing everyone to get familiar with the technology and join the meeting, during this time students were able to get to know each other a little bit by posting and commenting on a Padlet where they added polls, maps, music, images and text and commented on each others postings.

We then kicked off with a cultural exchange of language with our ‘Word Jam’ in Mentimeter:


Which resulted in a multilingual word cloud where we, as the grown up hosts, were able to model sharing and respectful discussion by choosing a word from the cloud and explaining it to others.

Participants then broke off into groups where they shared their presentations and listened to others. We learned about all kinds of thing from an ancient Indian martial art called Silambam to giant German volcanoes through to the Loch Ness monster and school life in Switzerland.

We ended with another Padlet, this time a reflection activity. And in a special surprise we all unmuted to sing Happy Birthday in our own language to some participants who had recently celebrated birthdays.

What Learners Thought

As Peter neatly summarised in his opening speech, we saw this as an opportunity for students to learn with and from from each other.


When we asked learners something they had learned during the summit they had this to say:


When we asked what surprised them they said:


When we asked why they thought it was good to connect with other learners from around the world they said:


If you've made it this far into the post thank you so much for your interest in our project. We had a lot of fun bringing this to life and it was a joy to see and hear learner's reactions to each others cultural tales and tidbits. Roll on Small World Summit 2025!

Many thanks,

Kerry Abercrombie (Scotland), Peter Mandak (Switzerland), Daniel Sundaram (India) and Leo Freund (Germany)


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