One of my favourite memberships is with a group called Hello Little World Skypers (HLW) Group. This group was started in Skype in Education by Katherine Zablatnik from the alps of Austria. Her passion for videoconferencing with others around the world has been joined with many like minded educators. This group has members from many countries – some highly skilled in technology and some not. All have a strong desire to bring the world into their classroom.
Australian time zones are one of the most difficult for connecting and videoconferencing with English speaking countries eg UK and USA, but ideal for communication in real time with Asia. This group includes educators from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Sth Korea, China etc.
The chat in skype is automatically saved and available for researching back in time. Conversations while I am asleep are accessible in my waking hours. A call will go out to see whether someone is available to videoconference with skype. If anyone is able to skype a class, they will respond in the chat. Videoconferencing with another class can take from 5 mins through to a formal presentation of 30 minutes or more.
Following are some of the elements of the group chat conversations in the last 24 hours :-
- From Govinda in Nepal, “Any one love to say Hi to my students now? Waiting” (A teacher in Taiwan helped him out.)
- rs-sundern “anybody else free for a “just to say hello!”- meeting?” I responded to this one. See more details below.
- HLW skypers cook book: Collaborating with the world – one recipe at a time. A recipe book is being compiled from across the countries on google documents. I Love some of the comments on these recipes: eg “ armandovezza: @Theresa- there’s one ingredient in your sugo recipe tht surprised me -vinegar!! Being of Italian origin, I’ve seen my mother make sugo all my life and never seen or heard of her doing that!” and another:- Added a recipe for “Rougail Saucisse” a Creole dish from the Reunion Island. “The Curry Peach soup looks nice, think I’ll try that soon!”
- A request from mariam: hello,every one. If some body knows an address for skypers who r interested in graphic and computer art design .thank u in advance
Global collaborative projects are discussed, technology tips/ resources are shared and there is often sociable chat helping us get to know each other better. Sebastian from India has taught my IT class about vedic maths, using Blackboard Collaborate. I have spoken to students from India about our farm and where I live. Students from Katherine’s class in Austria are intrigued by our Australian farm and its size etc. They were taken aback with our eating habits of eating the biggest meal of the day at night time! British students who were studying the weather asked me what the weather was like where I live and much, much more.
Tonight, and within three minutes of responding to re-sundern that I was available to skype with his class, I was transported to Germany via the web camera to talk to year 7 students about our drinking water on the farm. Water was their topic of study. I had a glass of our fresh rain water, on hand to show via the web camera.
Again the students were intrigued with our farm and the kangaroos. They had many questions, were really well behaved and spoke English with flair. Every now and then the conversation lapsed into German to interpret more closely what I was saying. The connection was not strong, so I had to drop my video at times and make use of the chat for clarification.
Learning really is NOW! Read the press release for HLW Skypers on their first birthday. It explains why such a group is of such high importance for its members.
How have you used teachable moments? Do you use skype for videoconferencing? Have you used groups? What can you share? Are you a member of HLW skypers group? What questions do you have? Email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org