Category Archives: 21st century education

When the North Star meets the Southern Cross!

Wisteria, our engaging presenter

Wisteria, our engaging presenter

This morning reminded me how anxious and nervous teachers can get when they face the unknown! Although I have used our polycom videoconferencing equipment extensively with educators, classes and community organisations within Australia, I had never dialled an overseas polycom unit. The IP address had been given to us to dial rather than they dial us! Eek! A practice run was rather difficult due to our time zone differences so at 9am my time this morning, I dialled the number 15 mins before the students were due in for lesson one, having shared Skype contact details should we face technical problems.

Almost immediately, Wisteria answered the call and we were transported into Marriner’s Museum, Virginia, USA, a different day, a different time zone, different hemsipherse, different culture, history and a different accent.  Students from year 1/2, year 7 and 9 then enjoyed an engaging and interactive session with Wisteria as she revealed life at sea centuries ago. It was fascinating to hear from someone in our ‘yesterday’, who talked about the Northern Star and their famous explorers eg Christopher Columbus cf Captain Cook for us.

wisteria and boatsc

What worked well

  • a crystal clear videoconference on both sides, with no hint of lag
  • our microphone that was able to pick up the answers from our students who often spoke quietly and were at the back of the room.
  • an engaging and interactive presenter, in Wisteria, who varied the session with a mix of using images, objects from the museum, getting the students involved, using the webcam effectively  and even sharing a youtube video that did not lag either!
  • having the broad mix of age groups. The young students added a dynamic, unreserved and spontaneous addition

some of the students

At the end of the 60 minute session, students were asked to relate three things they learned and one thing they enjoyed. Following are some of the year 7 ICT student comments. Year 1/2 repsonses will be added as soon as they have had their responses go through the editing stage.  By the time year 7 related what they learnt and due to most remembering different elements of the presentation, their total compilation almost gives the overall presentation on Life at Sea.

wisteria and the little ones

3 things I learnt:

  • When at sea,  they worked for 4 hours and rested 4 hours,  about the different parts of ship

  • What people at sea eat, lots about compasses, learnt all about parts of ship

  • The youngest pirate executed was 9 years old. Captain Cook was first captain to give his crew fresh vegetables, in their spare time, crew members would carve pics on whale teeth

  • Only males were allowed to go on a ship, and as young as 6 or 7; they would eat crackers made of flour and water, dominoes were made from parts of whale’s mouth

  • Children started work at age of 6 and 7 – eg scrub the deck, peel the vegies; because they didn’t eat fresh veg and fruit, they lost their teeth and their skin would change colour; older kids would have to work for hours, $12 per month pay

  • Pirates take valuable things, you need vitamin C otherwise you get black gums and your teeth will fall out; little boys started work on ships between the age of 6 and 7

  • Kids went on ships at such young ages; women work on ships disguised as boys; pirates don’t really kill captives unless they have to – put them on an island if they did not comply. Walking the plank was only done once in history. It is not a common practise.

  • It was night in USA, 7pm, our today was there yesterday; pirates don’t make you walk a plank, only one person was ever made to do that; Time differences, didn’t know USA were so far away from us,

Showing museum objects

Showing museum objects

What I liked

  • Much better learning from someone like Wisteria than through a textbook
  • How she showed the actual objects
  • Hearing about the female pirates
  • All of it was really good – Wysteria was a really good presenter, asked questions and got everyone involved.
  • Different time and it was interesting to know that she was in my yesterday and there was a night time concert outside while she spoke to us.
  • Lady pirate Chin commanded 500 pirate ships, made me interested in old history
  • The problem with hearing clearly eg the girl was actually a boy who answered a question, misunderstanding accents
  • Liked how she was actually at the museum, and showed us the actual objects from the ship
  • To see the things they used – photos and objects

watches

If I could ask a question

  • why did kids start work so young
  • Did they eat canned food?

  • What kind of food do they have in America?

Question time

Question time

 

Designing CD Covers – a task students enjoyed

This lesson worked well with my year 9/ICT class today. They used random links on a number of sites to come up with a CD cover. I prefer them learning by doing rather than learning by theory. This task teaches copyright, appropriate acknowledgement of IP and gives them some avenues to explore in other subjects when they cannot think of anything creative! Here is how it looked:-

Today we will design CD covers using some internet sites. This task is worth 10 marks towards your first semester assessment.

First watch the videos from Common Craft on Creative Commons

Follow these instructions:-

  1. Go to wikipedia and hit random article on the left. The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band. Key it into a Word document. Save the name and the url
  2. Go to the quotations page and hit random quotes on the left. The last 4-6 words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your album. Save the name and the url.
  3. Now find a photo that fits with your album! You can look for photos at compfight. Add a search word. Choose creative commons and find an appropriate image.
  4. Make sure that you follow the prompts, grab the  code or get the web address of your photo and the photographers name so you can acknowledge (and link) where you got the photo from. Double check the permissions!
  5. Use powerpoint, word, paint or other program to put it all together for your CD cover design. Consider using an online text creator for the title of your CD
  6. Save as a jpg or png.
  7. Goto your blog, write a blog post. Insert your CD cover image, explain how you put your album cover together.
  8. Share the owner of the original photo or follow the permissions  and required credits given.
  9. Add the category IT or Info Tech to your blog post
  10. Add tags stating all the websites used and why you used themetc
  11. Publish your blog post.

Enriching the Skype or Videoconferencing Experience

maria and carina

Recently Maria del Carmen Colussa posted an update on the HLW  skype group looking for someone to practise conversational English with one of her students – Carina. It is not often that my time zone matches that of students in the USA or Sth America so here was a golden opportunity to connect. Maria comes from Santo Tomé, Santa Fe, Argentina and teaches English to Spanish speaking students.

Carina is an adult student – a pharmacist who wished to travel thereby wanting to improve her conversational English. We talked a little about Australia. Then I noticed one of my year 9 students working in the lab and invited her to be part of the conversation. Initial confidence, volume of voice, accents and clear speaking are always a challenge when first connecting.  Georgina used the txt chat regularly to ensure they understood her.

The sharing and demonstrating of objects is always engaging. Georgina showed a toy koala and to our delight Carina and Maria immediately produced and showed us two cholitas which come  from Salta the north of our country.  

From Maria and Carina

From Maria and Carina

Georgina’s curiousity was aroused and she searched online for more information about the dolls and the country once the skype videoconference was finished. As often occurs, the learning continued beyond the initial linkup. Read Georgina’s post on Skype with Argentina.

Where do you shop?

A roadside stall

A roadside stall

Australia has commenced the new national curriculum in core curriculum subjects. The development of the Economics and Business curriculum is now in engagement phase. I have been requested to participate in this and will develop a teaching and learning artefacts.

Year 5 will look at  decision making in relation to “Where do you Shop?” and explore the ways in which the needs and wants of individuals and groups are met by the following shopping options:-

  • roadside stalls
  • markets
  • main streets or high streets
  • shopping centres

If you have time, could you please fill in the following survey so that the data might be used by year 5 students in their learning. Thanks in advance. If you have any questions or comments and suggestions please leave them in a comment below. The data will be also shared via this blog, should others wish to use it in their classrooms.

Things to do over the summer break!

the beach

Last summer I wrote a post on “Ten things to do over the Summer Break“. This summer I could have:-

  • Updated my blog – given it a complete summer clean!
  • Updated my profiles on many networking sites
  • Completed the challenge by linkedin to ensure my profile is noteworthy
  • Listened to many of the recorded sessions from the Global Education Conference that I missed
  • Played further with google hangouts
  • Written many blog posts including a reflective summary of 2012 and so much more….

Instead, I have taken deliberate time off, from being online, and:-

  • Travelled to Sth Africa to spend Christmas and New Year with our son and his family who live there
  • Spent further quality time with our grandchildren, daughter and her husband camping  by the sea.
  • Revitalised my energy in preparation for the 2013 school year.

It can be extremely demanding to maintain an online presence and to work in eLearning and digital learning. I found 2012 a challenging year  teaching prep through to year 12.

Sometimes we simply need time out from our online existence. Time must be spent with family and physical friends and a forced break from the online presence does not mean that you have missed out on many things, rather it gives an increased enthausiasm and  renewed energy levels.

Today as teachers return to school in Victoria, it is time for me to network, catch up with emails, check out twitter updates, read some blog posts and continue that online existence.

Tech Talk Tuesdays: Tech Talk Tuesdays: Implementing the 1:1 Environment – the challenges, successes & moments of madness!

When: Tuesday 11th September, 2012, 4-5pm, Melbourne Australia time (gmt+10)

About this session: David Simpson will share his experiences in implementing a 1:1 environment in his school. He will outline the process that my school has followed for the whole-scale introduction of 1:1 computing in a large Government secondary school in the northern suburbs of Melbourne.

This implementation has not been without challenges but has been in place for 6 months and the benefits are becoming clearer with each passing week.

This session would be ideal for anyone that has been down this road or is thinking of heading this way. The areas discussed will move beyond 1:1 in the classroom and also into broader areas of management, security, resourcing (booklists, etc.) and teacher pedagogy.

About our Presenter: David is eLearning Leading Teacher at St Helena Secondary College, Victoria, Australia

Here is the recording of this session.

Randomly linking to Design a Book Cover

My attempt at the Book Cover

Several years ago, I used a post by another Australian librarian as a basis for my class to design a book cover for Children’s Book Week in Australia. This week my students designed a book cover using the following online sites.

  1. The title came from Random Article link on left hand sidebar of Wikipedia 
  2. The author’s name was created from Random Name Generator
  3. Students used word generator to get the search term for their cover image. That search term was used in Flickr CC to choose an image.

Students then saved all three results and created a book cover using MS Powerpoint or MS Paint, saving the final file as a jpg and adding it as a post on their blogs.

What worked well:

  • Students were engaged
  • Most completed the task in 50 minutes but did not have time to place it in a blog post.
  • I used it with 13 year olds. Care may need to be taken with younger students as one topic from wikipedia random articles was not suitable. Care may need to be taken with the photos as well.
  • Great teaching lesson on creative commons for the use of image. Students had to read the licensing and save the image url to place on their blog post or in small print on their book cover.
  • Exposed them to some tools that may help when they cannot think of titles or prompts etc  the random type generators.

Have you done something similar? What other ideas do you have for some of the random generators on the internet.

What