This was the title of a presentation that a close online colleague of mine, Lorraine Leo and I made collaboratively for the Global Education Conference in 2010. In 2012, we share a presentation entitled Further Adventures of Teaching and Learning Across the Globe.
It is with some surrealness and eerieness that after many of our synchronous and asynchronous linkups, that have included many, many adventures including live linkups during floods and hurricanes etc experienced by Lorraine and her contacts, that I am now chatting to her in gchat whilst she is in lockdown mode as police move in on capturing the suspects involved in the recent Boston bombings. Here is some of Lorraine’s conversations.
http://www.wcvb.com/ We are in lockdown… this is how we are keeping updated. We live in Watertown, but many areas here are affected. It is soooo quiet outside in this neighborhood, but from the news we can see that 10 minutes away there are a lot of people
She discovered that she was in lockdown through an email from another friend in Australia.
I asked Lorraine how she is keeping up to date with the news and she responded that the twitter hashtag #bostonglobe and the news channels including CNN and the Boston Channel are her source of information.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you Lorraine and all who are affected by this tragedy.
At the beginning of each school year, VCE (year 12) students from across a number of small rural schools, including ours, attend a three day study camp at the University of Ballarat. A last minute plea was made for suggestions of a speaker or workshop for the Business Management class. This is the first year that I am teaching this subject so am inexperienced!
Again the power of a professional network came into play, as I contacted a wonderful colleague, Amanda Ritter who teaches at Toorak College (a private girls’ school) in Melbourne. Each year Amanda’s student gain extremely high results and Amanda is herself well networked, resourced and experienced. Amanda offered to videoconference in to the students and speak to them virtually from her school. Blackboard Collaborate was the software tool of my choice for the virtual workshop, as students have access to a chat, can see Amanda on video and watch the powerpoint presentation on the virtual whiteboard. Polls can be setup and high interactivity employed. However, this software does not work at their school. So, we agreed to use skype.
Testing skype connection whilst still at school
The Business Management student cohort:-
- 15 students at the camp were studying Business Management
- students came from 8 different small rural schools
- Students studied the subject under different conditions – some with a face to face teacher, some study virtually with a remote teacher using polycom videoconferencing equipment, several study the subject by distance education (I still call it study by correspondence)
The challenges included how to-
- ensure that skype would work in a tertiary institution where I had no control or direct contact with lecturers or technicians (it can be blocked in many eductional settings)
- provide a backchannel or area of chat for the students to interact, ask questions, provide feedback etc
- encourage an ongoing social network for students beyond the camp and through this final school year
- engage students for a 2 hours – the length of the workshop
- project Amanda’s video image up (feedback suggests seeing the presenter is more engaging for students) whilst simultaneously sharing the powerpoint presentation. (I did not have time to print it out in pdf form and photocopy for students). Amanda was unable to share her screen with us in skype.
- contact students after the date when they publicly state they dont use email!
- the lack of time to fully test skype and its potential features for the presentation.
- Give Amanda a clear view of her virtual class (this was difficult as they were in a computer lab and mostly hidden behind monitors whilst taking notes)
- the practicalities of accessing skype at the university and their network
- Camp organising staff organised a University rep to help me setup and ensure we had a username and password.
- created a Todays Meet backchannel for introductions, discussion, questions, reflections etc
- shared a collaborative google document to add contact details for networking and sending out the pdf version of the presentation
- opened up the powerpoint presentation on my laptop
- when in the videoconference, skype was maximized to show Amanda on video, then when referring to specific slides, the ppt was maximized. This enabled Amanda’s video image to be projected (in small size) over the actual slide. I could grab her video and move her into a position where she could be seen but did not block out any of the images or text. A fabulous feature that I only discovered that day!
- Took photos of the class and the way in which Amanda appeared to the students. Share webcam view of her projected image in the computer room.
- Amanda’s voice has lots of character to hold student attention
- Had one quick test two days before to ensure our linkup would work.
- used my laptop with skype downloaded, cabled into University’s network, used a temporary username and password to login to their system, projected laptop screen onto their large white screen at front of room via a data projector. Brought my own speakers (thank goodness, as students would not have heard audio otherwise)
The room setup, cabled laptop, white screen for projection
Reasons for the session’s high success and being rated as one of the top camp sessions:-
- Students introduced themselves in school groups via the webcamera and in the backchannel to Amanda
- Amanda had created an engaging presentation using text2pic to replace the usual dot points on slides, featuring images as much as possible to show what she was talking about and gave examples of things that her students had said had worked for them.
- Amanda appeared at all times in video format so that students could always see their presenter.
- Amanda used interactivity where possible – with questions requiring feedback, written response etc
- She had also worked out a hands on session at the conclusion of her presentation. Students used magazines to cut out appropriate images to build posters on “The Operating Environment” or the “Macro Environment”
What I learnt
- how to have a ppt presentation up with the virtual presenter image shown in an overlay of the slide and discovering the ability to drop or drag this video image around the screen. Will test to see if it works when presenter shares their screen
- using text2pic app to replace the often boring dot points in Powerpoint. This creates very effective imagery.
- how to improve student external exam results based on the experience of another teacher
- the need to remind students of appropriate behaviour in a professional online chat
- being reminded of the need for each party to see each other or understand how they look to each other.
My laptop screen with ppt and Amanda on video
Have you used skype for virtual formal presentations? What elements of skype do you use?
Toby’s word cloud
The notion of Valentine’s Day is always of interest to students. One of my colleagues, Amanda Ritter, from Toorak College created a discussion starter in a collaborative chat room stating:-
Morning everyone – quick poll to get us talking – yesterday all Valentines Day flower deliveries were banned at my school – do you think that’s fair!
Amanda teaches in a private girls’ school where in the past the school has been a ‘sea’ of flowers as deliveries came in from Valentines!
Here are the other activities that my classes were involved in:-
- Students brainstormed what words come to mind when they hear of Valentine’s Day on a google document. This was spell checked. created a lot of public discussion on netiquette as inevitably first timers typed on top of others words and deleted others. In appropriate language was not a problem in this instance. See the resultant document which now displays year 7 and 8′s brain storms.
- The words were highlighted, copied and pasted in wordle to create a word cloud.
- Students tweaked their word cloud manually, customizing it to their taste, cropped the wordle with the MS snipping tool (a firm favourite software tool) and added this image to a blog post.
- They had to find an online site that explained more about Valentine’s Day and hyperlink text to take readers to this site and write a brief post.
- Students could use the same word if it is one that they thought of. This means it becomes larger text in the wordle.
- watching students collaboratively adding to one document
- high engagement of students when they can all contribute simultaneously – every student can contribute
- the amazing collection of words that years 7 and 8 students ‘stormed’ together. See their document, which I have now locked from being edited.
- An engaging activity that takes little time to set up – register for a gmail account>google drive>create new document>change sharing priveleges to public on web, anyone can edit. Share link to document with students on class blog, wiki or a share network drive.
- not one word cloud looked the same, even though the content was the same. Each student used different colours etc.
- It encourages them to read words from students as they type them up.
Tate’s word cloud
- Students need to find a spot on the google document where someone else is not typing.
- First timers typed on top of others words accidentally, others deleted words. This created teachable moments with discussion on netiquette and appropriate behaviour online. Some also used inappropriate words but as this was all public, discussion soon saw them edited out.
- Students tended to write their words in a vertical list. It is better that they type the words across.
- Editing the document quickly enough for high quality. eg remembering to add a tilde to keep two words together (~)
- Some students could not copy the words from the google document, so it also had to be exported as a Word document and saved in their public student drive for access. (I am still not sure what caused this problem)
- Finding the customization colour palette in wordle.
Further resources for Valentine’s Day
And an interesting read Lens of the Day: Valentine’s Day Through History on Squidoo.
What did you do on Valentine’s Day? Did you complete any related activities with students? Interestingly, Valentine’s Day is our wedding anniversary so my husband has no excuses for forgetting. However when we were married, it was not celebrated to the extent it is today and it was an accidental selection of date and not deliberate!
Connect with Respect - the theme for Safer Internet Use Day 2013
One of the first lessons to be taught in any subject is that of safety. My classes use the internet extensively and one of the first lessons each year concentrates on how to be safe online and when using mobile technology. This theme is reinforced throughout the year and teachable moments are used whenever possible..
Tuesday 5th February is declared Safer Internet Use Day for 2013. As it is the beginning of our school year in Australia, it comes at a very pertinent time. Here are some of the activities that we will be involved in and resources we will use.
- The international live internet radio broadcast on tomorrow’s Safer Internet Day from ACMA’s Cybersmart online radio program at 4pm, Melbourne Australia time.
- Watch the video Safer Internet Day 2013 and Rights and Responsibilities
- Year 5 and 6 students will participate in a live webinar. This webinar -is a partnership between DEECD and ACMA and will involve more than 150 schools will be logged in to this event using Blackboard Collaborate. The presentation will focus on:- keeping passwords safe, dealing with cyberbullying, privacy settings for photos and sites, protecting yourself from scams, dealing with inappropriate content, securing your mobile phone and device.
- Follow the tweetfeed in tweetchat by inserting the hashtag #SID2013
Create a word cloud using wordle:- Students will also brainstorm what they think of when they hear the words “Safer Internet Use Day”. They will take it in turns to add a word or thought to the whiteboard. When no more ideas, they will key the words into wordle and create a word cloud which will be added to their blogs in a post. See a student example below:-
A google document will be shared with students to add examples of a good and a poor password. They will then be asked to choose the most secure password and give reasons why and also choose the least secure password and justify why.
What will you be doing? What resources will you be using or do you use to ensure students use the internet safely?
There was a time when:-
- The world was flat
- but was then discovered as being round
- and now increasingly flat again as technology breaks down the barriers of hemispheres, oceanic and climatic divisions, time zones, festival seasons, communication, culture, language, ideologies, passions and religion.
There was a time ……. when I learnt about the world through a text book or through the knowledge or travel experiences of my family, teachers and friends. I thought that:-
- Christmas was celebrated by Christians across the world on the same day – 25th December
- New Year occurred for all on the 1st January each year
- All countries experience four seasons
- School years started and finished on the same dates globally
- Education was a right that all should and do experience
- And so much more that this will requite another post
Now, through an amazing global professional network that spans countries across the world from developed to developing countries, across hemispheres, time zones, geographical barriers, language difficulties, ideologies etc that my knowledge, understanding, perception and experience of the world is through the ‘eyes’, experiences, feelings and passions of those who live there. Empathy, tolerance, compassion and a deeper appreciation of what the world is about, why it is what it is and an ever increasing acceptance that the majority of global citizens want peace, happiness, a healthy world – a world featuring tolerance, empathy and generosity to those who have less.
And now my
- professional learning network
- knowledge is increasingly …….
To those who of you who have just celebrated New Year on the 1st Jan, the time when my country celebrates it – a happy and peaceful New Year to you. Looking forward to learning from and with you in 2013.
(New Year’s Day was spent in Sth Africa with family members 2013)
The recent shooting in Newtown CT makes us all reflect on the braveness displayed by those teachers involved, their quick thinking and their utmost care of and devotion for the students. There are many lessons here for us.
How does one cope during and afterwards? The impact is felt worldwide. Here is a good article on how to approach news items such as these with children - Talking about the news with kids. Angela Maiers has written this wonderful post on There is no lesson plan for tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who are closely involved.
My wonderful friend, Lorraine Leo has created a google map for people to add candles in a show of global sympathy and support for those who suffer. Lorraine also alerted me to this post Preparing for the Worst Case Scenario
Many homes in Australia have Christmas or Advent calendars in their home. Each day of December,through to Christmas, children open the appropriate door for that date, and find either a chocolate or a Christmas image. Do you have one in your home?
Students in years 4 to 7 are going to make a digital calendar using MS Powerpoint. It is a simple enough process for all age groups and yet can be customized to suit the young and old. The students will follow these instructions using the image below as a guideline. Each date will open using a chosen custom animation feature of Powerpoint.
- Goto MS Powerpoint
- Insert a table> 5 rows by 5 columns, add a clipart( representing Christmas) to each cell.
- There should be 25 Chrismas pics in total, with a very special Christmas pic in the last one
- Cover each cell with a shape
- Add numbers to each cell from 1 to
- Use custom animation to remove the shapes one at a time.
- Grab a screen dump, crop in MS Paint, save as a jpg and insert the image into your blog post, with a brief explanation on how you made your colourful calendar.
Below is an example of a calendar that Catie13 is working on
Have you done something like this with your students?
This post has been written by one of my close colleagues, Carole McCulloch. Steve Hargadon has been one of the greatest influences on the development of my Professional Learning Network and immersion of technology in my classroom. He started a social networking site called Classroom2.0 which I joined 6 years ago. From there has developed an amazing supportive global network. Steve is an innovative leader whose thinking is changing the face of education through his 2.0 Series. Don’t miss this webinar nor the opportunity to learn from him in person when he comes to Australia. Note that this webinar will replace the usual nightly eT@lking.
Steve Hargadon’s Educator 2.0 Australian Tour coming to you in February 2013!
Steve will provide an overview of the Workshops and Masterclasses scheduled in four of our capital cities: Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, in February 2013. For details on the tour please visit the Digital Capability site.
We are currently endeavouring to get confirmation of sufficient numbers for the workshops in February prior to November 15. This free webinar will introduce you to the Educator 2.0 concept, explore the activities you’ll experience in the workshops, and hopefully entice you to register your attendance before that date. This webinar is part of our national promotion of the Educator 2.0 Tour.
The Educator 2.0 program is designed to support the effective personal and professional growth of every educator, and is led by Steve Hargadon, one of the most important change-makers in education of our time.
The tour is is part of the “Digital Capability – Doing it Smarter” program
Steve will join us in the Australia e-Series Blackboard Collaborate room (the one that he provides for us free of charge) at a special time of 3:00 pm AEST (GMT+11) on Wednesday November 7 (International times here).
Here is the link to the recording
Over the last 6 years I have had many exciting skype linkups both as an individual, a teacher and with classes, but last week I experienced one of the most emotional of my videoconferencing life.
Tatyana Chernaya of Moscow was looking for some global teachers to skype into her school for International Peace Day. The students there had been reflecting on and discussing world peace. However, this was not an ordinary school but one for students with special needs and many of their classes are online.
A time for connection was set and 15 mins prior to the conference, Tatyana messaged to make sure I was online. Skype soon alerted me to the incoming call. As my webcam took focus, I could see a class of students with special needs in front of me and a number of teachers with laptops in their hands. Thinking they were videoing the skype call, we proceeded with mystery skype. The students had to work out what country I was from with questions that just required a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. The questions flowed in and I could hear them clearly
Did I live in Europe? Did I live in USA? Did I live near the sea? etc
Then, quite quickly and smoothly the webcam panned around the classroom to a corner that was not initially visible to me and again quite clearly I heard a question
Are you from Australia?
But that question came from a laptop that the webcam was focussed on! It was then that I realised the laptops held individually by adults, each had a student in them, beaming in from home but still part of this live linkup. I was not the only one in a laptop. That nearly brought me to tears!
Peace was discussed – the relative ‘safeness’ of our countries – Russia and Australia. Discussion came from both the students in the physical classroom and those in the laptops. Students sang me a wonderful song. As the conference drew to an end, the ‘special needs’ students in the classroom and in the laptops all said goodbye and thanks!
I subsequently released tears as it was such an emotional and special linkup, made even more interesting in that when I was growing up, Australia was part of the ‘Cold War’ with Russia and here we now are discussing International Peace.
Thanks to Tatyana, the staff and students for all the effort that must have gone in to bringing these students together for this videoconference.
A Dot by Levi (year 11)
Several weeks ago, Lorraine Leo mentioned the existence of International Dot Day on September 15th and that she would be involved in a Scratch World Dot Project a World Museum project organised by Yoshiro Miyata. It was promptly forgotten, until I noticed active tweets alerting us to the upcoming event. Read further to see our involvement, what we did and how we did it:-
- I researched the meaning of the day and signed up for Dot Day through Fable Vision.
- Grade Prep/One and Year 4/5 created dots with Doodle Buddy on the iPad for Dots Around the World (Chrissy Hellier’s project)
- Year 7 and some 4/5s created the dots for the Scratch project.
- The classes watched the Dot on youtube
- Chrissy Hellier from Bangkok and her class skyped us. Chrissy showed us the book and read sections to us. See Skype Linkup with Bangkok
- Students created their dots using Doodle Buddy on the iPad.
- Lorraine Leo from Boston USA helped year 7 students, on an individual basis, create their dots using Scratch,using skype on the iPad. Going Dotty with a Mobile Teacher
- Year 11 students wanted to be part of it too.
- The images were shared in a drop box folder and on flickr. See our flickr images
Year 4/5 Dots can be seen in the following presentation.
Where can you see the final outcomes?
- Student work is now proudly displayed at the World Dot Project (allow this site to load as it will take time).
- Work from Year Prep/One, Four/Five and Year 11 can be seen from the video on Dots Around the World
Reflecting on this project:-
- I love the notion of encouraging creativity
- A Dot is such a simple concept but students came up with so many different ideas and applications
- Many times, I bit my tongue, as I was about to say that is not right, why dont you do this etc. I just let the student creativity flow.
- The younger students just use any colour combination, they have not been taught to keep with certain colours etc and don’t you just love them?
- Not all students could read or write well but they could draw a dot. It catered for every ability.
- It plummeted us into the world of technology where we could learn, share and teach others around the world.
- It forced me to use technology (skype on my iPad) which I may not have done otherwise. Now I want to try and use this more.
- Communication and collaboration tools used included: twitter, skype, blogs, email, gchat, google+, youtube, slideshare, facebook. dropbox, scratch, flickr
Thanks Peter Reynolds for writing the Dot, fablevision for promoting the idea and to all those who created the projects and encouraged us to add our dots to them.
Happy Dot Day and long live creativity!