Students at a football clinic with Geelong AFL player Daniel Menz
Equinox Day occurs in autumn for us. March 21st, was a day of all seasons, starting with warm sunny conditions and then ending with strong winds that blew down many tree limbs in our main street and blowing in glass panels of a local church. Our school had to call in an emergency plumber to nail down the roof of our Technology wind as it threatened to blow away!
This simple project came to my attention through our Hello Little World Skypers Group via Janet Barnstable. Here is the request:-
Is March 21 Spring or Fall in your part of the world? Or do your seasons not change much at all? Send us ONE picture of your Equinox Day and let’s look at the whole world. All we ask is that the picture be taken on March 21, 2013. Along with the picture send your name, your city, country (Canada and USA please add State/Province)
You can see the resultant photos by clicking on the GVC Clubhouse wiki page.
My photo above shows our students in action during a popular football clinic with two Geelong AFL players teaching our primary school students some skills when playing footy (Australian Rules Football). Although it is autumn, our Sunsmart School status requires us to wear hats during term 1 and 4. However, most students could not keep their hats on with the wind blowing as it was.
Keep your eye on twitter or your favourite global groups as simple projects like these do not take much time yet lead to much learning and sharing about our world! What simple projects have you been involved in?
As I live in a small country area, I have experienced many times the isolation, the missed opportunities that my counterparts in cities enjoy readily and the full networking opportunities that so often require face to face contact.
Technology has changed all that and having learnt so much, personally, from being part of the Flat Classroom Projects, I have experienced first hand how classroom walls can be broken down and the barriers of distance and isolation removed.
One vivid memory that I have is of students working in small groups at the American School of Bombay in Mumbai, India, interacting and actively working with a student from Korea using skype in real time. He sat next to them in a laptop screen. They were one group, one team despite one student being virtual and the others face to face. For them there were no walls, their classroom was flat.
It is with pride that I take on the role of co Co-ordinator of the Flat Classroom Conference for virtual participants together with Jason Graham. This conference features teachers, students, educationalists and virtual participants in the form of students and teachers. The participation can be at two levels:-
- Full involvement – part of an actual team etc producing an outcome synchronously See this wiki page for more information and fill in this form
- Partial involvement – attending when you can, adding to the discussions on the ning or wiki, viewing the livestream or google hangouts when possible, microblogging, adding comments etc There is no need to fill in a form. Follow the twitter stream and the following hashtags #flatclass2013, #flatclass. Make sure you follow the following on twitter @flatclassroom, Julie Lindsay (@julielindsay), Jason Graham (@jasongraham99 and me, Anne Mirtschin, @murcha, Vicki Davis (@coolcatteacher) and Kim Cofino (@kimcofino) amongst others.
We are still looking for more participants. If you feel you would like to experience first hand, a real flat classroom experience as a level 1 participant fill in the form, (see above) or if a level 2 participant we would love to hear from you if you leave a comment on this blog post. What questions do you have?
This is an exciting opportunity, one that I am looking forward to, but a little nervous about as so much is unknown and virtual. Further posts will be written with updates.
Today is seen as a lucky day for many 12th day of the 12th month of 2012. It was interesting to see what educators did or are going to do on this day. Stefan Nielsen @SNskole, Denmark had a great suggestion of taking a photo at 12:12pm and sharing it on a google presentation 121212-1212 he created. Thanks Stefan for this fabulous activity – simple but so effective. So many projects and research can be made further from this activity.
It was fascinating to watch photos go up and it gave some indication of times and zones in the world as people passed the time and uploaded their images. There are many blanks as I write this as it is still Dec 11th for many. Below is my photo taken in our school grounds. It was a hot day 36 degrees celsius.
Below is the google presentation with increasing contributions from across the globe.
Louise Morgan skyped:-
I am going to make a big poster and have the kids write anything they can think of that relates to the number 12. (12 days of christmas, 12 = dozen, 6+6=12, etc). I may also have them make lists of 12 - like their favorite toys, candy, songs, tv shows, etc…. from Louise Morgan
Paula Nagle suggested a 121212 blogging activity. I may get my year4/5 students to do this tomorrow, even though it will be the 13th for us, it will still be 121212 somewhere in the world.
What did you do for 121212? Did you take an image?
How wonderful it is that we can make great global connections. One such special colleague of mine is Lorraine Leo who is an innovative, generous and well connected educator from Massachusetts. Lorraine took a video outside her window of the wind as Hurricane Sandy approached. Immediately following the recent Hurricane Sandy, her son Chris, of New York, took some photographs of his area with the mobile phone, added them to voicethread, giving my students and others across the world an opportunity to ask further questions of someone who had experienced this natural disaster.
You can see the result in the voicethread. Thanks Chris for sharing with us and ‘making the news real’.
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!
Mannith’s Dot (grade one)
International Dot Day, Sept 15th, is an initiative of FableVision Learning. The idea of celebrating a day where creativity is encouraged and for students to realise that they can make a difference to the world, is based on a book by Peter Reynolds called “The Dot”. It traces the story of Vashti who refused to believe that she could draw. She drew a blot of dot to make her point, but the next day found that her teacher had placed this dot in a gold frame above her desk. Knowing she could do better than that, Vashti drew many art forms of her dot and encouraged other students to be creative. See a youtube clip of The Dot
Teachers, students and classes all over the world are encouraged to take part in International Dot Day with their own creative projects. Classes at our school will take part in two different projects:-
- World Museum Dot Project – students will create a sprite dot using the Paint editor and then sign it. It will be saved and uploaded to the World Dot Gallery together with other dots from around the world.
- Dots Around the World Collaborative by Chrissy Hellier Students in this project will us an iPad to create their dot. A number of apps have been suggested but my classes will use Doodle Buddy which is free and readily available on their class set of iPads.
See the flickr slideshow of the dots created so far by Grade Prep/Ones (Year 9 students will also be participating.)
How we did it:-
- Watched the youtube video on the Dot (as we do not have the book)
- Discussed ways of creating dots on Doodle Buddy and the possible need for a plain background. Learnt how to get a plain background
- For the scratch dots, we watched the movie, visited the world museum site to see how it will look. Download the image and saved in the school network drive. Students then created their own dots and signed them.
- simple projects that can be completed in one 50 min lesson
- The prep/one class were thoroughly engaged creating their dots. The dots can be saved to the camera roll and then emailed to the teacher account for sharing further.
- Each student has created a completely different dot(s)
- The dots were shared in a dropbox folder and also uploaded to flickr.
- Chrissy Hellier was generous with time and has commented on each student dot.
- Even the older students were highly motivated and took up the challenge
- Meeting and linking up with others who were involved
- Skype videoconference linkup with Chrissy’s class in Bangkok
Are you taking part in International Dot Day? What suggestions would you have to celebrate this day?
Many people ask where they get started in connecting with others. Projects like these are very simple but give a great introduction to the power of technology.
It was with great disappointment that I missed out on the teacher summit held online using Blackboard Collaborate for the pilot K2 Building Bridges project (a newbie on the scene for the Flat Classroom Projects). The summits are great – a time for reflection, a summary of the total learning that has taken place and a sharing of experiences. Each teacher involved is asked to create a slide in MS Powerpoint to show what the project looked like and felt like for them. Below is my slide:-
My grade prep/one class was part of group 9, together with a class in Phuket, Thailand; Connecticut, USA and Washington, USA. Here is my one minute summary of this fabulous project:-
- A view from our window was fun. It showed how very different it is where we all live. I enlisted one of my year 10 students to help with this task. Students told Sean what they could see and he proceeded to take photos on that basis. These photos were shared and uploaded onto a youblisher ebook.
- Our topic was ‘Part of a Family’. Our students were split into four groups. Students shared one of the following ’their family at school’, ‘Our homes’, ‘Bedtime Rituals’, ‘Family Activities’ with photos and captions. The results were shared on a google presentation and will be embedded on our wiki page.
- I loved being part of an enthusiastic, creative and innovative group of teachers. This project was designed by us all – bottom up!
- From this group I learned of many new tools for connecting collaborating and creating.
- A wonderful network has been established with the opportunity for further connections beyond the project.
- The input from parents of my students was amazing. I found them to be digital, online and willing to work with their students at home. This was vital to the project success, as I only teach these students ICT one day per week. Images of family activities were called for and it was requested that student faces not be shown in full. Parents used a variety of angles to enable this to happen, without detracting from the message of the image. A further network has now been established – the parents!
Below are some of the ‘Views from our Window’
There are lots of leaves on the ground as it is autumn
Our playground where we love to play. It is right near our classroom.
Behind our classroom is a paddock where we sometimes see sheep and cattle.
Our school chooks. Sometimes we collect the eggs
Does our school look different to yours? Do our families look different to those of your students?
Happy birthday Scratch, complete with popping balloons!
Today is Scratch’s 5th birthday. Scratch is a programming language for both young and older learners! Have a look at how students are saying ‘Happy Birthday‘ to Scratch at the World Museum’s Let’s Celebrate Scratch’s birthday. (This may take a few minutes to load.) This is a project put together by Professor Yoshiro Miyata of Japan. Many balloons are floating, and if you click a balloon, it will pop and say a birthday message for Scratch.
Students from across the globe have downloaded the scratch sprite from the World Scratch Birthday Project and uploaded their sprite back to the public gallery. My grade 4/5 students used this sample project to wish Scratch a ‘Happy Birthday”. Here is how it was done:-
- I downloaded the birthday project sample balloon which came with coding and saved it on our school public student drive.
- Students opened the file, saved it back into their folders and simply customized the balloon to their personal design. They replaced the phrases in the coding with their first name, where they are from and why they like using Scratch. It was then uploaded to the public gallery to be grabbed and placed on the World Museum site.
Why I loved this great project:-
- We did not have to be experts to create a birthday message. The coding was done for us but students could tweak it if they wished.
- Students could customize the balloon and use their own creativity.
- The balloon pops when clicked and opens up with their message
- It is going online so there is an authentic global audience
- A parent popped into the room while we were creating our balloons and was suitably impressed with the popping of balloons, the engagement and the sharing that was going on.
To quote Yoshiro Miyata
I would like to put their works in the project. I think the students will enjoy watching their creations in the big display with their messages. That’s when their vision expands from their works to other people around the world working together with them.
From a newbie point of view, this was a great project to work with. We did not need to know much about scratch and its more complex coding options. The students could get an effective, creative, customizable product quite quickly. They finished it within a 50 minute lesson.
Although I have tried Scratch several times over the last four years, I kept hitting a wall and then gave up. This has inspired me again and the students are up and running! (or should that be scratching!) Thanks to Lorraine Leo for connecting us to this great project. Have you tried Scratch? What could you share? Are you part of the World Museum projects?
Popping the balloons
This year I teach ICT or computer studies to years 4 and 5 students for one lesson per week.
Lorraine Leo, a long term colleague, also teaches this age group at Jackson School in USA. Hoping that we could work together on some global project, Lorraine suggested we get involved in the World Friends Scratch project.
Knowing that the grade 4/5 boys (who tend to be disengaged in the normal classroom) would like working with Scratch, I agreed. However, I have never put time aside to sit down and learn how to use it, despite being highly interested in its use.
Soon after, grade 4/5 went to the library to watch a skype videoconference linkup with Lorraine and her student Lana from USA. It was Wed night at 7:30pm Lana’s time and Thursday 11:30am our time. Students watched intensely as Lana used the screen share facility of skype and stepped us through the creation of a sprite, how to make it move and how to add speech bubbles that would appear when it bumps another sprite.
At the end of this presentation, students were able to ask Lana questions and 50 minutes disappeared very quickly. Just as the bell went, Lana took her laptop to the window to show us the snow that had fallen outside. Despite the darkness we could see it quite clearly.
Students then proceeded to create their sprites during following ICT lessons. Lorraine created two screencasts which quite clearly demonstrated the steps required and emailed them to me. The links to these were shared on my class blog. Students were able to work at their own pace and as some students completed the tasks, they mentored the others. I became a facilitator and simply watched the learning begin and blossom.
The first group of students have now completed their sprites, tested them and some were uploaded to the public gallery on Thursday, ready to be transferred to the World Friends site global project site.
What we learnt
- Digital citizenship – the necessity to make our sprites resemble our own persona. One student had made an animal sprite, another gave their body a different colour. They were changed to bear a greater likeness to themselves for global sharing.
- How to use screen casts effectively. How to use video tutorials that Lorraine Leo created to help them learn.
- Students can become effective instructors and mentors, even when they are virtual. They talk to each other in their own language.
- The necessity to follow each of these steps or the sprite would not talk when bumped.
- Expertise no longer matters if a teacher has a strong learning network
Why it worked so well
- The engagement of student learning with technology –
- having an American student teach them virtually
- working with a tool that is not obviously literacy or numeracy based
- having experts teach the students – both Lana via skype and Lorraine via the screencasts
- students mentoring other students within the classroom.
- A real project with an authentic audience
How does this fit the pedagogy of learning? (adpated from the ISTE NETS standards for students)
- use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively on a global scale, to support individual learning
- contribute to the learning of others
- connect, interact, collaborate and publish with global peers, experts and general community members, including family.
- use a variety of media and digital environments to connect, communicate and create.
- share learning spaces
- communicate information and ideas effectively to a variety of digital audiences using a variety of media and formats
- develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners from other cultures.
- Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility.
Screen shot of the World Friends website
Do you have any questions? Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or add a comment below. Have you used scratch? If so, how? Has there been an element of global collaboration?
Posted in global classroom, global projects, global schools
Tagged Boston, Jackson school, Lorraine Leo, scratch, skpye, students as mentors, the value of a PLN in teaching, World Friends, World Friends global project