Category Archives: social networking

Our global connectedness

I wish I would have used the above title for my session at ICTEV yesterday as it is so much more realistic now. However, I put in my presentation synopsis quite a few months ago and now we are so much further down the track (around the globe). Instead of 4 hours to get around the world, it is just a few minutes of connection time. One of my first experiences of connectedness witht the globe was from classroom2.0 when we were having problems playing videso from our video iPod through a tv monitor. I put the question up on various Australian mailing lists as we really wanted to show the digital stories to a parent presentation. As a last minute endeavour I also put it up as a discussion on classroom20. Within 10 minutes the answer to our problems came back from a teacher in Alabama, USA!!! Hey  presto, the advice worked!!

The ICTEV conference theme was “Successful Stories in ICT” and I know that for my students the use of web2.0 tools has been a great success. Below is the powerpoint presentation that I used as the basis for my talk.

Day in a sentence goes technocolour

Cheers! Australia is proud  to host  ‘your day in a sentence’  this week. So come on all, and Aussies in particular, tell the world about your week! I am grabbing Kevin’s catch line of ‘day in a sentence in technocolour”!! (Wish other countries could spell correctly!!!)

Here is the idea:
Boil down your week or a day into a sentence, mentioning a colour that best describes your day or week within that sentence.

Post as a comment here. The comments will all be threaded together on Sunday  here and on Kevin, our host’s site at http://dogtrax.edublogs.org

eg Yellow describes my day today as I strived to make the theory interesting for my yr 12 students, applying the theory of working in virtual teams by live blogging with them – 2 hours just flew past!!

Be part of this virtual community that connects at least once a week ‘in a sentence’. Look forward to your comments.

:)

I dont really know you ….or do I?

@jomcleay, @jessmcculloch, @johnpearce

Two of my twitter friends – Jo McLeay, John Pearce (both of whom I met f2f for the first time) and my dear ‘real world’ friend and teaching colleague, Jess McCulloch.

At a recent conference in Melbourne, I was rather excited at the prospect of meeting some of my online twitter friends. My online friends are very much a part of my friendship group and I regard them with great fondness.

However, I had some difficulty recognizing them. Why? Well… like me they put their best photos up or an avatar. My photo is 4 years old now, but I like it. Yet, my hair is cut differently and I have probably aged “10″ years in that time.

One of my friends @bookjewel told me on twitter that she was going to be there but I could not trace her at all and assumed she may not even have come. When I tweeted her the next week, she was there but also said she did not recognize anyone. However, at one stage I got up on the podium and spoke about the online conferencing and social networking that I have been involved in. Why did I not find @bookjewel?

  1. I did not know her real name
  2. She has an avatar for her online presence
  3. I have a user name of murcha, but my real name is Anne Mirtschin
  4. I have my best photo up as my avatar.

I guess that means that basic cyber safety rules and procedures do work. Kim Cofino has written a recent post on the same topic of virtual friends and this makes an interesting read as well.

When I reflected on this on twitter, @adrianbruce gave me this reply….

yr used to seeing the u in the mirror ie inverted. When u c urself on cam its da way the world sees you – someone did a study on it.

I look forward to meeting even more twitter friends on Saturday at the ICTEV conference in Melbourne – ie if I ‘recognize’ them.

Are there any comments or other enlightenments on this interesting phenomena?

 

Connecting nations

 Collatorationnation collaborates with our nation

Students from CT, USA…..please meet  students from Hawkesdale, Australia. And so it was, that 14 students from their homes in the USA at 8:45pm logged onto the computers, whilst 12 students from Hawkesdale College continued on with their IT lesson or came in during recess time, to get to know their US counterparts.
Under the wonderful teaching authority and expertise of Mr P Bogush (@shagghill), we logged on to their class wiki, using coveritlive as our interface. Although, CT had access to a video image of Mr Bogush and access to www.yackpack.com, we were blocked out of the option, which in hindsight was better for our first time experience. Their students not having the comfort, safety and educational infrastructure of the classroom environment, were able to communicate with their teacher whilst I could remind my students of some etiquette, give prompts and walk them through any questions. My students all sat at individual  desktops, so they could follow the conversation trail and add to it.
Paul had complete control of the situation and was able to moderate the comments to ensure all was okay. His discipline was superb, and he took control, by remote control very effectively, when he at several times had to command us to all STOP NOW and wait for directions. Initially, only a few students were online and the conversation flowed with me directing our student traffic verbally, but as more logged on and curiousity got the better of all concerned, questions and answers were flying in all directions. Unfortunately, this led to discord in the conversation flow as answers to questions lost their sync and meaning.
At one stage, Paul asked if I was happy with the way it was going with students directing the conversation. My response was ‘yes this is student directed education’. They need to get to know each other first with basic questions and as their acceptance of each other grows, their interactions will take on more purposeful meaning. A quick poll ensured that each country took it in turns to ask questions. Once replies came through, a prompt asked the other country for their question.
Prior to this, we had been sharing blog posts and commenting on each other’s weekly prompts. Some of the outcomes of today’s learning included

  • Different terminology and language
  • Different cultures
  • Various sports, school subjects studied etc

One  of CT’s questions asked the subjects our students study. A typo was made by one respondent, prompting a question do we do “whaling”. However, the answer should have been “walking” as part of our student’s” Advance” program.  So the correct answer “walking” was keyed online and a further question:-
CT “Do you walk people
Hawkesdale “no, we walk in the bush”.
CT “What is the bush?” etc
Conversations flowed and student directed learning ensued. Much laughter was to be had over misunderstandings!!
Advantages of  www.coveritlive.com

  • a great live blogging platform – whose full capabilities will only be  realised with further use
  • Allowed chat
  • Polling
  • All participants could be involved  immediatel
  • Allowed the moderator full control over which comments should be published
  • Can be embedded in a wiki for easy sharing
  • Constraints
  • No audio or video
  • CT had yackpack for audio use and a real time video of their teacher to keep all on task.

Thank you Mr P Bogush, students of CT and their respective families, for allowing us to connect and be part of a wonderful,  incredible experience.

 

 

 

Live Blogging!!

As I am a member of www.projectsbyjen.ning.com, a recent discussion by @kimcofino re a request to list student blogs allowed me to meet Paul Bogush (@shaggyhill). He was looking for student bloggers to work with his students at Collaboration Nation. We had just set ours up, so I volunteered my year 9 and 10 group as they really enjoy blogging. After collaborating on posts, we decided to chat live. However, time zones are always a problem. They are EST and we are gmt +10. Paul felt that his students would be willing to be online at home, when our students were at school early in the morning. He suggested that we use yackpack which is embedded on his wiki. As I am not at all technical, I felt I could handle that. However, then I received an invitation to join http://coveritlive.com - a live blogging tool. That was a lot more stressful! (for me)

Today, we had a trial run, 9am our time, 7pm their time. First skype worked, (our distress line), so I could let Paul know that I was ready. We then logged onto the live blog at the given url and it worked beautifully. We were in instant chat mode, with three of his volunteer students online as well and some of my year 10 students. However, our school has yackpack blocked and despite the technicians unblocking it, there must be futher filters blocking its appearance on collaboration nation’s wiki. (That has to be rectified before Friday when we have our real session together, sharing our teenage lives, cultures, school, country etc)

My dependable colleague Jess McCulloch, (thanks a heap Jess) helped me through it (and did a trial run the previous day). After the test run, we decided to test it with my year 10class. This has given us a sounding board for the huge potential that this tool may be used for. Click here to see the results of that live blog where basic questions were asked re their ownership of various technological gadgets and online presence. Note the way the polling results come up. Arent they great and so easy!!!

What we liked:

  • moderation capabilites – the moderator has the power to allow, disallow or block unwanted material before it is published.
  • Moderator has a full panel of promt tools, but paricpants only have a text chatting window
  • Moderator panellist sets the questions or prompts. Students can immediately respond via text
  • Polling ability – with easy formatting. Students may be prompted for a yes/no answer or a comment or ???
  • Can share music, images and video immediately for audiences or evaluation or polling
  • Can be finally published, edited and shared on website
  • Despite some ‘crashes’ with the computers, it allowed students back in and prompted them for the poll that they have missed out on when they had to restart.
  • Students worked well with this technology

Possible uses (full capabilities will only be determined over time)

  • great live collaborative tool for powerful, media rich blog
  • Sharing of media for polling, evalutation, opinions etc
  • instant results for surveys or polls
  • students interacting in real time
  • educationalists can work collaboratively for a powerful blog post. Comments and contributions are instant
  • powerful learning and educational tool

Any other suggestions would be warmly welcomed.

 

Flashmeeting with OZ/NZ teachers

screen shot of Joe Dale teaching us

Interested teachers from Australia and NZ who follow twitter, met for the second time last Sun evening. The first meeting was very informal and last night’s session was hosted by Simon Brown or @skytrystjoy. @sujokat started us all off and it is a great way to make connections and share and discuss various issues. First JoeDale from the Isle of Wight talked us through the sections of flashmeeting and then we tended to divert and discuss student blogs.

Evaluation of flashmeeting as an online conference tool.

  • It allows all members in the meeting to have video projection, which elluminate, skype and other tools do not. Skype only works between two parties.
  • There is an interactive whiteboard and it allows sharing of applications.
  • My age is showing as I fear I am going deaf and blind. The tabs were really small and extremely difficult to read. @gkat talked us through the method of increasing the size of the chat text but we still had to find the tab that allowed us to text chat.
  • My video camera did not work, despite logging in and out twice. It works on skype and msn so I will have to test it before the next session.
  • However, the quality of the video and sound was good, although personal settings on microphones need to be adjusted as we nearly ‘jumped’ out of our seats at times when someone else started talking. Some were too soft.
  • can interupt the broadcaster, but that is considered rude unless some emergency develops. Otherwise you wait in a queue to have your turn to speak.

However, with consistent use, further advantages of using this software will be evident and despite all the learners in the room, we all managed to communicate.

 

 

Why I love skype!

When I suggested my top ten web2.0 sites for 2007, skype was one of them. I had experienced using this software with my two sons who live in London and have since used it at school for videoconferencing purposes with NZ Chrissy and Gail Casey when she was teaching ESL in Korea. Whilst it was snowing in Korea, we had some sound difficulties but skype are working on improving sound quality all the time.

Since then I have used it for

  • discussion purposes with teachers on collaborative global projects
  • professional development (Quest Atlantis uses this)
  • interviews and surveys – both staff and students
  • involving teachers from other countries teaching my classes etc.
  • sharing advice, clarifying issues etc
  • guest speakers for night classes
  • live demonstrations for parent information sessions
  • conference calls
  • See what allanahk, a primary school teacher in NZ has achieved with video skype chats.

 Here are 10 facts you may need to know:-

  1. Skype is VOIP (voice over internet protocol) and its use is free if it is calls are made computer to computer.
  2. Equipment: skype  software (download from www.skype.com) , headset with microphone, or desktop mic, a webcamera (for videoconferencing), IWB or datashow for projecting the video (if for classroom use), user names (equivalent of phone numbers) of contact people
  3. User friendly, quick loading (sometimes falls over but getting more reliable all the time)
  4. Neat search facility to add other users to contact list
  5. Chat or audio can take place. It is polite to send a request message via chat first, to ensure that person you are contacting is not in class or otherwise engaged. (My laptop has embarrassed me on several occasions by ringing, in class)
  6. Conference calls: both audio and chat. Currently, videoconferencing can only be used between two users. The video aspect cuts out after a third person enters the conversation.
  7. Chats can be saved with appropriate title, by bookmarking. Goto chats>bookmarked chats and enter a title whilst in skype conversation) or goto recent chats and it tends to save automatically, but with a non categorised title.
  8. Can buy credit to ring landlines locally, domestically, overseas (extremely cheap overseas calls)
  9. Constantly requesting feedback as to quality of calls, and working on improving the service. (Sometimes line quality is not high, delays but these are getting less over time.)
  10. Number of users is restricted to, I think, 10 and then a bridge phone number must be given.

Hint: If using it for the first time, experiment with a friend or colleague after work hours, to ensure you know how it works before trying it in a 3way (or more) chat or videoconference setting.

skype

Another interesting post on “Why I love skype!”