It started as a normal, fairly mundane school day………
Well connected teachers will find there are many ways to learn, share and teach, teachable moments arise constantly and interruptions to normal routines may become the norm. Yesterday was one such day, when normal classes were planned and a relaxing night at home anticipated, but….
World Museum Scratch Day Saturday, May 18th
Year 8 students are participating in the Squares, Circles and Triangles project for the World Museum Project to celebrate World Scratch day. Students take photos of shapes in the real world and add them as a sprite to Scratch, highlighting the shape first and then sharing the whole picture. See an online animated sample.
Circles-Storage tanks for firewood
However, this project is quite challenging and as I am not confident with the programming elements, we had to impulsively skype my wonderful online colleague – Lorraine Leo from Boston, USA to help us in our dilemmas. My laptop webcam shared the screens of students with Lorraine so that she could see what the student was doing, speak to them and help them solve their problems. The lesson time was not long enough. So a sample student project was emailed to Lorraine for further investigation in consultation with Yoshiro Miyata, the creator from Japan.
Lorraine from USA (in laptop) virtually teaches Amy how to solve her problem with Scratch
Brendah from Sth Africa shared her lesson on learning cell references in MS Excel with grade her 2s with the HLW Skypers Group in the chat area of skype. Joe McNulty of Pennsylvania USA, joined our conversation. Within 6 hours he had shared a google document containing more mystery picture challenges that his year 7/8 students had created for Brendah’s young students. It was on impulse that I decided to use these tasks with my year 3/4 ICT class after lunch. Students were highly engaged colouring in reference cells to reveal the mystery pic. They discovered a house, faces, a flag, a rainbow etc if they followed instructions carefully.
A rainbow in progress
Images of Brendah’s and my students working on the tasks were emailed to Joe who then shared them with his students, resulting in them being even more motivated in creating further tasks. Joe has now put some of these up on his google site.
Home at last!
Enjoying the last remnants of my evening meal, I noticed a message in my HLW Skypers Group popup seeking people to ‘jump’ in and join a hangout with Reinhard Marx and a class from Germany. The students were about to share their learning about “German Islands and the drinking water situation”.
The group skype request from Reinhard
I joined the hangout on my laptop as our desktop computer has been playing up and fully expected to be ejected from it due to my poor bandwidth. Surprisingly I was able to stay in but not able to use my video, nor see the screen sharing from Germany, but….. I could hear and speak to them. In the hangout were Endang from Western Java, Indonesia and Linlin from Taiwan. With me being from Australia, the foreign participants all came from islands – some small, some large and learnt about islands in Germany.
Students from Germany had prepared Powerpoint slides. Reinhard shared his screen with us via the Ghangout. Groups came forward and spoke to the slides and their pictures in clear English. Linlin and I then spoke about the importance of water, issues where we live and how we conserve it.
A small group shares with us
Next, a skype message came from Endang to see whether I could help her Indonesian students speak English to a native speaker. Two students introduced themselves to me, answered my many questions and then asked me questions. The chat in skype helped ensure that we understood each other reasonably well!
An ordinary day turned into a very exciting one in an amazing global classroom! How was your day?