Alvin used the whiteboard to draw the following image and asked in the chat “Dear all, please guess what is the animal showing on whiteboard”. The responses quickly fell in and the chat became active at increasingly high speed. However this was not an ordinary classroom but a foretaste of what education and learning can really be about.
Some of the chat and responses from students
- Tessa: dragon?, Chloe: dolphin?, Renee 1: turtle?, Lauren: whale, Tessa: seal?
- Alvin Ng: no it is a kind of animal living in the sea 400Mya
- Boris from HK Geopark: it’s a fish
- Boris from HK Geopark: extinct ages ago
- KM: Placoderm
- Tessa: oh cool :
- Boris from HK Geopark: a fish with hard scales covering it’s body.
- Alvin Ng: fossils of this fish were found in Hong Kong and in Australia
- KM: Hong Kong and Australia were neighbours 400 millions ago so we have similar fossils
- margm: i find that fascinating
- Alvin Ng: we come here and see the fossils in museum
- Tessa: wow thats really good information
- Caitlyn: which museum are you going to or gone to
- Boris from HK Geopark: a small town which is about 300km away from Sydney.
- Chloe: what does it say on the whiteboard?
- Lauren: ??
- Alvin Ng: Geopark Park in Chinese
- Chloe: oh ok. cool
A little big classroom
The computer lab nearly burst at the seams, with a classroom that comprised of
- a mix of year 8 and 11 students (15 in total)
- five adult guests from Hong Kong
- two guests from our local GeoPark Kanawinka and
- 6 school staff, including our Hawkesdale P12 College principal.
Mr Young Ng, from Hong Kong, currently in Sydney Australia, was presenting to this classroom mix. Elluminate was the tool used. The adults in the classroom included Mr Alan Wong, the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation of Hong Kong and his associates of the Hong Kong Geopark. Joane McKnight, director of our own GeoPark, Kanawinka was also present.
Just as our class was about to begin, the technical difficulties set in. Having just loaded Camtasia Studio onto my laptop, Young’s powerpoint presentation failed to load. Each slide had to be quickly converted to images and uploaded one at a time. Precious time was lost and I became quite anxious, knowing we were wasting Young’s time and that of our guests. Finally some slides were up but due to their large file size, took a long time to upload. Finally Young was able to commence his talk and surprise our guests with his presentation. (Young was one of the initial movers and shakers ensuring that the Hong Kong geopark became a reality.) His presentation was supported by our guests, using the chat and their own mobile phones, with further details about the images being shown.
- It was only when the lesson had finished that I realised what had happened whilst I was anxiously trying to upload the images. Alvin, one of our Asian guests, decided to make a teachable moment, drawing images and Chinese characters on the whiteboard, asking students questions in the chat and then responding to them via the chat. Our other visitors also got involved in the discussions.
- As Young was sharing photos of the Hong Kong GeoPark, KM was simultaneously sharing his photos/videos on his phone with one of the year 8 students.
- Students were all given toys that represent some aspect of rock formations in the Hong Kong GeoPark. They loved this aspect!
- Read skippy’s impressions of the meetup in her blog post Special Visitors from Hong Kong.
- Our visitors from Hong Kong were able to experience and witness first hand the power of webinars and blended classrooms. They are extremely keen to continue using such a platform for further educational activities.
- Joane commented after the session that she enjoyed Young’s formal presentation but whilst this was happening, all this other activity was happening on the side! (The back channel or chat!)
- Students were so excited about this classroom that many of them brought it up when they came with their parents to our parent/teacher interviews.
Both parties are keen to explore the notion of continued communication and connection for learning between the two countries, schools and GeoParks
From Boris, Director of Hong Kong GeoPark:-
We were very much impressed by the elluminate connection section you conducted and are very interested to develop something from it. As mentioned during our short visit, we have just launched a school programme called “Earth Members” in Hong Kong. We are glad that your school is interested to join this programme. Another idea came up from the elluminate connection is a “global geopark E-classroom”. We can arrange speakers from each side to speak to students of our counterparts through elluminate connections. Students can then interact with each others including the speakers on a global level through the internet.
From Young Ng
(Elluminate) use such effective tool to share knowledge and feelings.
Personal reflections – What I would do differently next time!
- If I would have known how ‘down to earth’, friendly, knowledgeable and willing to share our guests were, elluminate would have been used for a longer period of time, allowing our guests to introduce themselves, their lifestyles and their work, allowing the back channel of chat/questions etc to further enrich the learning in a classroom where everyone has a ‘voice’. There would be many teachers and many learners!
- Save the files as a wbd file prior to a significant webinar using my personal vRoom