What if? This question was posed frequently at the recent Innovations Showcase. What if……..?
- Innovations Showcase participants could be shown what a connected classroom looks, feels and sounds like, using videoconferencing to raise cultural awareness.
- cultural understanding and awareness can be increased in real time with students who come from other cultures/countries/schools.
- students could text chat one on one and share conversations, in real time, with each other from other countries.
- students could share their learning with others across cultures/countries
- students are able to study the subjects of their choice independent of class sizes, teacher availability etc
- the use of videoconferencing and web conferencing could be spread across many more classrooms in Victoria and Australia?
- students who are home for some reason, can attend classes virtually.
What if? This question was posed at the recent, highly successful Innovations Showcase enabled more than 1200 participants to come together to share in innovation in education. One of the themes was of high interest to me – “Inter Cultural Understanding”. As our school is a small rural, remote prep to year 12 school – isolated both geographically and culturally, it has been important to use technology to expose, integrate and associate with other cultures. As such, “Little Big Classrooms” was the theme of my presentation.
To demonstrate what a connected classroom looks, feels and sounds like, my dear online colleague from Malaysia, Veronica Woo at teacher at SMJK Poi Lam School in Ipoh, Malaysia, agreed to linkup her class with the presentation. Her years 9 and 10 students performed an entertaining and professional capella based on the Lion King and a choral reading. (58 students in total). Here is some feedback from Veronica after the event:-
Well, it is definitely the power of Skype connection, you and the audience that have immensely helped in motivating our students, who are learning English in a very challenging situation where they rarely speak English among themselves, but it’s only with us that they have got no choice but to speak English! All this, plus the realisation on their part, that they have actually performed in front of a native English speaking audience of educators that have also helped in a way! Thanks to the event organiser and of course, you, Anne, for making this possible! Hopefully, the other students will also be motivated to see their peers’ achievement and change their attitudes and perception towards learning English.
Read more in this post Malaysian Students in a Real time Performance for the Innovations Showcase Please take time to read the comments where the conversations re cultural understanding continue.
Other What if’s that became reality at Innovations Showcase
- In the morning, I taught my accounting class from Melbourne. This consisted of 10 of my own school students, two from a city school and another student from a small country school. They can study accounting despite their school not being able to offer the subject. Here is the link to the recording of this class.
- A second demonstration involved teaching my year 11 IT class from the huge foyer of the Melbourne Entertainment and Convention Centre back at school, to find a student logged in from home (as they were not able to get to school) and my replacement teacher also listening to the instructions. As the students faced a deadline for uploading their video in the Flat Classroom Projects, students mentored and helped each other in the chat. Elluminate, virtual conference software was used for the virtual classroom. Here is the link to the recording of this class.
- SRC students who were at the Showcase entered the virtual classroom and chatted to my students back at school.
It is not what if?
…….Technology allows all this but ………