Lights, camera, action!

An excited but rather nervous audience gathered together sharing conversations whilst waiting for the TV camera team to enter the classroom and commence filming. A newspaper reporter waited in the wings to catch the news in print. One team member made sure his hair was done neatly. Others completed tasks on their computer while they waited. I was introduced to the key teachers and students involved whilst we waited for the camera crew to arrive.

This was no normal audience as it was not local but global in nature. Katherine from Austria had put a skype text into the group chat looking for people to be online with her for her first class of the day. A TV camera team was coming in to film her class using skype to  videoconference with other countries. In the wings waiting, were educators from England, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Lithuania, Peru and me from Australia online ready to be part of the action.

The newspaper reporter with Veronica in Malaysia

Veronica and Evon of Malaysia had a news reporter from Ipoh with them.  While we waited they interveiwed me and shared their plans for promoting their local region, called Perak in 2012. Using the webcam, they shared brochures and promotional material using the webcam and talked of the exciting places to visit in Perak.

The Austrian students

Soon it was time for me to come online with the students in Austria. Skype started to falter, so the Austrian classroom switched off their video. This meant that I could not see or feel what was going on the other end of the world but the connection was then stable enough to allow my webcam to project my image.

We chatted about:-

  • the weather and seasons
  • school
  • holidays
  • food and meals
  • Australian culture and icons – I showed vegemite, the Australian flag and some of the beautiful Australian native flowers that are currently flowering in our spring season. They talked about eidelweiss.

Sharing Australian spring flowers

How amazing is this!  A global group all waiting in the wings to share the exciting learning and sharing that technology can bring to the classroom. My local media rarely feature the fantastic work that can be done with technology and yet we can be featured on TV on the other side of the world and be part of a newspaper report in Malaysia, both events occurring within 30 mins of each other.
What experiences have you had with media? What can you share about videoconferencing with skype?

The real life participants in this drama:-

  • the teacher combing his hair was from the UK, waiting with his class.

4 responses to “Lights, camera, action!

  1. It was really quite an experience having all the different countries coming together for a global interactive classroom sharing session. Kudos to Katherine from Austria for initiating the move to get us connected and at the same time with the TV crew on hand to document this virtual experience! Thanks to Katherine and thanks, too, to each and everyone who participated!

    Over here in Malaysia, our recent Skype linkup with Anne’s school for the recent Melbourne Writers’ Festival ‘Global Student’ event was reported by our local Chinese press, the report of which I had already sent to Anne, with the English translation. That was the second time that our effort was publicised by the local media, with the first being our video conferencing with Hutt International Boys’ School, New Zealand last year. So, our linkup with Austria this morning will be the third report done by the local media here. Anne, not many people are aware of the wonderful things teachers can do in the classroom with technology, and in fact some of those who do get to know about it are either sceptical or completely ignorant about the idea of teaching with ICT! And to knock down these barriers, the next best thing to do, through my own experience is to organise or participate in some events, especially special ones, to get the press interested enough to want to come and report on it. I think this is how the press works in a way! So, go for it and give the press the news first before they give the public the news!

    Anne, I’m afraid that’s me in the picture with our local pressman, James from the Ipoh Echo! Ipoh Echo is also writing the newsletter for Tourism Perak and our linkup with Austria will definitely be something for him to write about, especially with our effort as part of the community helping to promote tourism in our beloved state of Perak via Skype, an alternative social media!

    Skype has improved a lot since the first when I tried experimenting with it, that was way back in 2005 but the streaming was really, really bad then. And of course, six years later, though it has improved tremendously, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Hopefully, people working for Skype are reading this here and will try to do something about this, keep on improving the streaming connection. Thanks, Skype!

    Thanks Anne for this ‘awareness raising’ blogpost and of course thanks, too, to Katherine for making this happened in the first instance. Thanks, of course, to everyone else who had participated. A big round of applause to us, the Skype educators!

    • Thanks Veronica for a comment that explains so much of what we are trying to do. I hope your newspaper reporter was still there when you were connected to the Austrian classroom. Technology never ceases to amaze me – at least the possibilities that it can bring to learning. You are right, so often we forget that many do not know of its powers as it just seems to be immersed in our classrooms and is taken for granted.
      Sorry about the mistaken identity- shall fix that up. Think the cameras dazzled me and I was not thinking properly. Thanks for being part of my network, Veronica and all the best with your Visit Perak promotion.

  2. What a wonderful story. Thanks to Anne and Veronica for sharing this fabulous experience.

    • Hi Sally, it is rather an amazing story isn’t it, but it fully illustrates the global collaboration that can now be made with technology.

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