After the heat of the weekend where the temperature reached 41 degrees centigrade where we live, it was a refreshing change to see the heavy snow outside.The snow was falling in storm like proportions but it was in Boston, USA, not Hawkesdale, Australia, where we live.
My grade 4/5 IT class are about to start a global project, using Scratch. However, I am not very familiar with Scratch, so my wonderful online teaching colleague, Lorraine Leo, suggested that one of her grade 5 students could teach them the basics of programming with Scratch.
So Lana came in from her home virtually, and demonstrated Scratch, using videoconferencing with skype and its screen sharing application. We could quite clearly see her demonstration and kept the video of us on the screen so she could see our student reaction. All this was supervised and moderated from another home in Boston, by Lorraine, her teacher.
After the students were shown how to create sprites, we were walked through the Scratch online site and saw some of the global projects. Then my students had questions and lots of them. They were mostly about Nonia and what life and school life looks like over there. Most students were given the opportunity to ask a question. Then Nonia said it was snowing, so immediately one of our girls went to the microphone and asked whether we could see it. However, even though it was night time but we could still make out the snow and the snow resting on the outdoor seat! Magical!
The amazing part was it was our first day of autumn, March 1st, 11:30am here but it was still leap year, Febrary 29th 7:30pm in Boston! When told of the time difference, one of the boys said “Oh, it is four hours difference!” Then realised that it was actually 16 hours difference – maths, geography, history, culture, computer programming – so many things learnt from all these areas!
As the students said their goodbyes, there even more questions! What a great way to learn – students mentoring students, learning in real time from each other, speaking their own language and then having follow up internet access to find out even more. Thanks Lorraine and Nonia! We will share further questions with you and it is hoped that you might have time to answer them.
Here are some blog posts from the students about this experience.