Going ‘dotty’ with a mobile teacher!

Hands were up all over the classroom from students new to Scratch trying to complete their sprite. Patiently the teacher moved around the room, answering those questions.  But………….. the teacher ……..

  1. was not in the physical classroom, but moved around the room, on the screen of an iPad using skype
  2. lived 1000’s of kilometres away in Boston USA (my class is in south eastern Australia)

Taking it back an hour…..Sometimes, I think nothing more amazing can happen with technology in the classroom, but it continues on! I had just been chatting on skype to Lorraine Leo who had encouraged me to get students involved in the World Museum Dot Project for International Dot Day. However, I am not at all confident or competent with Scratch. Then, the bell went and it was time to teach year 7 ICT.

Thinking this was a great and simple way to introduce students in Year 7 to Scratch, the students as usual push the software tool to the boundaries to create what they want their desired outcomes. And so, the students had lots of questions. Most chose to use the editing pad in Scratch but a few created a dot in MS Paint, some sprites had to be cropped, some had mutliple sprites using them to combine into one etc! Unfortunately, I could not answer the questions and my first reaction was to skype Lorraine and see if she was still online. This is a class of 26 students and I had to lend one of the students my laptop as he did not have access to a desktop or netbook. 

Yikes! that meant I could not use my laptop to skype, as I usually do! I suddenly remembered my iPad and quickly logged onto skype on it. The front camera was used to introduce the student to Lorraine and then the back camera was used by the student to show Lorraine their screen whilst talking through their questions and problems. As Lorraine finished speaking to one student, she was passed onto the next. Sometimes a second student had to hold the iPad still, so that the requesting student could use the keyboard and computer screen to do what Lorraine was telling them.

Three heads, four hands collaborate to solve the problem!

At one stage, two girls took Lorraine out into the corridor so they could quite clearly hear her instructions. The 50 minute lesson soon finished and most students completed their sprite ready for me to upload to the World Museum site.

Highlights of the first time use of skype on an iPad in the classroom.

  • The intriguing part was that they students did not bat an eyelid or even look  amazed! They just treated Lorraine like their teacher in the physical classroom and not the virtual one that she was, one who lived worlds away, in another day and another time zone.
  • the mobility of the iPad meant that the students could remain in their seats and share their work
  • the problems were solved NOW. Time was not wasted trying to find answers etc.
  • the two camera options on the iPad were fabulous to work with in this environment.
  • individualized learning at its best.

Thanks Lorraine for being a great team teacher for us and giving up your precious night time. We are successfully ‘dotty’ now! Have you used a mobile teacher? If you have an iPad how do you use the functionality of the two cameras? How can we take such an experience further?


15 responses to “Going ‘dotty’ with a mobile teacher!

  1. Hello Anne, I’m glad that your students seem to have enjoyed creating their dots with the help from Lorraine. Lorraine just told me that she has your students’ sprites.  We are now working to put them together with the sprites from other partners from around the world.  I will let you know when we have the World Dot Project online.

  2. Pingback: Can Technology Be Useful In The Classroom?

  3. Hi Anne, It was great fun skyping into your class via iPad. The audio and video quality of the call were excellent! It seemed as though I was looking directly at the student’s Scratch project rather than through the lens of the iPad!
    I appreciated the time that you took to introduce me to each of your students and to see their work. And I was very happy that I could help some of them with questions that my students also had when they were working on their dot project. You’re right. All of the students spoke with me as if I was right in the room. Fortunately, over the years, you have provided them with a rich experience in connecting with and collaborating with others so the technology is seamless. I will look forward to joining you again via iPad anytime!

    • Thank you Lorraine, you have been a great mentor and special colleague to me over the last four or five years. Although we have never met face to face, I do regard you as a close friend and special teaching partner. I am still amazed at how well using the iPad worked. We just kept on passing you on to the next student who had questions. The students were so engaged and so motivated to complete their sprite, that they lost any shyness in talking with you and were simply intent on getting the sprite completed. They got 1 on 1 attention and teaching. Thanks again.

  4. Hello Anne,

    Happy International Dot Day!!
    Thank you so much for the beautiful dot images by your students. They are all very interesting designs.
    I and a student of mine have incorporated them into the World Dot Project animation:


    You can zoom in to the images with the mouse pointer (Telescope-ish shaped).
    I hope you will enjoy the animation, too! Please let us know if you have any suggestions for improvements.
    We will add more dots to the project as we receive them from around the world.

    • Yohsiro thank you so much for creating this project and to you and your student for putting the finished outcomes online. It just looks fabulous! The students will be thrilled to see their creations added to a professional looking platform – a platform that includes other global students. I hope we can continue to work on your projects! Will you be doing one for International Peace Day? Thanks again.

  5. This is what I love so much about Global Collaboration 😉

  6. WOW, Anne, Lorraine!!
    I feel sad, I have no such smarties around me. Although I am doing my best http://bit.ly/QNEsSS for FREE, the teachers are reluctant to allow me to interact with the students who have 1:1 laptop.

    Teachers here, resistant to technology, permit tax payers money to be wasted. All that 1:1 laptop students in schools in Kerala do is learn to use Paint and Gimp! Students here envy your students.

    • Hi Sebastian, what can we do to help you? I admire your energy, your enthausiasm and your ‘never give up’ attitude. We are here to support you until and when you are able to convince them otherwise. Soldier on!!

  7. Pingback: International Dot Day | On an e-Journey with Generation Y

  8. Anne and Lorraine, your experience is very inspiring!

  9. Katherine Zablatnik

    This is so touching!!!! Hard to believe!

  10. Pingback: Processes involved in global collaboration | On an e-Journey with Generation Y

  11. Pingback: Processes Involved in Global Collaboration | The Global Classroom Project

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