Upon dialling Timboon Consolidated School’s polycom equipment, Jenny, the librarian promptly answered, said ‘hello’ but a little dog could be distinctly heard in the background drowning out some of the audio. She hastily said ‘excuse me” and disappeared from view. Instantly a little black poodle ran up to the equipment and excitedly barked and carried on at me. The more I spoke to it, the louder it’s barking got! What a to do!
Within a few minutes, Jenny returned but the little dog stayed. I thought she would take it away and find it’s rightful owner but by now it was quiet. Jenny proceeded to tell me that the dog, Pablo, was part of the school’s animal program and he was in fact, the library dog!
Part of my role as a virtual conference coach is to help teachers use polycom high definition videoconferencing equipment. This equipment has been rolled out to a number of schools by the Victorian Department of Education and I dialled Jenny, the librarian from Timboon Consolidated School to step her through the procedures. After going through the basics of remote controls, the microphone, camera etc, we again discussed the role of the dog. This discussion would make an ideal lesson for my year 7 ICT class. Jenny agreed to talk to them last week, invited the year 7 teacher, Lisa, and class to connect as well. Lisa is the teacher who introduced the dogs into the school.
And so it came to be that:-
- my year 7ICT class linked up with a year 7 English class from Timboon – another small rural schoolThe two classes
- we learnt about the role of the dogs in the school and their importance eg students who came to the library would often read out loud to the dogs. They relaxed, developed confidence as the dog did not know if they were not reading fluently or were making mistakes. Other children who may be feeling down, will cuddle the dogs in the classroom and gain comfort from them etc
- we shared our environments, using the remote controls to swing the camera to the windows to show ‘what was outside our window’. We had the primary school sports and a race was in progress, Timboon showed us the trees outside their window where resident koalas were perched in the trees.
- students stood to speak, introduce themselves and share their favourite subjects, which led to more questions etc
- An hour quickly flew by and we have agree to link up several times over the semester and share further activities.
- learning to use the remote controls and camera effectively
- learning to speak articulately, project the voice and talk to the camera
Some of the learning that took place has been documented as students were asked to record three things they learnt and one question that they still may have on their blogs.
- Chelsea’s Polycom with Year 7 in Timboon
- Polycom with year 7 Timboon Class by Caitlyn
- Timboon Year 7 by Kyle
- Polycom with Timboon Year 7 class by Jayde
Future linkups – could Pablo listen to our school students reading to him via the equipment?