Monthly Archives: August 2017

Outside their comfort zone

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A plea from one of my colleagues in India, Anamika Jha, for some of my students to videoconference (skype) with hers came at a time when I had my year 9/10 ICT class. She teaches at SD Public School, Delhi. Many of my students were absent and I was not certain that the students who were in my class would be confident  enough or even willing to talk to her students. It would be well outside their comfort zone.

However, I did have two girls who were looking rather disengaged so I asked whether they would connect. As expected, they were reluctant but finally agreed. The skype call came in and I took them up to one of our small meeting rooms. Fortunately, the students from India were super confident, well prepared and surprisingly my girls appeared to understand them. The first question was asking the girls to share something about Australian culture. This flawed them and there was no response! Not to be deterred the Indian students proceeded to talk about their many religions, days of celebration and important people.

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Next question was whether the girls watched Indian movies or knew any of their famous actors – again negative comments! At this point, I disappeared to find some objects of Australian culture – food, animals, sports equipment etc. When I returned the girls had relaxed and were highly engaged in conversations around favourite books, music, school subjects, sports, hobbies, money and the weather. The looks of boredom that I had seen 20 minutes before had changed into engaged, smiling and animated faces as they chatted away.Video call snapshot 307

It reaffirmed that it is often best for the teacher to step right back and let the students work out the accents, speed and clarity of speech and to let them take control of the direction of learning.

Small groups of students connecting cross countries, cross cultures, different accents, speed of speech can have rich learning outcomes.

Feedback from their teacher

thanks maam
for this nice conversation with your students
my students were really excited to have words with your students
tomm.

Read Bridie’s blog post. and Georgia’s post

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Tel Aviv Virtual PD

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The use of technology tools allows us to connect with others in ways that would not normally be possible. I live on a farm, in a relatively remote part of Victoria. The distance, cost and effort of attending professional development prevents me from attending many professional development programs that may be readily accessible by my peers and also prevents me from presenting and sharing my work.

However, tools like skype, ghangouts, zoom, blackboard collaborate etc break down those barriers. One of my colleagues, Hili Zavaro who I recently met on twitter, invited me to present to teachers in Tel Aviv, Israel for a short time on “what the teachers can do to open their lessons to the world through global projects”?

It is interesting that the teachers from a variety of schools and year levels were meeting on a Sunday at 6pm my time and Sunday morning for them. A recent  presentation given at EduTECH was shortened  and a link to the document that was set up for ISTE 2017 was given so they could get some ideas on where to find people/classes to connect with, hashtags to follow on twitter etc.

We used skype to connect. I was in my warm winter clothes, they were dressed in cool summer clothers. After playing a brief “mystery skype” so the teachers could work out where I was from, I shared my screen and the presentation. Time was given for questions – one of which was “how do I use twitter for global connections?”. At the close of the session, I clicked the + button on skype, sent through the powerpoint presentation and the photos I had taken when I clicked the + button on skype and chose ‘take a picture’.

This did take 30 minutes but was a rather amazing experience for me, as in the past Tel Aviv has featured strongly on our news as being and area of conflict etc, yet here I am presenting to them as though there were no walls, barriers or oceans between us.

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Technology Tools, Apps and Software- Hacked

The last session I attended at Hack Education on the day prior to the official start of  ISTE 2017 was simply called Technology Tools.  As I am always looking for new tools and ways to use existing tools, I chose to attend this fast paced session. Below are a list of the tools that were suggested. Participants were asked to share some of their favourite tools and some of the new tools they were using. My notes follow:

Evernote, breathey (free listening on soundcloud), text expander

Google classroom

Post it plus for exit slips, brainstorming etc

Buncee – animated presentations

Loom – screen casting

Iphone clips for very short videos – can add a lot of things

https://studio.stupeflix.com/en/

mysimpleshow – storyboarding and steps students through to movie making. Telling stories – whiteboard writing. Generate script and it makes it into a writing movie.

Autodraw is a google product. Draw and it guesses what you are drawing.

MS Sway – multi media, easy to use, effective presenations, newletters etc

Answergarden – brainstorming, relfections, existing knowledge etc

Mentimeter – interactive presentations

Peekapack – social and learning platform, character building

tagxedo               – visual data dropitto.me (is now gone)

soundtrap – Make music online web based, can collaborate

recap app is free, a question and answer platform

wriQ – google addon When put essay into it, it will find the spelling mistakes. To grade essays, research papers etc Pull document up, goto screencastify can give oral feedback rather than writing comments. Google has voice comment.

ISTE blog post – 9 edtech tools to help with essay writing.

Noredink – For better writing – personalized. Free version. No one student will get the same problem as another student.

Some kids translate their work into another language, then translate it back again and it is different enough not to look like plagiarism.

Scavenger hunt- 5 egs of sentences that were plagiarized and they had to pick them out on a topic they were interested in. Kids had to pick out the basics of plagiarism.

Macintosh dictation – used with google docs.

Seesaw.me Student portfolio builder – have 6 blocks which can be picture, video. Can save all their work for the year. If tag animal, it can appear in student’s own folder plus the animals folder.

Chatterpix– Make your pictures talk – add a mouth, do a vocal and pic ends up talking  Parents can get notifications from it.

Google forms– surveys

Bucket feeling – how do you get to fill each other buckets – setup google form, fill Ryan’s bucket and form goes out so each teacher fills in each other teachers forms. Steve is a PE teacher who teaches the whole student. Done with 22 teachers. Everybody feels underappreciated.

Business start by saying why you did well. Digital breakouts are good as the locks and the boxes in common breakout edu  it is hard work

Digital breakout – less time to create one of your own. Google that term – it will take you to the breakouts. Have a digital lock to enter the codes rather than have a lock and key. Don’t have to buy all the locks. App for breakout lock http://www.breakoutedu.com/digital/

Do a digital breakout together with the students. Can solve breakouts over time.

Stations – middle school science – sorting activity with 3 columns.

Review is done by digital breakout rather than test.