Author Archives: murcha

A keynote that brought much laughter but also some serious messages

Two Annes

Friday and Saturday, July 24th and 25th was the annual DLTV Conference (Digtial Learning and Teaching conference).

The bloopers!

I sat near the front for the opening keynote for the day with Celia Coffa. A lady jumped in the seat beside me and said she would just quickly sit here for a few moments. I introduced myself and found out her name was also Anne. I wondered why she just had a stack of papers in her hand as everyone else had a computer or mobile device! But each to their own!

Whilst the formalities of the day were being announced, I composed a tweet to state who the opening keynote was – a Comedian – Anne Edmonds and searched for her website so the link could go on the tweet. As I loaded it up, the lady beside me said that that was her! Oh dear, I was sitting next to the keynote speaker who has won an Australian award for her efforts in comedy work! I did tell I came from the country!

Anne was a great presenter and reminded us that failure can be the best teacher. She constantly learns through failures as a comedian.

and this tweet sums up another pearl of wisdom from the keynote

It was great to start the day with a laugh but to also reflect on some serious messages. Anne is well known for her comedy on Raylene the Racist that reflects typical Aussie humour..

As a teacher, it is good to hear from people in other professions to broaden our knowledge and perspective!

Breaking down the barriers of language

connected classroom

One of the biggest barriers to global connections can be language! Students from different countries may be very shy and reluctant to communicate when they do they either do not speak the language at all or only minimally. Here is an idea, games or activity that can be fun to use in Skype and may be well suited for those classes connecting who speak a different language.

australiana

Memory Game

  1. Collect 10 objects and place them in a bag or box (eg scissors, newspaper, mug, ruler, flag, cultural objects, food etc)
  2. Remove objects from the bag, one at a time, share the object over the webcamera  to the distant class using videoconferencing eg skype
  3. Say the name of the object, hold a sign up to show how it is spelt
  4. Hide the objects back in the bag
  5. Students have to come up to the webcam, name each of the 10 objects in their language and then the language of the initiating class.
  6. The other class repeats.

sharing vegemite

Extending the learning – use skype translator, signs in the written language, google or bing translator or use one of the teachers as a translator etc.

Imagine if you connected with a class from a country

  • that speaks the second language taught at your school!
  • does not speak English at all!

What could the students learn from this? Why should we even try do this?

learning the language

There could be a number of variations on this game. What other games could we play when a common language is a barrier?

Mystery Skype OneNote Book – a great free resource

Vesna and student

A Mystery Skype OneNote Book has been released full of resources, advice and tutorials and it is free.  You can read my blog post on Learning Adventures with Mystery Skype. There is something for everyone – both newbies and experienced. It includes video tutorials, tips, time zone convertors and advice on using the Bing Maps app to record where you and your students or class have skyped and best of all it is free. If you have MS Office 365 you can also get student NoteBooks all set up with proformas for your class to record, reflect and evaluate. This can develop into a great digital portfolio for them and is fully customizable.

Download the Mystery Skype Note book or if you live in the USA, you can text a message “mysteryskype” (without the talking marks) to 41411 You will be given a url for the website where you can download the Mystery Skype Notebook. It is best not to download it from your phone but to access that link from your computer or mobile device to download it. The book comes with lots of links found in sections and pages. Have fun exploring it all.

Have you downloaded it yet? What are your impressions?

mystery skype one note

Mystery Skype video messages

Teaching in Australia, means that our time zone makes it one of the hardest to connect synchronously with others.

A request via Skype in the Classroom to do a mystery skype with a class from Portugal was read with real interest. However, our time zone is not good for working synchronously with students from Europe, coupled with the fact that 99% of my students catch a bus back to their farms and small towns which can involve more than an hour on the bus.

This was explained in a message back to the requesting teacher (Ana), but instead of giving up, Ana suggested we ask 10 clues via a video message. Students in each class would then work out where the mystery class was from. This was a new idea to me and it is always exciting to learn with others, but it was also a little daunting as I was not sure what this would look like.

Here is what it did look like!

  • Ana’s class sent us a video of her class sharing 10 clues. Her students were in pairs sharing one clue.
  • We watched it and gained ideas for our clues.
  • An answergarden allowed students to add short answers to what they think of when they hear “Australia”
    our culture in answer garden
  • A google document was set up for my students to collaborate on, and as a pair share their clue. Each clue had to be different. The link to the document was shared on my class blog for them to access.
  • We quickly filmed pairs of students sharing their clues, uploaded it to youtbe and shared link with Ana

  • Accents were a stumbling block for us, so we listened, rewinded and worked out their 10 clues. They were written on the board.

    resized clues
  • Students then proceeded to search for the answers to the clues. The music clue stumped us we could not work out whether their famous music was fun, or funk, or folk but then after some research and narrowing down the country to Portugal, some girls worked out it was “fado”
  • Finally most pairs of students worked out the mystery country might be Portugal. Here is our video response which has been sent to Ana and her class who do actually come from Portugal

As this was all in progress, students were highly engaged, actively searching, collaborating and brainstorming together. Further learning took place by more intense searching on some of the clues eg what exactly is fado music, where is Portugal in world soccer etc.

The White Night – and the Melbourne culture

white night melbourne

We often get questioned about our culture. Although we live in a rural area, the capital city of our state is Melbourne, a 3.5 hour drive away. By chance I was staying a night in Melbourne, on the “White Night

flinders street

This event has occurred over the last 3 years and celebrates some of what Melbourne and we, as Australians stand for – music, food, film, art and light. White night starts at dusk and continues through to dawn in the Central Business District (CBD) of Melbourne, with clever light shows projected onto some of our major historical buildings including the State Library, music/sounds in the streets, outdoor theatres, shops, restaurants and cafes open all night, bands and crowds upon crowds of people enjoying both the free and ticketed entertainment.

It shows innovation, ingenuity and creativity in those who set it up and made me reflect on how such skills could actually be brought across into the classroom. The City Square featured sculptures, clever light shows and sounds that changed regulalry. The lights adaption of the story Alice in Wonderland featured across many of the buildings in the CBD.


alice in wonderland

Melbourne is classified as the Most Liveable City in the World for the fourth year in a row and major events like this show why this may have been achieved. What major events is your town, city or capital city involved in?

Apologies for the black and white photos but my iphone is exporting them from colour into black and white for some reason.

#isteglobalpln Twitter Chat: Getting connected – Starting to collaborate

An twitter chat took place yesterday as part of the ISTE Global Collaboration PLN group. The topic of conversation was “Getting connected – Starting to collaborate”. #isteglobalpln This chat was moderated by Julie Lindsay and me. The questions were:-

questions

How would you have answered these questions?

Safer Internet Use Day

Today is Safer Internet Day #sid2015 – a globally recognised day organised by Insafe. In First Aid, one of the first lessons to learn is DR ABC. The D being of prime importance as it stands for DANGER. When using the internet, it is important that students also learn of the dangers, so they can protect themselves as much as possible. As our Australian school year starts, this is a timely lesson and should be enforced whenever technology is used.

resizied image

Australian Cybersmart organised webinars to be held throughout Australia for classes of students in years 4, 5 and 6 today. In Victoria, Digtial Learning partnered with ACMA to provide a webinar at 10:30am with more than 130 classes and more than 20,000 students logged in – a wonderful number to reach, all learning and sharing together under the guidance of an expert speaker. Popular Greg Gebhart ran a presentation on “Being a Good Bystander” using case studies, discussion, graphics, real world examples and time for feedback and reflection. Teachers were given the opportunity to test entry into blackboard collaborate, the virtual classroom software to be used the day before with help support provided by telephone on the day.

Students were also given the opportunity to participate as individuals in a chat or backchannel using Todaysmeet. Due to the large number of students online in the backchannel, the chat was fast and furious with some wonderful sharing by most students and lots of ideas on how to support their fellow peers. This is an amazing example of technology allowing students anywhere and everywhere to connect and learn. There were small rural schools, huge city schools, private and government schools all in the one classroom, connecting together and most importantly sharing their learning and experiences.

For Victorian teachers, further resources are available on FUSE for follow up activities and a game called “The Postie” was highly recommended.

What did you do for Safer Internet Day?