Tag Archives: Education week

If I go into the room today….

As I entered the elluminate room tonight, I wondered what I would find. I had just answered a phone call from a parent who had problems entering the scheduled room and spent 10 mins or so, trying to step her throught the processes of unblocking the popup filters on her computer. It was with some nervousness that I logged on to the room.

What if there is noone there, what if noone can get in, what if the audio does not work, what if my internet fails…

It was 15 mins after the room had officially opened, that I got in. To my great surprise there were already nine partipants in the room – a mix of staff, students and parents. Time was spent testing microphones and sound, with the usual mix of problems. Fortunately the majority of presenters were able to use their microphones. Here is the link to the recording! Soon, it was time to start the session. After a brief introduction to elluminate, an ice breaker requested participants to write their names on the board, colour them and make them look ‘pretty’. Soon we had a neat colourful board of names! The following speakers were given 7 mins or more to speak on their chosen topic. Here is what it looked like! (Here is the link to the recording)

  1. Ms Murnane spoke about her ‘week in a sentence’ task found on her blog, walking parents through how to add a comment and encouraging parents to be involved.
  2. Rachel Neale a prep teacher from Darwin spoke about the ‘teddy bear exchange’ with our school. She had shared photos with us and spoke about her class and why this teddy bear exchange was so important to her culturally mixed class. Tyna Lee (our prep teacher) also spoke about the exchange from Hawkesdale P12 College point of view. Questions came thick and fast for Rachel enquiring about life as a teacher in Darwin. Thanks Rachel for coming online with us.
  3. Mr Keith, our assistant principal spoke briefly on the naplan testing.
  4. Mrs Gow (our maths/science teacher) spoke about activities in maths and science for the past week and showed some wonderful photos of the activities, including the recent healthy breakfast. Finally, the Education week timetable was outlined, with students coming online telling us about the books they are taking to the pre-school to read to the students there. Alannah spoke about the golf day which grade 5s enjoyed today! Suggestions for the future use of elluminate with parents/community were put forward. There will be further sessions over the next two weeks and then it is hoped regular sessions might continue.


  1. Parents quite readily tried the tools and wanted to test microphones. They were far more confident than I thought they would be.
  2. The majority of parents who had said they would participate seemed to be online.
  3. The newsletter publicised our exciting events to be held for Education Week, and realised from the questions, that some information was missing.
  4. The pace of the chat- was very lively much of the time. Most participants placed comments, questions, statements of support etc in the chat. A great interactive feature of elluminate.
  5. Great to have our e-guest from Darwin speaking – added another element of interest for all.
  6. The students spoke and talked about what they had done today and were doing tomorrow adding nother rich element to the conversations.
  7. The strong support from our staff, including the principal class and leadership team.
  8. The strong impact and enrichment that images give to the conversations.

Follow ups

  1. Need to work out why audio did not work for some.
  2. Will question students at school,  to seek out who could not log on and follow up on possible reasons why?
  3. Sift through the chat conversation and record the  suggestions given for future use of elluminate.
  4. Determine what further advice or documentation is required.
  5. Follow up the times for some of the events on Thursday morning for education week.
  6. 7 mins was not long to give each speaker Need to revisit and discuss this limit. However, it does add variety.
  7. We could save the chat conversation but not the whiteboard, so I need to enable that next time.

Thank you to all involved. Another amazing experience showing the power that technology can give to education and transforming communities. Thank you to the virtual conference centre of DEECD for allowing us to use this room.

Related resources of interest. Engaging Parents using Sharepoint

Techno Parents in Elluminate – transforming educational communities

This is our launch for Education Week and an important step for a seamless Ultranet uptake

One of the final stages in transforming our educational community and associated readiness for the ultranet at Hawkesdale P12 College is to bring our parents/students/staff online into elluminate tomorrow night at 7:30pm for 1 hour. This session is initially offered for parents and students of our netbook program (years 5 to 9)

There was some doubt as to whether our parents would like to take up this offer, but there have been numerous phone calls, emails etc from parents wishing to come online – all excited but understandably nervous. We have a mix of internet access from dial up, to satellite to broadband.

How we will do this:-

  • Conduct a face to face meeting with parents in our school library to share conversations re netbooks.
  • Book an elluminate room with our Department of Education
  • Notices seeking interest from parents have gone out (repeated in our school newsletter)
  • User documentation on accessing and using elluminate
  • A practise run through will be conducted at school during lunchtime tomorrow with those students whose parents are involved. (Most of our years 5-8 have used elluminate before)
  • Students (wtih their netbooks) will come online with their parents (on desktops) and mentor their parents on access and use

Agenda for first online  meeting Monday May 17th

  1. Introducing elluminate (4mins)
  2. Ice breaker (6 mins)
  3. From our Principal (7 mins)
  4. Assistant Principal (7 mins)
  5. Online exploration: Ms Murnane (7 mins)
  6. An e-guest from Darwin – Rachel Neale (7 mins)
  7. From the classroom – Mrs Gow (7 mins)
  8. Mr Poynton – Education Week  (7 mins)
  9. Question time (7 mins)

Hoping that there are few technical glitches and a report will be given on the outcome. This online session will be offered for another two weeks, with the possibility of conducting them once a month.

How proud to be a teacher!

Students back at school logon to elluminate

Students back at school logon to elluminate

As a teacher there often few proud moments ,but last Friday was a very proud day for me. Removed from my year 7 class by a 3 ½ drive, I watched them logon to the computers in the lab at school and noted one of my challenging year 11 boys, patiently fixing the audio problems. That class of mine was in  video capture from elluminate on a big screen at the Crown Casino Palladium in Melbourne. Back home, Marg Murnane and our principal bravely supervised the class whilst, I, for a change was with their normal instructor Ajax, from the Ping project.  Jason, a Melbourne Symphony Orchestra member, was waiting to play the saxophone and clarinet, teaching the students about this instrument.

My class was to be presented to the Minister for Education, the hon Bronwyn Pike, as a forerunner to Education Week and the Innovations Showcase, held at the Crown Casino, Melbourne. Nerves were running rather strong as there were technical issues but they were soon overcome. So, as if by remote control I watched 13 of my year 7 students set up, logon and test elluminate. The class began, as the Minister entered and I was so proud to see my students interacting, working the chat and asking questions of the musician. The Minister, in turn, was watching the chat and ensured that questions were answered. After 15 minutes or so, a photo shoot was set up with the Minister against the screen projecting my class at work with pictures taken of Ajax, Jason and me.

The Minister with my online class

The Minister with my online class of students on the Melbourne screen

Teaching my students from Melbourne

Teaching my students from Melbourne

Later in the morning it was my turn to present to an interested audience on my “Flat classroom walls”. either of two scheduled “Tell Me”sessions or to one of the 10 “Show Me” sessions.  This presentation involved working with an online and a face to face audience simultaneously – an innovative addition to the Innovations Showcase. Carole McCulloch, from Mildura, was my moderator and again I had some of my year 11 and 7 students in the chat, plus a parent and fellow staff members, adding rich content and answering questions from the online audience.

Here is how it worked:-

  • Organised  9 students and a parent to be in the school computer lab, logged on to answer the questions in the chat for the virtual audience.
  • Prepare 55 MS Powerpoint slides to engage the two audiences, so that they both could catch a glimpse of what a 21st century classroom looks like.
  • My voice had to reflect as much emotion as possible for the online audience who could not see my body language.
  • It was important to keep informing by microphone, my moderator, Carole McCulloch, who was in Mildura co-ordinating it all.
  • Stopped for questions half way through and at the end. These came from both the f2f and the online audience. Had to repeat questions for the online audience.
  • An onscreen timer reminded me of how much time I had left.


Reflections:- There were several choices for the presentation. I wanted a movie playing in the background but that could not be worked, despite the presence of three screens. I had too many slides and went over time. The slides will be uploaded up onto the innovations ning. Carol downloaded a copy of my MS Powerpoint slides and sent them to my online participants. Presenter needs to multi task with elluminate and I had to remember to switch on my microphone in the elluminate room before talking.

Ping Session

Ajax conducted the session after mine. I had offered to have the year 7 students on with him so that they could add rich content and give an idea of how elluminate works in the classroom. Ajax had asked me to speak as well with him, so I logged onto a computer set up in the pod area and joined the chat alongside my students (who were 300kms away!) Again, how proud I was to see them following the appropriate code of conduct in a chat room, yet adding to comments, asking questions and responsibly working in an online classroom. (I am convinced that this is the classroom of the future.)

Further observations…

The venue was magnificent with views across the Yara river from the River room. Food kept being constantly replenished when it came to lunchtime. All presenters had participants supporting them. Technical help was quickly at hand. Well organised – like the postcard handouts reflecting some othe emerging technology grants Well attended with approximately 500 in attendance. Computer hub was good idea and the RILO staff did a great job, helping participants to sign up for the ning. It would be great to have wireless internet access available for future conferences.

My pride continued as I attended the magnificent dinner for the Excellence Awards, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Holding my curriculum innovation finalist award

Holding my curriculum innovation finalist award

Although I did not win the Innovative Curriculum award, I was proud to be one of three finalists up on the stage.

And to my dear friends on twitter, thank you for your shoutouts and joining me in the online session.

My dear twitter friends shoutouts

My dear twitter friends shoutouts

twitter Innovations conference