Tag Archives: elluminate

Ideas for teaching students successfully in elluminate – a virtual classroom

As our two pre-service teachers, enter their virtual placement week, it is necessary to have as much scaffolding in place for them. They will be teaching a variety of year levels and age groups – from 13 years through to 17 years of age, using a number of tools, but mostly elluminate.

Therefore, it is time to reflect on what they need to do before their online class, during the class and finalizing class and have a running sheet set up for them, to use as a guideling. Following are some tips and hints on teaching successfully. What has been left out? How  could it be improved?

Planning for the lesson

  1. Book an elluminate room
  2. Organise your powerpoint slides
  3. Work out features required:- polling,media, app sharing, breakout rooms. 
  4. Plan a running sheet with times allocated for each activity
  5. Use as much interactivity as possible
  6. Consider an ice breaker
  7. Place the participants’link on your blog or in an easily accessible space.
  8. Seek another moderator to help you (if need be.)
  9. Use the chat and the whiteboard.
  10. Vary the activities
  11. Use busy images as much as possible
  12. Think about a discipline plan
  13. Set up a backchannel eg twitter or skype if there is a supervising teacher with the class.

Prior to lesson

  1. Enter room, test audio.
  2. Test, test and always test.
  3. If time practise any special features to be used in class
  4. Move the ‘start recording’ button to the side.
  5. Load powerpoint slides
  6. You may wish to start with a graffiti board, where students can play while others are getting into the room.
  7. Check the number of mics, the connection setting, tools allowed etc
  8. Create a timeout room folder (for those who are misbehaving), Create any breakout folders required
  9. Open any urls that you might wish to app share
  10. Send any files that you may need to share
  11. Make moderators of selected participants
  12. Go through a code of conduct with the students.

During the lesson

  1. Students should test their audio through wizard upon entry, may be allowed to graffiti or ‘Play on a clean whiteboard’ until all are in.
  2. Warn that you are about to start the recording, clean up any whiteboards, ensure class is silent and ready, then press record.
  3. Remember to speak deliberately s..l..o..w..l..y and clearly.
  4. Welcome the class/ give a general introduction to the lesson
  5. Briefly run through the virtual classroom tools
  6. Start with an icebreaker
  7. Use the timer constantly – short sharp activities
  8. Use images, little text
  9. Use polls where possible
  10. Get them to answer a question in chat, don’t press send until told, use a green tick when completed. Then get them all to send response at once (stops cheating)
  11. Use the chat, the whiteboard and encourage the use of emoticons for feedback.
  12. Vary the activities and make as interactive as possible
  13. Use busy images as much as possible
  14. Save the participants list (this is a valuable type of roll marking)

Disciplinary actions

  1. If discipline is required, use capital letters to raise your voice in the chat, send students to timeout room for a warning, keep them there for predetermined time, remove any tools that they have, send back to main room when ready.
  2. If student is constantly misbehaving, keep them in the timeout room. If you remove them from the room, they may still have the link and will just keep coming back in.

To assess student progress during the lesson

  1. Maintain video image on the working class, get some students to individually application share their work so that you can see how they are going.
  2. All questions should be placed in the chat, so virtual teacher maintains control

To complete the lesson

  1. Share any closing activities
  2. Allow sufficient time to pack up any gear eg headsets, netbooks/laptops etc
  3. Set up a whiteboard for feed back or have a preset survey link for students to complete
  4. Dismiss students

Finalizing the session

  1. Switch off the recording
  2. Make sure all participants are removed from the room before exiting
  3. Save the chat
  4. Save the whiteboards
  5. Find the recording link, (usually in an email of person who booked the room) and save it
  6. Share the recording link back on your blog so students can go back to it for revision etc

Enjoy virtual teaching!

Tech Talk Tuesdays: Breaking Borders with Web2.0 (Web Conferencing)

Claire Bloom presented on an inspiring topic of breaking borders with Web2.0. I recently met Claire at the recent Innovations Showcase, sat through her session and enjoyed it very much. Soon after, I met her online in a web conference leaders’ elluminate session. Claire asked me what should be done if everything went pear shaped! Well, that is exactly what happened this afternoon, when the links I tweeted, did not seem to work for those who wanted to join. Those issues were resolved, and just as I was to start the recording, our power went off……completely off. That was it no computer access, no wireless access, no telephone (we dont have mobile phone service). Rather than panic, I ran out to the orchard to try and get sufficient service to try and ring Claire. She failed to answer her mobile phone! No what! I walked back into the house and to my delight, the power was back on.

It took 10 mins to log back in and it was so good to see that Claire had started the session and those who were determined to join the session had succeeded. Claire shared stories of the  global, interactive project she set up with a school in Wellington New Zealand, using skype and elluminate.

Listen to the recording of the session.

From the chat came the following:-

Where to find global partners

Tech Talk Tuesdays: Voice First – eLearning using voice

Lois Smethurst presented on elearning, using the voice, which was the focus that her principal presented to her, when she was employed to work at Berwick Lodge Primary School. Lois discussed the use of digital audio in a variety of ways to help students to make sense of their learning and empasised the importance of oral learning. Quoting Lois   “audio is the

If I go into the room today, I’m in for a big surprise!

At a recent online session for web conference leaders someone asked what to do “should everything go amiss!” Response: “The show must go on!”
Well…. I had a night like that tonight. Logging onto the room for our second of three series for TechnoParents and connecting staff and parents together, I was utterly dismayed to realise that I had forgotten to book the room through the online conference centre! Initially we were going to start two weeks earlier but due to a busy calendar delayed the commencement of the online sessions.
After some quick thinking, I quickly booked a room through learncentral, grabbed the link and quickly changed the link on the two blog posts where parents and students would go, to get access to the session. This was 30 mins before we were to start. As the starting time approached, a number of staff logged on, some new to the elluminate environment. It was starting time, and we still just had staff until a parent appeared in the participants list and then several more. The session commenced and followed the following agenda:-
1. Quick tour around the features of elluminate
2. An icebreaker. Participants were asked what ingredients they do not like on their pizza from the following options:- pineapple, olives, salami, cheese. Participants then had to make up three pizzas that all of us would eat.
3. Sharing stories – what I do in my spare time! Thanks to Marg M for sharing their bird raising (Macaws) stories with us.
4. The Ultranet – with our Principal, Mr Colan Distel
5. Sustainability projects in our school with Britt Gow
6. Link up with American School of Bombay , Mumbai, India and our years 5/6 student volunteers at lunchtime, to discuss racism and Australia going to India to play sport with me, Anne M
7. Whiteboard brainstorming – where can we go with these online sessions with fantastic input and great ideas from both parents and staff?
Next week we have our year 7 and prep transition information evening. Should we invite interested prospective parents to come online with us for next week’s session?

Link to the recording

 Link to recording

Student 2.0 Student

Working with CEP (Country Education Project) on the prospect of online teaching rounds with final year Education students at the University of Ballarat, I have worked with some of the students as an advisor for their enterprise project. One of the students is named Hein. Hein asked to speak to my students on life at university, preparation for applying for university and general hints and tips for a seamless transition to university. He had prepared a MS Powerpoint presentation and used elluminate to make his presentation. I helped by booking a room through the Victorian Department of Education’s Virtual Conference Centre.

My year 12 ITA students were studying virtual team work as part of their course so this was an ideal application of their theory work. Hein talked from a student’s point of view so his tips, ideas and aspirations were interesting to listen to. The chat was quiet initially but students were soon asking some excellent questions in relation to advice on GAP years, university life etc

Listen to the recording

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

Malaysian Connections #4

As each week goes by, our logging in to elluminate speeds up. This means we can share for a longer period of time. Still, there were technical issues as Mr Zainuddin’s laptop would not work! So Zainuddin, the teacher was an observer! Hope it works next week. Microphones are still not working, but it is easier to start with the chat and work our way up to the more challenging features.

Three questions were asked of the students:-

  1. What is your favourite food?
  2. What is special about your school?
  3. List the technology that you use at home.

What we learnt:- the different foods of Malaysia!

  • nasi lemak
  • kuey teow
  • nasi bryani
  • laksa
  • catch of the day from Dome and chicken fried rice!

Students in Malaysia call their mobile phones, hand phones.

Here are screen dumps of the white board

Link to the recording

Malaysian Connections #3 ends up with Facebook!

Students say thank you

Finally, we are working through all our technical issues on both sides. Students from both schools, Hawkesdale P12, Australia and Taman Burkitt Maluri School, Kuala Lumpur entered the virtual elluminate online classroom a lot earlier for the third session. We were thrilled to welcome Lindy Stirling, the State Advisor for Asian Studies to our joint class today. Zainuddin, our teacher from Malaysia asked students three questions:-

  1. Do you prefer the city or the country? Why?
  2. What do you look for in a friend?
  3. What skill is important to learn?

Here are the whiteboard screen dumps:-

City or country?


What do you look for in a friend?


favourite foods

Lindy then asked what symbol best describes their country. This took a little explaining but here are the responses as written in text on the whiteboard:-

  • Tiger represents our beautiful country and not forgetting the hibiscus flower that represents the 5 pledges
  • Tiger because it represents bravery, wisdom and one Malaysia
  • Because I am happy to live here
  • Opera House because it is iconic
  • Kangaroo because it is on our coat of arms
  • The outback
  • The emu because it cant walk backwards, and to use it as the Australian’s symbol because it is important that Australia does not take backwards steps.
  • Uluru and the outback as it represents Australia’s most beautiful land

Explainingwhy they are iconic was more challenging. Can you work which are  the Australian responses and which are the Malaysian?

Final outcome: The next day, Melissa, excitedly approached me in the corridor to say that two students from Malaysia had added her on facebook. Now, where could that lead to, I wonder!

Malaysian Connections

Class in Kuala Lumpur

In 2009, my year 11 IT class connected with a year 11 class from Taman Bukit Maluri High School. We shared our cultures, sports, foods and backgrounds. To my students’ delight, the Malaysian students performed street dancing.  How did we connect? I was fortunate to attend the Asia Pacific MS Innovative Teachers conference in KL, in2009. Forgetting that the conference schedule started later on the last morning, I went down to breakfast at the usual time. There were few people around, but I happened to sit next to Zainudin, who was a teacher at the above school. He went on to win the most Innovative Teacher for Malaysia! We started chatting and found we had a lot in common. I left the conference assuring Zainuddin that I would be in touch. We linked up our VCE Chinese LOTE long distance education student with one of Zainuddin’s mandarin Chinese students.

On Tuesday, I booked an elluminate room through the DEECD online events calendar so that our two classes could share a classroom in real time. The sheer engagement, highly focussed attention,  powerful motivation triggered, laughter and sense of community had to be seen to be believed. Something very special is happening in the classroom and this has the power to cause a revolution in education.

The procedures

  • setup my laptop with speakers in order to use skype for videoconferenced introductions. Sat it on a chair so students could see the laptop screen. My setup is crude but our internet connection is much faster than KL.
  • logged into elluminate
  • Students entered my classroom and logged onto elluminate. Technical problems presented with audio but students worked through them.
  • Meanwhile in Malaysia the javascript required for elluminate took a long, long time to download.
  • We connected on skype, and each student introduced themselves. We had problems hearing some of the students from Malaysia as their mic did not work well.
  • All students then went to their desktop and proceeded to chat, add their names to the whiteboard. It was interesting to note, that my students used the text tool and KL students used the brush tools. See image below.
  • Next, they said hello in their native tongue. Amongst my students are two from NZ.  The KL students include Chinese and Indians.

………………….. and then our bell went! Everyone was disappointed but after a great session the students proceeded onto their next class.

Some student reflections

Here is a list of the students involved, can you work which students are mine!

Boys Girls
Bryan Kwok Sofea Lee Le Qian
Bryan Teh Ho Mei Kei,
Ong Jia Yi Toon Bee Teng
Rakesh Hasan Tan Sok Hui
George Vickneswari
Dhugan Yap Zhong Lin
Chris Danielle
Brad Olivia


In all the excitement, I forgot to hit record, so only the final minutes of our session are recorded. Here is the link.




What AM I doing here again!

As the flat classroom projects enter the final weeks, levels of anxiety start to run rather high amongst the student body – anger, frustration, confusion, indecision, lack of understanding, complacency are many of the emotions and feelings that run high at this stage.
So, as a teacher I need to coax, cajole, coach, encourage, teach all over again, explain, facilitate, survive etc to keep the project’s momentum going.
Some students
•get angry when a wiki war means that they have lost their hard earned work that had been added to their group page on the wiki, or worse still, their outsourced video request has disappeared!
•get frustrated as they don’t think they know what they are doing (and I know that they don’t!)
•don’t know what to put in their video
•do not follow appropriate wiki netiquette
•show some indiscretions in relation to digital citizenship
•have not had an outsourced video completed for them
•real time pressures (almost too much to bear) are experienced
To make matters worse, this year, a severe gastroenteritis went through our school with fierce tenacity, crippling it to a near halt, with more than 40% of the student body away for several days over a two or three week time period. With so many interruptions, I wondered “What am I doing here again!”
But then…….the magic begins!
•the student summits are held when students can enter the virtual classroom with their global class mates, talk and chat to each other in real time, work in an immediate virtual team, collaborate on the elluminate whiteboard to work out what outsourced video clips each student required and who would do them.
•At home, amazed parents sit near their student who has come online after school hours to be in the student summit with fellow students from Germany, China, USA, the Middle East etc. The flatclassroom is now highly evident.
•the outsourced videos start to filter on to the ning and there is real excitement in the classroom again
•Students who had been quite frustrated and downcast, exceptionally quiet in the classroom are suddenly stopping me in the corridors telling me about the wonderful clip that has been made for them
•Last minute preparations of final videos, mean that the year 9/10 students come into the computer lab to complete their work at lunchtimes.
•Their interested friends are in there too, to see what is going on and the room just buzzes!!!
•By now, they have learnt the skills of wiki editing, ning socializing, uploading the videos to the ning for final judging
•A high sense of achievement and increased confidence is evident.
Thank you Julie and Vicki for making this all possible – an amazing project to be involved in, at the cutting edge of both technology and education…… and already I cant wait to be involved in the next project. Students are enrolling for their electives for next year and are already coming up and asking, “Will we be doing the flatclassroom project?”