Tag Archives: polycom in the classroom

Kate Leeming -Virtual Stories from an Australian Adventurer

Kate Leeming     is an Australian explorer/adventurer, who has cycled the equivalent distance of twice around the world at the Equator.

Rarely do we get the opportunity to listen to motivational and educational people of Kate’s calibre. It costs too much to bring them into our school face to face and the distance from Melbourne is great. How wonderful it was that my year 9/10 ICT class could listen to her via polycom videoconferencing equipment  in a session set up by Digital Learning, Department of Education and Training.

Prior to the connection:

  • Websites of potential interest to learn more about Kate were emailed out
  • The access number for the session was also shared.
  • A test call was required before the actual day to ensure the equipment worked.
  • Students were given a short time to look at Kates blog set up especially for them.
  • A backchannel was set up for students to add questions, experiences or general sharing as Kate was presenting

The Connection

  • Kate was formally introduced, explained a little what motivated her to do what she does, what she has done and how she hopes to cycle across Antarctica in 2018
  • Kate shared her screen showing some of the amazing photographs that she took on her journey of being the first person to ride from East to West Africa.
  • Students added questions into the backchannel as she spoke

The engagement factor

  • Her presentation style was excellent and the images captivating.
  • Her stories and experiences were interesting and inspiring
  • Some of my most disengaged students weer active in the chat with questions, so she certainly held their interest

After the event

  • The event was recorded Year 6 in our school will watch that as they were absent during this session.
  • We can continue to follow her journey through her blog
  • Students will be encouraged to subscribe to her blog and add comments on her posts.
  • As we had to leave early, Kate kindly answered all our questions from the TodaysMeet backchannel and the document was emailed through to us.
  • Students will write a blog post and add a link to Kate’s blog

Some follow up activities and further research include:-

Learning Resources

  1. Level 5,6,7 Unit of Work – Climate Change and the Environment –   –
  2. Take the Online Quiz – What is your Ecological Footprint?
  3. Taking actionOrganise your own Expedition or Fundraiser
  4. Communicate with Kate – There is a Blog Post from Kate

What wonderful opportunities for students to get involved in? Why werent more schools in attendance for the session?


Year 3/4 Classes connect with Video Conferencing with Polycom

Capturing the engagement

Capturing the engagement

It is always fun to experiment and link two classes of a similar age group through videoconferencing.  Most of my connections have been global so it is great to be able to  connect with local or Victorian classrooms especially when they are of a similar age group. The best results and learning outcomes arise when the quality of sound and video is good!

Such was the recent connection with Ben Gallagher (well known for his Online Student Led Conferences) of Meredith PS and his year 3/4 class. As we both have Polycom  equipment in our schools, it was decided to use this for videoconferencing as the highest possible video quality is almost guaranteed through our Education Department e-pipeline!

demonstrating favourite sports equipt

It was a fairly unplanned, spontaneous linkup where we had decided to simply share our learning and classrooms. The year 4 students had a cricket workshop so I only had the year 3 portion.Student from my class found something that they could share, including:-

  • their sports equipment and container in the classroom
  • dioramas that they were creating as part of their study of animals
  • some worksheets
Colourful furniture in the Meredith classroom

Colourful furniture in the Meredith classroom

To our delight, Ben used the webcam to great effect and showed their colourful classroom and some of the great equipment they had including a revolving cube.  Students in my classroom were rather envious. His students demonstrated their white, write on tables. To our delight, another  his student had created and shared a wonderful diorarma that inspired my students and motivated them to add more detail to theirs. Finally, Ben shared some of the digital movies that students had made. This was also opportune as my students were finishing off their digital  movies using photographs and videos taken on their recent camp. The transmission quality was good and we could see the movies clearly as Ben used the ‘shared content’ option on the remote.

Sharing a student  diorama

Sharing a student

Only at the end of the session when Fairlie, an innovative educator at the same school, came in to say ‘hello’ did the bandwidth falter.

What worked well:

  • although little formal planning had gone into the connection, it became a powerful one when students were given the opportunity to share.
  • effective use of the webcam and its zooming features to share how the other classroom looked and its special spaces and features.
  • demonstrating objects to share learning (rather than just talking)
  • sharing content via polycom meant images and movies could be seen in real time
  • comparing learning and learning outcomes beyond classrooms inspires and motivates peers to achieve at higher levels.
  • the  evidence of improved communication skills and confidence engendered in the participating students.

Skype was used as the backchannel so that we could communicate if things did not work with polycom.

Blended Technology Use for great learning!

Polycom and Smartboard

Polycom and Smartboard

This morning, we booked year 2 and year 6 in for a polycom videoconference session with Terri Rose Banyon, an author and illustrator from New Zealand. See her book trailerThis linkup was combined with the use of the Interactive White Board, using Bridgitt Conferencing software. 

The Setting: An author/illustrator from NZ, presenting from New Zealand to schools in Australia from across a number of states. The linkup was controlled by technicians and Concetta from See Shape Share in Sydney. It was organised by See Share Shape of which we are a member. (It is free.) A school from NSW participated with our year 2 class. Two other schools, from New South Wales, Australia  connected with the year 6 linkup. Each session lasted approximately one hour.

How it looked with the Year 2 class:-

  • dialled the bridge number given to us on the polycom videoconferencing equipment
  • dialled into the Bridgitt Conferencing software on the Smart Board
  • Terri appeared on the Polycom equipment with her smart board behind her. Her smart board work was projected onto our smartboard.
Asking questions

Asking questions

The session

  • While we waited for the other school to dial in, our students wrote questions for Terri on paper.  These questions were written into the chat on the smart board, by me,  to share with everyone.
  • Terri read us her book Mr Bear Branches and the Cloud Conundrum  – a story about Lintfrey Longfellow who would love nothing more than to sit among the clouds. This was important for us,  as we did not yet have this book in our library
  • Two students from each school were given a chance to ask questions about her story and illustrations via a microphone and the camera on polycom.
  • Terri then gave some tips and lessons on how to draw simple type figures for great impact on the viewer.
  • Students worked on sheets of paper, copying her instructions and drawing their own figures
Reading us the book

Reading us the book

How the book looked on the smart board

How the book looked on the smart board

Why it was so successful and students were highly engaged:-

  • Terri provided a variety of activities – reading, question seeking, exercises, drawing
  • Students had a choice to view the pages of the book via either the polycom screen or the smart board (which projected a much clearer image) as Terri read it.
  • Using the smart board for Terri to share how she actually drew her illustrations was clear and engaging.
  • Terri sought physical feedback from students at times to vary the activities eg raising their hands, using their heads to view themselves from different perspectives.
  • At all times the presenter could be seen.


Hands up to ask questions

Hands up to ask questions

Teaching us to draw

Teaching us to draw

How it looked on smart board

How it looked on smart board

A student draws

A student draws