Tag Archives: Steve Sherman

Open Night – Open Classrooms

It was ‘Open Night’ at Hawkesdale P12 College . Families with students who are in year 6 are invited to come to our school, experience our friendly and welcoming community, take part in some classes and listen to stories from our students. These stories share what it is like for them to be at our school and it is hoped that the grade 6 students will come to us in year 7 – our first year of formal secondary schooling.

The science lab is converted into a wonderland of experiments, robotics are on display, cupcakes are decorated in the home economics centre, ceramic pots are quickly moulded and in the computer lab there are interactive connections to Russia and South Africa using skype.

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Parents and students were split into two groups. The first group were to play mystery skype with Tatyana Chernova from Moscow, Russia. First, Tatyana gave some clues as to where she lived. She had stacker or Matryoshka dolls to share over the web camera. She then showed us two wooden dolls in traditional costume. One parent immediately identified where Tatyana was from, based on her name!

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The amazing veiws from Tatyana’s home (as seen through the webcameera)

We hung up on the skype call. Tatyana swapped from her home computer to her mobile phone, walked outside and showed us the amazing views from her home. We could see the expansive artificial lake, with the River Moksva to the right, the tall buildings of Moscow centre in the distance and even more fascinating the football stadium where the world cup will be played next year. What  amazing sights to see. Thanks Tatyana! If time permitted, Tatyana was going to share a presentation with us. If the call failed, I would have been able to share this with the group.

belinda rentsch daughter

The second group had a different mystery skype educator – Steve Sherman who was at a Science Fair near Durban, South Africa. He had found a quiet spot with wifi to connect with us. Students asked many questions (only with a yes/no answer) and finally worked out where he was from. He then proceeded to give them some maths brain teasers, by sharing his screen and the prepared slides. Students had to think of  a number between 1 and 63.

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By following a number of slides, stating whether the number could be seen, Steve worked out the number that Layla had thought of. As we applauded Steve, the pictures he took of us started to come through in the skype chat.

dede sister

It was wonderful to work with these two educators and parents were amazed with the connections that are possible. It is easy to take for granted the wonderful outcomes that technology can bring to learning!

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Group photo that Steve Sherman took of us from Sth Africa!

Three G’s for Global

The three G’s

  1. Global presenters from across the world, presented on a –
  2. Global theme –  Globally Connected Learning in a –
  3. Google Hangout
My opening slide

My opening slide

Reinhard Marx sought interest from members of the HLW skypers group in presenting to teachers of English at a conference in Russia on the topic of “Globally Connected Learning” . The time suite me – 7pm my time, so I was in.

Steve Sherman from Sth Africa, Larisa from Serbia Russia, Maria del Carmen Colussa of Sth America Anna and Michael from Russia, Reinhard from Germany and me, from Australia logged into a google hangout to present to about 300 English teachers live at the Paedagogical University Chelyabinsk, Russia. The google hangout was chosen as it is free, could be recorded, allowed screen sharing and could be broadcast live on youtube.

Prior to the presentation

  • a google presentation was set up so that we collaborate and add our slides.
  • a google document and qr code was set up to allow for questions from the participants after the event.
  • an online meeting in a hangout was held in late December
  • extra messaging and chat took place in gmail or on skype
The university theatre with our presenttion up on the screen
The university theatre with our presentation up on the screen and the virtual presenters

The university theatre with our presentation up on the screen and the virtual presenters

The presentation

  • the presenters logged into the hangout early to test sound and make sure all was ready.
    However, we had many technical issues. I returned to school as the bandwidth is much stronger than at home, but my microphone did not work in the hangout, so switched to a computer lab desktop, which meant that I did not have a webcam. The first hangout link did not work well, so another had to be quickly booked by Steve in Sth Africa. We started a little late due to the difficulties.
  • Steve and Reinhard co-ordinated the session virtually, whilst a technician in Russia ensured all was working there.
  • Reinhard commenced the presentation and then the rest of us spoke to our slides for approximately 7 mins.
Larissa of Siberia waits to give her presentation

Larissa of Siberia waits to give her presentation

The highlights

  • being part of a presentation that involved speakers from so many continents
  • seeing the theatre that our participants were in, in Russia – always amazing to think that this can be even done!
  • having two experts on hangouts in our midst
  • listening to my colleagues share their experiences with globally connected learning
  • just being able to be part of a presentation that involved the globe!
  • pioneering and paving the way for more presentations like this

The challenges

  • as always, technology does not always work as it should but we kept working at alternatives to ensure the presentation went ahead
  • keeping all presenters, who all had so much to share, to their assigned time frame
  • ensuring presenters had their mics on mute when not speaking as any movement often activated their image on the main screen
  • learning to have the current presenter or speakers module highlighted so we could see the shared screen
  • speaking slowly and clearly enough to allow for differing accents

hangout snapshot of slide
Here is our presentation