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On an e_Journey with Generation Y Anne Mirtchin
Immersing technology in the classroom and beyond into the globe!
Updated: 6 hours 17 min ago
It started as a normal, fairly mundane school day………
Well connected teachers will find there are many ways to learn, share and teach, teachable moments arise constantly and interruptions to normal routines may become the norm. Yesterday was one such day, when normal classes were planned and a relaxing night at home anticipated, but….
World Museum Scratch Day Saturday, May 18th
Year 8 students are participating in the Squares, Circles and Triangles project for the World Museum Project to celebrate World Scratch day. Students take photos of shapes in the real world and add them as a sprite to Scratch, highlighting the shape first and then sharing the whole picture. See an online animated sample.
However, this project is quite challenging and as I am not confident with the programming elements, we had to impulsively skype my wonderful online colleague – Lorraine Leo from Boston, USA to help us in our dilemmas. My laptop webcam shared the screens of students with Lorraine so that she could see what the student was doing, speak to them and help them solve their problems. The lesson time was not long enough. So a sample student project was emailed to Lorraine for further investigation in consultation with Yoshiro Miyata, the creator from Japan.
Mystery Pictures in Excel
Brendah from Sth Africa shared her lesson on learning cell references in MS Excel with grade her 2s with the HLW Skypers Group in the chat area of skype. Joe McNulty of Pennsylvania USA, joined our conversation. Within 6 hours he had shared a google document containing more mystery picture challenges that his year 7/8 students had created for Brendah’s young students. It was on impulse that I decided to use these tasks with my year 3/4 ICT class after lunch. Students were highly engaged colouring in reference cells to reveal the mystery pic. They discovered a house, faces, a flag, a rainbow etc if they followed instructions carefully.
Images of Brendah’s and my students working on the tasks were emailed to Joe who then shared them with his students, resulting in them being even more motivated in creating further tasks. Joe has now put some of these up on his google site.
Home at last!
Enjoying the last remnants of my evening meal, I noticed a message in my HLW Skypers Group popup seeking people to ‘jump’ in and join a hangout with Reinhard Marx and a class from Germany. The students were about to share their learning about “German Islands and the drinking water situation”.
I joined the hangout on my laptop as our desktop computer has been playing up and fully expected to be ejected from it due to my poor bandwidth. Surprisingly I was able to stay in but not able to use my video, nor see the screen sharing from Germany, but….. I could hear and speak to them. In the hangout were Endang from Western Java, Indonesia and Linlin from Taiwan. With me being from Australia, the foreign participants all came from islands – some small, some large and learnt about islands in Germany.
Students from Germany had prepared Powerpoint slides. Reinhard shared his screen with us via the Ghangout. Groups came forward and spoke to the slides and their pictures in clear English. Linlin and I then spoke about the importance of water, issues where we live and how we conserve it.
Next, a skype message came from Endang to see whether I could help her Indonesian students speak English to a native speaker. Two students introduced themselves to me, answered my many questions and then asked me questions. The chat in skype helped ensure that we understood each other reasonably well!
An ordinary day turned into a very exciting one in an amazing global classroom! How was your day?
When: Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 from 4-5pm, Melbourne Australia time (gmt+10) See timeanddate for your timezone.
About this session: It is with great pleasure that we have as our guest presenters, Dr Lukas Steinbacher, from Germany and
Binh-An Tran the co-founders of Cleverlize. Cleverlize allows educationalists to create apps for multiple platforms without coding.
With Cleverlize’s App Editor you’ll be able to mobilize your teaching without any
programming skills. It’s never been so easy before to build and publish your own
interactive & mobile learning.
In the webinar we will show you, how easy it is to bring your own learning content on
mobile devices. In detail the webinar live demo contains:
General description of the Cleverlize platform
- How to build your own mobile content in 3 simple steps
- File your content in different templates (Articles, quiz, flashcards, …)
- Design your mobile content
- Publish your interactive content for learners
- Roadmap on next features
Link to the recording. Read more about cleverlize and register to have your own login.
About Cleverlize (a promotion by the creators)
Cleverlize develops a solution that enables educators to bring their teaching to
mobile devices. The solution therefore is suitable for all educators recognizing that
their students are consuming more and more content on smartphones and tablets.
Go mobile in 3 simple steps – with Cleverlize creating your own mobile micro
learning content is possible without any programming skills. Just file your content
in the Cleverlize App Editor and choose a custom design. Following the creation of
content as well as adjusting the design you can distribute and (if you want) sell it via
a “one-click” solution. Currently we support iOS and HTML5 but soon there will be
more platforms available.
Multiple interaction formats – Cleverlize’s learning content is interactive
and equipped with multi learning features. These can be simple articles, images
or embedded Youtube videos as well as tests with different question formats, e.g.
multiple choice, matching, sorting or cloze. Or just integrate flashcards to your mobile
Access from everywhere and at anytime – publish to the Cleverlize
Marketplace app to offer your students access to your learning content 24/7. It
doesn’t matter where they are. With Cleverlize’s marketplace your contents are even
available offline and on multiple devices (e.g. iPhone or iPad).
It’s just the beginning – the Cleverlize App Editor and its publishing
possibilities are just the first step of a next generation learning experience. Further
versions of Cleverlize will contain intelligent analytics features, gamification templates
and integration of social networks.
When: Wednesday, May 8th 8-9pm Melbourne Australia time. See timeanddate for your timezone.
About this session: “Our current generation of students have digital tools at their fingertips and amazing opportunities to connect with others across the globe. During this webinar we will demonstrate some of the tools that can be used to engage and encourage students to express their learning with images, quizzes, cartoons, word clouds and concept maps.
Britt Gow, (http://twitter.com/brittgow) an innovative science and maths teacher from a small, rural school in SW Victoria, shares the ways in which she has used digital tools to connect her students with experts in Australia and beyond. Come along and share the ways that you use to motivate and challenge students to extend their learning with digital tools.”
All are welcome. Please join us and join in the conversations. Click on this link to listen to the recording of this session.
When: Tuesday May 7th, 4-5:15pm, Melbourne Australia time (gmt+10). Please note that we will be taking an excursion to another webinar.
As the National Gallery of Victoria is holding a webinar at the same time as the usual Tech Talk Tuesday sessions, it has been decided to participate in their innovative webinars as part of Tech Talk Tuesday. It is wonderful to see community institutions such as the National Gallery of Victoria conducting webinars for educationalists. I would like to support them in this venture and encourage people who would normally attend Tech Talk Tuesday to see how exciting these online sessions can be as organised by the NGV.
Monet’s Garden: The Musée Marmottan Monet,Paris is the winter exhibition at the Art Gallery from May 10th to Sept 8th. This webinar is for primary art and classroom teachers presenting a range of art and cross-curricular learning activities for the classroom. This session includes an introductory talk providing contextual information about the work and life of Claude Monet and an outline of school-based activities designed for a specific year level including
- Ideas for visual art making activities, including materials, media and procedure
- Descriptions and ideas for cross-curricular activities which have been designed to complement/relate to the themes being explored in the art room
- Discussion of relevant resources.
Please join me as a participant for Monet Comes to School for years 5 and 6 and support NGV. There will be something for everyone in this webinar. Here is the link to join this session.
The regular Tech Talk Tuesday will be back next week with a session by Cleverlize on creating exciting apps for learning. Don’t miss this one.
Reflections on an innovative, pioneering conference – the Flat Classroom Conference 2013 at Yokohama International School, Japan.
The goal: To provide ‘flatclassroom’ experiences for both physical and virtual conference attendees across the globe with the innovative use of cutting edge technology. To truly flatten walls across oceans, hemispheres, time zones etc is largely unchartered territory. Julie Lindsay, co-founder of the Flat Classroom Projects was the co-ordinator of this conference which was held at the Yokohama International School, Japan. Kim Cofino who teaches at this school was one of the conference organisers. Taking IT Global also partnered with this event.
Many would say that this is an impossible goal to achieve, others would not even dream that it could be made possible. Another rather unique feature of this conference was that both students and teachers attended, learning with and from each other.
Participation: There were 2 levels of virtual participation for teachers and students:-
- Participation via Virtual Flat Classroom® online spaces via streamed video, wikis, blogging, backchannels, twitter etc. This level of participation is one that has been successfully trialled at other conferences
- But the next level of participation was the innovative one -participation as a full team member in either the Leadership Workshop or the Student Summit by virtual participants. These participants were to be fully involved via the online spaces (eg the wiki, online documents and other media) with at least some synchronous attendance.
Read more about the virtual level of participation.
To this end, Julie Lindsay worked hard to ensure that the virtual experience was a collaborative, interactive experience and as realistic as possible. Two virtual participant co-ordinators were appointed – Jason Graham from Indonesia and myself from Australia. This required several online meetings in Blackboard Collaborate prior to the conference to discuss tools to be used, how it would all look, enlisting and updating the virtual element. Updates and further conversations were made via google documents
Interest was high in both physical attendance at the conference and virtual participation. There were 17 groups of students and 16 groups of teachers each group having virtual and physical members and comprising of approximately 5 or 6 members.
The tools used for the conference included:
- Email for prior announcements, updates etc
- Blackboard Collaborate: used for online organisational meetings, and as a virtual lounge or meeting place during the conference – allows chat, audio, sharing presentations, video etc T
- Twitter – to share conversations in 140 characters or less with the hashtag #flatclass2013– gave people a feel for what was happening, used to share links, photos and resources and generally keep the world informed. Hashtag used for searching was #flatclass2013
- A Backchannel using backchannel chat– this was the most successful tool for connecting and communicating amongst the virtuals in ‘real time’. It allowed text, the sharing of URLs the chat etc. Links to or embed codes for flickr, youtube, slideshare, voicethread etc actually embed the media.
- The ning- for networking, sharing blog posts, uploading photos and for sharing conversations in the chat. Many virtual people used the chat in the ning to find out what they could be involved in or what was happening.
- Flickr – for sharing photos with the hashtag #flatclass2013
- Wikispaces – the collaborative webpage of the conference – the program, participant lists, groups, tutorials and final outcomes from the groups were all found here.
- Etherpad – online notepads were set up for each group of teachers and students. This was tool was chosen as it is not blocked in any country – unlike google apps.
- Ustream – for live streaming of conference keynotes and final outcomes
- Participating in a ‘cutting edge’ conference that has the ability to truly flatten and remove any barriers – including cost, effort, location, time etc
- The virtuals collaborating and creating a video sharing our perspectives of the conference
- Testing and trialling google hangouts as a means of connecting.
- Finding the Blackboard Collaborate room populated on the second morning of the conference. Susan in Japan and her pre-service teacher students from Canada were in there ready to present for the Keynotes. Nerves, excitement and a little anxiety were evident. The chatter was lively, one student used her video to good effect for her linkup and all were able to use this tool to connect and deliver to Japan. This, for me was the best tool for audio, video and interactive connections.
- The degree of interest, the determination of some virtuals to be fully involved and active despite any obstacles etc
- The challenges of time zones and infrastructure
What worked well
- The backchannel and chat in the ning.
- The wiki housing all information
- The live streaming was a great inclusive tool as virtuals could listen to the keynote presentations synchronously and view the final outcomes. (There were technical glitches at times though.)
- The support and comraderie of the virtual participants.
- Blackboard Collaborate (BbC)was the most stable of the connections. I was at home where bandwidth is poor. Google hangouts, live streaming etc were erratic but BbC was great for video and audio projection.
- Having two virtual co-ordinators. It would be difficult to sit at a computer screen for the full extent of the conference but sharing it with Jason, made it possible for one of us to be on call and duty.
- Julie Lindsay suggested that the virtuals create their own video of what it was like to participate in this manner. This gave the group a sense of purpose and really inspired and motivated us to share and collaborate together. Thanks to Violet Lindsay for her effort in putting it all together for us.
- Although many virtual participants registered, few were keen or had sufficient knowledge to be fully and interactively involved at the highest level. Most were satisfied enough to simply be an online spectator via the live streaming.
- Many virtual participants were ‘lost’ and uncertain of how to fully participate. Their group was often too engrossed with the physical group and did not involve their virtual participants.
- Physical groups were often to busy to be able to take the time to include their virtual participants
- Some groups decided to work with google documents rather than the online collaborative pads which had been set up. This excluded participants from some countries or organisations where google was blocked.
- The live streaming was not active all the time. But it was great when it did work, so could listen to the keynotes and group presentations and understand the ground work being made.
- Intermittent use of twitter by all participants – for me this is a great way to promote and share what is happening at the conference and for virtuals to seek actively seek help and gain links to resources that were shared. Thanks to those who took the time to do this.
- Several registered students found they were involved in other activities once the conference dates approached and were unable to participate at the last moment.
- Lack of familiarity with all or some of the tools used for all levels of participants
- Problems in keeping up with the variety of communication options – backchannel, twitter, chat in ning and particpants in the Blackboard Collaborate room. People used all these options at times and chose the ones they were most comfortable with and the ones that they were able to access.
The virtuals often found it difficult to know exactly where they should be and what they should be doing. There was a small group of really keen and dedicated virtuals who really wanted to work with their group but the physical group were often too busy, too engrossed or not familiar enough with the tools to involve them fully. However, it is great to note that one or two teacher groups did work well with the mix of face to face and virtuals. One success story eventuated as they already had a connection attending and made prior communication with them. Live streaming gives everyone the opportunity to participate in real time or to check the recording, if the time zone was not friendly. The wiki and the ning were available 24/7 for any interested parties to be actively involved.
Suggestions for future Flat Classroom Conferences
- Get started earlier with the virtual component.
- It would be good to have a dedicated physical participant at the conference in charge of social media, updating the virtual co-ordinators re current conference happenings and playing ‘go-between’ physical groups and virtual participants. Ie a Virtual co-ordinator on site as well as several off-site.
- Continue to offer a variety of tools so that people can choose those they are most comfortable with and the ones that will work on their bandwidth and internet access.
- Create grouping of physical and virtual participants earlier, so they have a chance to connect with members of their group prior to the conference.
- Identify one group member in each teacher or student group (at the conference) to be responsible for tweeting, being active in the back channel and generally communicating with the virtual members of their particular team etc.
- Make greater use of twitter for updates etc
- Continue to have at least two virtual co-ordinators with the possibility of a third who would be on-site at the conference.
- Keep on working at ‘getting it all right’ as it is a truly amazing experience – to work and learn with others across the globe in synchronous and asynchronous time.
- Consider groups of virtual participants who wish to be highly active in both participation and in achieving outcomes.
Thanks Julie for making this possible and achievable, thanks Jason for being a wonderful virtual colleague and to all who participated at any level. Looking forward to working in a similar capacity again soon!
Were you part of this exciting event? If so what were your reflections? How can we keep on improving the experiences?