Posts Tagged ‘global’

Skype goes crazy in 3Jess!

Over the past few weeks Skype has gone crazy in my classroom! And the students have loved every minute of it, as have I.

Warringa Park, Hoppers Crossing:

During Book Week I assisted in the facilitation of a number of eReads between our grade 3 classes and Warringa Park School. There were a few hiccups along the way, mainly due to DEECD restrictions, and we did briefly have to use FaceTime. However these hiccups were sorted fairly quickly and the successful eReads soon followed. These eReads involved the students from Warringa Park School reading ‘One Wooly Wombat’ to a grade 3 class. Some of the older classes were able to sign the story in Auslan and one of the early years classes had created masks to wear throughout the storytelling. In return our grade 3 classes read books written by Dr. Suess and Pamela Allen to the Warringa Park School classes. The sessions were a huge success; with both the students and teachers involved. We look forward to connecting with Warringa Park School over the next few weeks.

Squid Acres Kennel, Alaska:

About a month ago I received an email from Zofia from Skype Classroom (see previous posts for more information) asking if I wanted to be involved in a Skype session that would be organised and arranged by them. This Skype session was also to be photographed and filmed for commercial purposes. How could I say no?

Zofia connected me with Paige and Cody from Squid Acres Kennel and Lachlan Moore from Lachlan Moore Photography. Prior to the actual Skype call with Squid Acres Kennel I did a test call with Zofia in the UK and Paige and Cody in the US, both worked great!

So on Tuesday morning of this week Lachlan and his colleague, Michael, arrived at Manor Lakes P-12 College at 7.45am and proceeded to transform my classroom into what looked like a photography studio. There was big lamps and flashes, there was cameras and microphones and there was 20 very excited grade 3 students ready to talk to Paige and Cody.

The Skype session was fantastic. Paige and Cody from Squid Acres Kennel raise and race Alaskan Huskies in dogsled races across the continent of North America. Firstly they spoke to my class about where they are located and what the weather is like. Then they got onto what my class had been so excited for, the huskies. They spoke about the competitions they’ve been involved in, what the huskies eat, how to harness them up and what they take on a dogsled race with them. Then they introduced us to some of their dogs, adults and pups.

Again we had some slight technical difficulties, but I solved this by disconnecting from our college network and resuming the call via the 3G network.

I have gained access to the photos that Lachlan took, and they are absolutely brilliant! The excitement and wonder on the students’ faces is beautiful. Unfortunately I am unable to share these with you at the moment as they need to be approved by the Microsoft legal team, but stay tuned!

I have received some fantastic feedback from parents, which is really touching. It’s great to know that the opportunities and experiences I try to provide my students with are being shared and valued at home.

Canteen Creek, Northern Territory:

This week my class was to begin buddy Skype sessions with a class of indigenous students in the Northern Territory, well at least that was the plan. Lachlan Carlyle, a former colleague of mine, is now teaching in the remote community of Canteen Creek. Both of us were keen to provide our students with the opportunity to connect.

The project began with a few students in my class making a short clip about our class and school on Explain Everything and giving Canteen Creek access to this via Dropbox. In return Lachlan sent us a clip that showed my class just how remote, and warm, Canteen Creek is! Of course my students thought it was fantastic and couldn’t wait to connect.

So last week Lachlan and I connected via Skype, had a bit of a chinwag and got things rolling. We decided that it would be a great idea, given the age and cultutal differences of our students, to buddy 2 of my students up with 2 of his students up via Skype, rather than the whole class participating as this might have be slightly too intimidating and we wanted to ensure that conversation would flow. We could rotate through the students, and everyone would get the chamnce to connect with someone. We also tested out iMessage just in case Skpye decided to be temperamental on the big day.

Much to my disappointment I recieved an email from Lachlan on the morning of our Skype call, the NT had decided to undertake an outage, therefore Skype would not work. Luckily we grad tested out iMessage!

2 of my students and 2 of Lachlan’s students got onto an iPad and communicated to each other via image and text using iMessage. The iPad, in both my classroom and Lachlan’s, was projected so the whole class was able to see and contribute to the conversation taking place. And it went really well! There was questions being asked, answers being given and photos being taken. Hopefully next week we will be able to connect via Skype.

As you’ve probably already gathered, I’m a huge fan of Skype in the classroom. In fact huge is probably an understatement. I believe Skype assists in the development of communication skills and confidence in students, in both a fun and interactive way. I’m now in the process of planning for my next big Skype project, a Skypathon!

Unit 4: Evaluate an online tool

For unit 4 I decided to explore Storybird, a storytelling website that allows users to create their own stories using a range of themes and illustrations provided by the website.

Storybird does require a login. Firstly it asks you to select which account you would like to use, regular, teacher/ class or kid/ under 13. For a regular account you need to provide your email, gender and age. For a teacher/ class account you only need to provide an email and for a kid/ under 13 account a parents’ email is required plus the age of the child. All accounts are free.

The Terms of Service is quite lengthy, which can be a problem for users. Many users will not want to spend a large amount of time reading through the entire document and therefore may miss some important information in relation to their use of the website. However the Terms of Service of Storybird are quite basic and straightforward and the language used is simplistic. It explains that the user is responsible for their account, including confidentiality, keeping their password secure and not using the website for any illegal and unauthorised purposes etc. It also explains their intellectual property rights and the use of third parties.

I think this website is a fantastic website for learning! My students would absolutely love creating digital stories using illustrations created by ‘real’ artists. I would love to get my students publishing some of their stories from their Writers Notebook using this website. I would then add the link to our class blog so students are able to view these stories.  However I don’t see Storybird being very useful for anything other than digital storytelling.

The use of Storybird would enhance what my students are already doing. They are used to using apps such as Eye Witness and TourWrist to inspire their writing, Storybird being of a similar nature. I believe that Storybird fits into Augmentation of the SAMR model. Students are moving from creating simple stories to having to use higher order thinking when matching images that are not theirs to their own writing. Students also have the ability to then publish their work on a global scale and comment on the work of other users of the website.

I was able to create a digital story using Storybird with ease. There was a range of art and colours available and I was able to type my story into the template. There was also an option to upgrade to ‘Premium’, which would unlock more colours, themes and art. I published my story and I was able to add a blurb and tags as well as choose whether I wanted my story to be private or public. I selected public and I am now awaiting moderation by the Storybird library. Hopefully you can find the story here…

Unit 3: Networking

In 2013 social networking plays an important role in education, for both students and teachers. Tools such as Twitter and Facebook allow us to connect with educators from all over the world and provide our students with amazing learning experiences.

In my classroom we have a class Twitter account (@3JessMLP12C) that we use to share our learning experiences with the world everyday. We write our posts during the day as we are learning and publish them using my iPad.  My iPad is connected to the Apple TV, so students are able to see any replies we get from parents, or the wider community, throughout the day. It is easy to see the excitement and achievement my students feel when somebody replies to one of our posts, they are very proud of what they are doing in class and what they have published.

I have also had a personal twitter account (@jessygallagher) for almost two years now. I use it both personally and professionally. I have connected with many educators from all over the world, including the US and New Zealand. It’s great to be able to put a question or idea out into the Twittershpere and get so many replies and responses from a variety of different people.

I have had a Facebook account since 2008. It is a fantastic tool to use to connect with people. I have many family members who live interstate so it is great to be able to stay in touch and keep up with their lives so easily. I also spent several weeks in Europe over Christmas and was able to keep in touch with my parents and sister back in Australia nice and easily via Facebook.

I prefer to use Twitter professionally, and Facebook personally. Although in recent months I have liked a few educational pages on Facebook. At my school Twitter is accessible, but Facebook is not.