Posts Tagged ‘twitter’


Firstly, apologies for not updating my blog in an entire year! Although I feel incredibly lazy for not doing so, 2014 has been a HUGE year for me, both professionally and personally.

As you may, or may not, be aware Skype in the Classroom is a big passion of mine. I began Skyping with my class in 2013 when I was thrown into the deep end… A classroom without 1:1 devices (shock horror!). Since then I have had my classes connect with numerous locations around the world including the UK, US, Sweden, Ireland and most recently Cambodia.

This year I organised and held Manor Lakes P-12 College’s 2nd Annual Skypathon. At the beginning of term 2 I created a lesson on Skype Classroom and away we went. We had teachers and schools signing up immediately and within a few weeks we already had 10 schools signed up!

School Council approved the event unanimously and notes went home, they were returned quickly by some very excited grade 3 students.

Last year my grade 3 class and Michelle Meracis’ grade 6 class were apart of the big event, this year however only my grade 3 class participated. I had the assistance of Michelle on the evening as well as another colleague Mark.

Students arrived back at school at 8pm and our first call was underway within an hour. We spoke with a school in Ireland, it was a Mystery Skype. Students took turns asking yes/no questions in order to guess the country each class was from. We then connected with our friends at Norbridge Academy in the UK and after that had a short 40 minute nap. Then we were up and Skyping with Canada and 6 different schools across the US. We didn’t stop Skyping until 5.30am, when 19 students and 3 extremely tired teachers made their way to their makeshift beds in the performing arts room. Students were collected at 8am and much needed sleep was had by all.

Once again my students were extremely excited to hear the accents of all the different countries we connected with, having a giggle every time somebody mentioned we ourselves had an awesome accent.

We kept parents and the wider community updated throughout the night with posts and photos on our class Twitter @3JessMLP12C.

I believe that #mlp12cskypathon14 provided my students with not only an authentic learning experience, but also a chance to explore the world from the comfort of their own school. And if we hadn’t stayed overnight, connecting with places such as the UK and the US becomes almost impossible due to timezone differences.

A massive thank-you to all of those who signed up to our Skypathon, my PLN for their support, Michelle and Mark for having as little sleep as I did and my students for being passionate and inquisitive learners.

Skypathon 2014

Photo 11-10-2014 2 03 17 am

A Skypathon @ Manor Lakes!

For the first 2 years of my teaching career I was fortunate enough to be involved in a 1:1 iPad program. In 2013 I moved from grade 6 into grade 3… And I had no 1:1 iPad program anymore. At first I panicked. I knew how to use iPads as an effective teaching tool, how on earth was I going to provide authentic, exciting and engaging learning experiences without them?

This move was the biggest blessing in disguise. I very quickly learnt to think outside the box, stepping away from my comfort zone. I got my hands on some iPods, we began using Twitter heavily, started to blog, explored new tech tools each week… And we ventured down the path of Skype in the classroom.

We dived straight in the deep end! Our first call was to a class from Norbridge Academy in Nottinghamshire, UK and it was absolutely amazing. My class couldn’t have loved it more and didn’t stop raving about it for weeks. Our students communicated in a question/ answer format and I found that I needed to do very little ‘crowd-control’, the conversation just seemed to flow. And it continued to do so for almost an hour, an amazing effort for a group of 9 year olds!

I came across Norbridge’s ICT Coordinator, Camilla, via @SkypeClassroom on Twitter. I soon learnt that Skype in the Classroom is a massive network of teachers keen to connect their students with other students all around the world.

Norbridge Academy were taking part in an overnight Blogathon, they were making Skype calls to all different parts of the world and blogging about them. After this call I knew what my next big aspiration was, to organise and hold a Skypathon of our very own.

I got the ball rolling straight away, drafting a proposal for School Council when I got home that night. It was enthusiastically passed and I soon placed the ‘lesson’ onto the Skype in the Classroom website. This allowed other educators to sign their classes up to our Skypathon. I had registrations almost straight away, many from the UK and the US, even one from Sweden and Argentina!

After a term and a half of organisation and planning, my colleague Michelle and I (and our classes) held the very first Skypathon of Manor Lakes P-12 College on a Friday evening. Students came back to school at 8pm and we were off! We had set up two Skype spaces so we could speak to as many students around the world as possible. We spoke to several classes in the UK and the US, a class from Ireland and some university students from Sweden. Our students were absolutely fantastic, even at the early hours of the morning! They were engaging in conversations about culture and education, music and art, food and landmarks.

We were keeping parents and other interested parties updated throughout the night via our class Twitter accounts, which led to other classes signing up to the Skypathon on the evening.

The students were incredibly excited to hear the accents of different countries and learn about the things that are important to those students as well as what school life is like for them. There were some very intriguing similarities and differences.

I believe that Skype has allowed my class to learn in a way that is exciting and authentic. They can put faces to names of towns and countries and have been told first hand what people eat and do for fun in these places.

Skype has shown me that there is always, always, always a way we can provide exciting opportunities for our students no matter what resources we are, or aren’t, provided with. It’s all about thinking outside the box.

Skype in the classroom

Recently I spent some spare time on Twitter and came across @SkypeClassroom, a global community of educators all wanting to connect with other classes around the world. This Twitter account led me to their website where I created a Skype in the Classroom profile for my class.

After I had created this profile I was able to view, and join, Skype lessons. These Skype lessons have a ‘looking for’ section that lets the reader know if they are suitable for that particular Skype lesson. For example, Norbridge by Night is looking for a class with students aged between 6 and 11 to connect an collaborate with. There is also a brief paragraph about the finer details of the lesson. I was able to read that Norbridge by Night is having a 24 hour blogathon from 9am GMT on Thursday 27th June to 9am on Friday 28th.

I also have the ability to create my own lessons, which I will definitely be doing next term. I plan to create a lesson for our Inquiry unit ‘Where in the world is Werribee?’, asking other classes to share their historical knowledge of their own local area.

Tomorrow @3Jess are very excited to be connecting with @CCMercer‘s class in Nottinghamshire, UK. And in July we will be connecting with students in Argentina, South America and Leeds, UK.

My class have been glued to the world map in our classroom, identifying where their new ‘friends’ live and go to school. We have been discussing what questions we will ask and what we expect they will ask us. I highly recommend using Skype in the classroom!

Unit 7: The future of learning

I have had a fantastic time completing the VicPLN13 course. It has reminded me why I love teaching and learning with technology so much. It encourages creativity and collaboration amongst students and creates an exciting buzz in any classroom.

This course has encouraged me to write blog posts more often, reflecting on my teaching and learning on a regular basis. To share what I know and what I have learnt.

The highlight for me has been the large amount of Twitter and blog followers I have gained, my PLN has grown greatly and I love it!

Here is a short video I created using the free version of GoAnimate. I had some trouble embedding it, but I got there!

Check out my screencast on Strorybird! 

VicPLN by gallagher.jessica.s on GoAnimate

Twitter in the classroom

As you may have noticed in my previous blog post my class, 3 Jess, has recently begun to use Twitter PROPERLY. I say properly for 3 reasons that I will outline and explain in this post.

Reason 1: We now have a Twitter wall. It’s a window that looks into an office. I backed this window with black paper to give it a chalkboard feel, bought some liquid chalk markers and VOILA! a Twitter wall. I also added a clipboard and paper for those students who don’t feel comfortable using the markers. Throughout the day students are free to reflect on their learning at any point. We have discussed expectations and responsibilities, so I am not at all worried about students wasting an excess amount of time at Twitter wall. Students initial their tweets so their privacy is protected but still feel a sense of ownership over their tweet. I then upload these tweets onto our class Twitter account (@3JessMLP12C) using the iPad. This Twitter wall also has a space for ‘Tweeter of the week’ and ‘Tweet of the week’. At the moment I am the one who will choose these lucky winners, but next term I’d like to leave it up to the students to select a winner for each of these categories. There is also a space that lists the number of accounts we are following, the number of accounts following us and the number of tweets we have posted.

Reason 2: I have made time for us to read and reply to tweets each day. Each morning, after we have marked the role etc., we connect the iPad to the Apple TV. We go through any tweets that came through overnight. As a class we discuss replies and post these. We also go through our Twitter feed and look at what our ‘friends’ have been doing. These short sessions generate interesting class discussions amongst my students. I also stop students throughout the day when necessary to show them something that somebody has replied or posted.

Reason 3: We have made approximately 20 global connections in the past week. My students have become thoroughly excited by the fact that they are talking to teachers and students in places such as Ireland, New York and Canada. We have tweeted them, discussed similarities in learning and looked for their locations on maps. At the moment we are trying to get our Prime minister, Julia Gillard, to follow us so she can see the fantastic learning taking place in our classroom. 3/6/13 UPDATE: Julia Gillard followed my class. They were all extremely excited! 

As a class we have discussed cyber safety. We have spoken about why we don’t put photos of our faces up or give away our home address or personal details over social networking sites such as Twitter. They understand that we only initial their tweets in order to protect their privacy.

We have spoken about hastags and tagging other twitter accounts in our tweets. Some of the tags we have been using are: #vicpln, #literacy #science #mathchat.

We also have several parents following our account, which is fantastic. We discuss their tweets and replies in class, which the students love.

I highly recommend using Twitter in the classroom, it’s a great and exciting experience… If you put in the effort and do it properly!

Again I’d like to thank Bec Spink for inspiring me at ICTEV13.

Here is a few of our tweets from Tuesday and Wednesday!


I first attended ICTEV in 2012, and as a first year graduate it was a fantastic starting point for the professional learning journey I have been on over the past twelve months. I made many connections with likeminded teachers via twitter, I learnt how to incorporate augmented reality into my teaching and strengthened my use of technology as learning tool.

This year however I took my involvement with ICTEV to a new height, and presented ‘Learning with iPads’ with my colleague Michelle Meracis. Our session focused on how we have used iPads in a 1:1 setting and how I am now integrating technology into my non- 1:1 setting this year. It was fantastic to hear how many people enjoyed our session!

Some key ideas and thoughts I took away from the day:

• ‘The device should not become the driver’: In other words, technology should enhance the learning of students, not replace the fundamentals of education. Students need to know how to use technology to their advantage, how it can assist them in creating a better quality of work.

• Practical Knowledge Triangle: Knowing what it is, knowing what it does and knowing how to do it.

• Social Media in classrooms should be used for global communication, collaboration, sharing ideas, researching, reflecting, asking questions, sharing links, and creating a digital footprint.

ICTEV13 has led to 3 Jess creating a Twitter Wall (see image below) and making many links with other classrooms and educators all over the world, in only 3 days! A MASSIVE thank-you to Bec Spink for inspiring me!


Unit 6: Learning here and now

I can still remember the day my Dad came home with our first family computer. It was in 1994 and I was in grade prep. It was pretty much only used to play games on, all on floppy disk of course. I can’t ever remember not having a computer in our classroom. In the earlier years of primary school we used it for publishing stories and as we got older we were able to use the Internet for various projects. As I moved into high school my understanding and use of Technology developed. We were taught how to touch type, create Excel spreadsheets and use search engines effectively. In year 11 (2006) I got my first social networking account, My Space. Prior to this I had only ever used MSN messenger. In 2008 I opened a Facebook account and a Twitter account followed in 2011. In University the Internet was used to gain an understanding of particular topics and units.

I would say that my progression with Technology has most greatly developed during my time as a teacher, over the past 2 years. I have learnt how Technology can support student learning, create stronger links between home and school and engage those usually disengaged students. In order to do this effectively I have had to learn how to use particular tools, such as Twitter, effectively. I have learnt how to troubleshoot issues that I would never have been able to fix myself in the past, things as simple as a Wi-Fi connection.

I think Technology is fantastic; it has a great power to keep us in touch and up to date with current affairs at the touch of a button. However I can also see it as being an incredibly dangerous tool. We do not only interact with one another via Technology, therefore it is imperative that we are able to apply daily etiquettes to online situations. For example most people don’t go around in day-to-day life abusing somebody over their opinions, so why should this be considered acceptable online? Simple, it shouldn’t.

We, as educators, are responsible for showing students how to interact with one another in real life. We teach them what is acceptable behaviour, and what is not. And I think it is just as important, as much our responsibility, to show them how to be a good citizen online. It might be a bit of extra work, and maybe a juggling act, but we need to help our students to be good citizens, online and offline. Students need to understand that their contribution is important, whether it is online or offline. They should be willing to share and discuss a (polite) opinion or idea whether it is in the classroom, at home or on Twitter.

My 5 characteristics of an effective learner were: Curious, creative, organised, collaborative and motivated. I believe technology can support all of these.

Technology has a way of bringing out curiosity in all students, particularly those that are disengaged. In my experience I have found that as soon as Technology is involved in learning those particular students become motivated and excited by what they need to complete.

Technology allows students to be creative in many different ways. They can publish stories, edit photographs and explore build things. They can also share this creativity with the world through sites such as Twitter and apps like Wattpad.

Organisation can be developed using Technology. Students can create bookmarks, folders and clouds to store information. One would hope that this organisation would rub off onto their everyday organisation skills, ultimately benefiting their learning.

Collaboration is a characteristic that is considered an imperative part of technology at Manor Lakes P-12 College. I believe that Technology develops skills associated with team work. Students can work together on a laptop or iPad with ease and then naturally these skills will flow over into their everyday skills.

Motivated is another one that links quite nicely to disengaged learners. They often become motivated to achieve, or complete tasks, once what they are doing appears to be ‘fun’. For example if a grade 6 student had the choice between publishing a narrative on a piece of poster paper or on a blog or a wiki for a global audience, I would say in most cases publishing their work on the blog or wiki would win over more students.

I think in the future Technology will continue to play an important role in learning and teaching. Teachers will adopt the idea of global classrooms, there will be less face to face time with students, digital portfolios will be used more and the collaborative skills of students will continue to grow.

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.