Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ist Skype Calls!

Well I have just completed my first two skype calls between Edinburgh and New Zealand tonight! 

The first was with room 20 at Botany Downs School and the second was with room 5 at Waiuku School.  The children and their teachers were absolutely brilliant and answered all our questions in lots of detail.  I have recorded the calls using Call Recorder for skype so I can share the information with my class tomorrow as the time difference makes it impossible for the children to speak directly to each other as it is too late here. 

My next step is to upload the video files into Glow so the children in my class can add comments and we can add some video response of our own to hopefully continue the conversation with our new friends.  I am very excited about this project and look forward to further calls.  Thanks you to Bridget Smith and Rachel Boyd for their support with this.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Glow Developments

Well it's been a very long time in between posts on this blog although I have been very busy eLearning-wise since I last blogged!

We are getting ready for a Global Citizenship focus week at school where each class will compare schools in Scotland with schools in other countries.  I immediately thought of New Zealand and set about contacting friends and asking if we could skype to share information.  Unfortunately I hit a snag when I discovered it's not possible to skype in school, however, this was quickly addressed when I spoke with our Cluster Glow mentor and I am very excited that he has been able to set up an area where I can host some videos of my primary 4 class talking about school life in Scotland.  The teachers in New Zealand can be given access to the area so they can share the information with their classes.

In preparation my class visited some of the teacher's class blogs which they were highly motivated by and immediately they began requesting "Can we have a blog?"  I would like to thank and acknowledge each of the teachers involved and am very much looking forward to this collaboration which I will be detailing here.

Year 1 blog - Riverdale School
Year 1 blog - Waiuku School
Year 3 blog - Meadowbank School
Year 4 Blog - Elm Park School
Year 4 blog - Botany Downs School

Monday, October 18, 2010

Presenting at ULearn 2010

I was fortunate to be able to present at ULearn this month and really enjoyed the experience. As I am currently in Edinburgh this required additional organisation and communication with the organisers of the Conference. I have just completed my Presenters Survey providing feedback to the ULearn organisers and uploaded my Presenters Materials which finishes the process for me for 2010 and I am happy to say that the entire thing was a complete delight from start to finish.

The process began with my submission to present at the Conference on behalf of my school, Shelly Park, and the Eastnet Cluster we are part of. I was very happy when my submission was accepted and prepared my presentation with the idea of presenting in person in Christchurch. That changed when I had to return to Scotland but as I was still very keen to present I contacted the organisers and asked if it might be possible to still present via skype. Sherry Crisp was very helpful and supportive and assured me that this was very possible. I decided to first present at the Eastnet Cluster Expo to share my findings with other professionals in our Cluster and also as part of my preparation for ULearn.

Presenting at the Eastnet Expo (click here for the link to relevant post) allowed me to prepare for potential technical difficulties at ULearn.  I attempted to avoid these by giving my co-presenter, Ruth Aw, a copy of my Powerpoint Presentation along with the video clips I wanted to include and the handout for the attendees so that she had that with her in Christchurch.  We practised skyping several times and I successfully shared my screen and maintained effective audio and video contact throughout.  However, when it came to presenting the workshop the share the screen facility dropped off.  Despite re-starting and logging out of skype I couldn't correct the problem.  I continued with the audio and talked Ruth through the slideshow by asking her to click onto the next slide or advance the animations to accompany what I was saying.  This must have been a bit distracting for the audience.  I think it would have been helpful to have given Ruth my presenter's notes with the slides numbered beside each paragraph and then she would have been able to progress the slides without me.  Something for me to consider next time!

I found the audience absolutely fantastic and was thrilled that they had several questions for me at the end.  I hope that some will be interested in continuing the conversation either by commenting on this blog or in the Discussion section of the wiki.  The feedback about the workshop was very positive and some people said they were inspired to trial something similar within their own school which was encouraging.  It would be great to hear how they are getting on and I am happy to answer any questions or queries anyone has about the process.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dylan William - Content then Process

Very interesting talk about the pose, pause, pounce technique.  Very interesting to me as this was encouraged by my previous Principal, Grant Ramsay, at Papatoetoe Central School 8 years ago when I first started teaching.  I certainly try and use the 3 second rule to give children a chance to process and think interactve questioning encourages thinking.  I have operated a no hands up policy in my Year 0/1 classes for the last 3 years.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ideas for Starting off with a New Class/New Term

Click here for a great link on Ewan McIntosh's blog to the GETideas website which I've just joined.  Great online, open community for education leaders.  I have had a read of the full article which is very interesting and am considering joining the live chat event on Tuesday 27th July.  Could be a good way to hear and share ideas.  I can always benefit from ideas on how to use my time effectively to manage my workload!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Eastnet Cluster Expo 2010

I was fortunate to present at the Eastnet Expo last Wednesday. View the slideshow and supporting materials below. Despite some technical hiccups I thoroughly enjoyed presenting using skype and the share your screen facility. The idea behind my workshop was to share my recent journey into Action Research with other professionals.

In organising this workshop I reflected upon my experience from last year's workshop eLearning for Little People at the 2009 Eastnet Cluster Expo and tried to progress from that experience.  I took a different approach when preparing my slideshow this year where I incorporated some aspects of Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds and also video examples to share with the audience.  The workshop began smoothly with the setting the scene clip Piano Stairs from http://thefuntheory.com/ :

The idea behind this being that when learning is fun, children are engaged.  Shortly afterwards the audio started fluctating on skype which was disappointing.  Possibly it was a bit ambitious to expect to be able to share my screen and talk for 50 minutes without any problems.  So we quickly went to plan B: I rang the classroom that the workshop was being held in at Elm Park School and spoke on speakerphone.  Once we'd turned down the volume on both my laptop and Belinda's, who was helping me at the NZ end, from this end it there was a bit of an echo but not at the other end which is a relief!  Fortunately this didn't mean I ended up running over time and I was pleased I didn't get flustered, probably because I'd already thought through all the possible problems and was prepared!  There's a lot to be said for practise and preparation before presenting.

I hope the attendees at the workshop found it worthwhile.  I am excited to see if anyone adds to the Discussion section of my wiki and have created a How to sheet to support them to do this.

Monday, June 28, 2010

XMind - Mindmapping Tool

I downloaded and used the XMind tool to help me plan out how to structure my presentation for the Eastnet Cluster Expo and hopefully ULearn 2010.  I am sure other things will occur to me as I go through the process but I am happy to have a plan.