Kids Teaching Kids- Virtually

People have been asking me how I am enjoying being back in the classroom after a year out and about seeing the world and working with teachers instead of eight and nine year olds. Generally I am enjoying being back in the classroom but had forgotten the hours that classroom teaching needs to keep all the balls juggling in the air.

I do miss the adult conversations and the variety of being in a different place and working with different people each day but learning opportunities that we have been having lately at school keep me connected with people and places outside the walls of my classroom.

We are enjoying the conversations through Sylvia Tolisano’s Around the World with 80 Schools Project and enjoyed talking to children in Chrissy Hellyer’s class at ISB, Bangkok.

We also worked collaboratively with Myles Webb’s class at Melville Intermediate in the Waikato. A couple of keen students at Appleby had taught themselves how to use Pivot to make simple animations. I follow Myles through Twitter and his kids were keen to learn how to do it as well. We set up a session using Skype for audio and Adobe Connect Pro‘s screen sharing capabilities. Because Pivot is a Windows app and we are an Apple School I used my personal MacBook Pro laptop with Parallels (thanks Ben) to screen share. Children were able to see what George was doing with Pivot at our end through sharing our desktop while he was explaining what he was doing using Skype.


The session went exceedingly well and both groups enjoyed the challenge of the exercise.
Picture 5
It is very powerful for young children take control of their learning and make meaningful connections to ‘expert voices’ of a similar age to learn from one another.

Learning is Indeed Messy

Over the last few weeks we have been having fun in class exploring the world through the eyes of children in Kathy Rice’s class in British Columbia, Canada and today, Brian Crosby’s class in Spark, Nevada, USA. These learning experiences have come to us through Sylvia Tolisano‘s Around the World with 80 Schools Project. The idea is that participants enter their class details on a wiki and then link up whenever they want via Skype. The calls are only supposed to be five to ten minutes long but we tend to go longer as we share our music, clothing, weather, pets, population, sports. Learning is messy and things never go quite to plan.

So far we have visited 4% of the globe with our class blog comments and Skype calls. I wonder what percentage we will have by the end of the school year.

Here is where Sylvia’s students have been so far!

Before the event we have a bit of a look around on Google Earth to fly between New Zealand and the place we are going to connect with.

Then we brainstorm anything we know about the country that we are going to connect with. Before our Skype call- not a lot!

We then designed fairly open ended questions and allot people to ask the questions.

I used the Time Scroller widget to get our timing right and after a bit of negotiation as to a time the works we are underway.

I have Call Recorder set up auto record the call which I have edited in iMovie to highlight the interesting bits.

As a great extra to our call to Kathy Price’s class in British Columbia we were able to contribute to a Voicethread they had made to show us exactly how cold it was! Have a look- it’s quite incredible.

Thanks Sylvia. We’re going to have fun with this- Argentina here we come!

We now know what a toque is and know a lot more about being a Canadian!

Meme: Passion Quilt

Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!
Chrissy Hellyer tagged me for this Passion Quilt Meme through Miguel Guhlin- the idea is that you post a photo of something that you feel passionate about children’s learning. For me this is developing connections between children globally and sharing our learning with our global community.

This photo is a mash-up of our collaboration between Paul Harrington‘s class in Wales and my own Moturoa class at Appleby. Over the year we had been building links between our classes- so much so that  children felt a personal connection with Paul and his class. The children were familiar with each other via our blog posts, podcasts and Skype conversations. The connection became face to face when Dino and his  family spent time in Paul’s class while on a family holiday in the UK. We came in to school late at night so we could talk to Dino and his  Welsh buddies directly via Skype video. The virtual friendships become real.

The photo credit from the Welsh end of the conversation goes to the Times Educational Supplement that did an article on how classrooms use Skype to link up globally.

3 Simple Meme Rules:

  • Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.
  • Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt” and link back to this blog entry.
  • Include links to 5 folks in your professional learning network or whom you follow on Twitter.

So here is my challenge to you to do the same…

Sarne’s View- @sarnee

Widgets and Wikis- @Keamac

Thinking Past the Square- @heymilly