I have always believed things happen for a reason, and the events that have led to me writing about what has been going on in my ICT classes since the beginning of the year.
It was a Sunday evening and like most, I was on Twitter. In my stream I saw a call out to Australian Teachers looking for someone to connect with a school in the USA. I was immediately interested as I had begun teaching ICT this year and am very keen to have the students use the internet to become true Global learners.
I responded to this tweet and from here things “snowballed”. As the conversations continued and the ideas flowed, a teacher in Charlotte, NC (Jill Muller) and I began the intricate details of how and when we could collaborate to develop the learning of our students. We discussed using Skype, but due to the desire to record the session to share with the remaining students we decided to use a Google+ Hangout. The day prior the teachers’ from Jill’s school and I did a test run of the technology and our connection. Everything was so exciting and it was during this conversation when we first met face-to-face, that I realised that the teachers on the other end of the line had never done and international conference before, (nor had I) but I had used video calls to connect with educators and family. The excitement was obvious. And the trial was a success. The technology worked and the connection was imminent.
Early the following morning (7:30am) I had a group of very excited students from my year 3-5 classes gather in our resource centre; and in Charlotte there was a group of equally excited students staying late after school, both to combine and have a conversation about their world’s similarities and differences. Although the questions and answers were pre-prepared the interview developed into a free conversation where the students and teachers all relaxed and began impromptu discussions. This learning was wonderful and helped everyone realise the value of what we had achieved.
We decided then and there that we would all be keen to do it again, so we made another attempt to connect again to allow more students to participate and enjoy this experience. For the first interview, we gained permission to allow student collaboration and in school private sharing but not public sharing of the session. For the second session, with experience behind us, we gained the appropriate permissions for this collaboration to be shared publicly and incorporate it into this post.
Unfortunately, Neither Jill or I bothered to check the time charts…we did it at these times only a month ago so the times worked for everyone, or so we thought. What we didn’t consider was the timeshift when moving in and out of Daylight savings! A lesson learnt. Unfortunately, due to this, the second hangout did not eventuate. We arrived an hour late; and they were wondering where we were an hour earlier. But all those who were in attendance at Ocean Voew College B-12 are all very keen to maintain the connections, even if it doesn’t mean face-to-face yet. We have already pencilled in the earliest viable date & time in early November.
The learning behind this experience is beyond anything any of these students has ever had before and the significance is something that these students will reflect upon and draw upon for the remainder of their lives. To encourage this we are providing the opportunities in class for these students to collaborate and connect through asynchronous means including letters at the moment and in the future we will share audio and video presentations.
We have a shared Google Doc folder where we can upload items for the other school to retrieve and engage with.
This experience has enabled all participants to develop their sense of being a true global learner. And because of this experience we have all learnt so much both explicitly and incidentally.
Thank you to Jill Thompson @Edu_Thompson for the initial connection and then to Jill Muller and your team (Ms Huntly, Ms Parks, Ms Graham and Ms Williams) and all of the students at Highland Renaissance Academy for your support and participation. Also, I would like to thank the staff and students at Ocean View College B-12 for your enthusiasm and excitement.
Unfortunately I don’t have a clip to add for you to watch but I will attempt to gather some images and add them to the post soon.
Have you have any amazing Global learning experiences?
What were the “take away’s ” from your experiences?