Monthly Archives: June 2012

Skype Has Endless Possibilities

 Skype is just amazing! Now for those of you who have travelled extensively or lived abroad, Skype might be nothing new. I am, however referring to it in an educational context. It is truly amazing. If you are keen on flattening your classroom walls and making your students true global citizens, then Skype is for you. Let me elaborate…

Today one of our Grade 6 classes had a Skype session with a Grade 6 class from Vonsild Skole in Kolding, Denmark. As an extension of their Grade 3 Stories project, they got to read their stories aloud to their Danish peers who listened attentively and applauded each story after it was read. Albeit that we had poor video quality, the sound was good enough to get the message across and the whole experience was great fun. There was a short question/answer session at the end and this is where the learning happened, where the interest became apparent and where the realisation that they were talking to children elsewhere on the globe sank in. This is really powerful and can lead to great collaboration across the miles. We look forward to meeting up with this class again later in the year, after their long summer holiday, when they have promised to share a project with us.

Read the Vonsild Skole blog post here: http://vonsildskole.blogspot.com/2012/06/6b-listening-to-elkanah-stories.html

In  the past two weeks I have also spoken via Skype to a dear Twitter friend Vijay Krishnan aka @bucharesttutor, all the way in Romania, (In fact, my own children got to “meet” him too), as well as a surprise Skype call from contact from the Global Classroom project, Govinda Prasad Panthy who is in Nepal of all places!  This man has a story to tell – he started a school in his village and his only form of internet contact is via his mobile SIM card, and he says that bandwidth is extremely expensive in Nepal. I have much respect for him as he dreams of starting an IT Centre in his village.  Powerful stuff.

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My Very Own Global Project

After trying to encourage (without much luck) our teachers to join one of the #globalclassroom projects in The Global Classroom Project 2012, I decided to grab the bull by the horns and create my very own project that linked in with an area of our curriculum. This is what I came up with (the post from The Global Classroom Project blog):

“Karen Stadler from Cape Town, South Africa is keen to get her Grade 4s connected with the global community.  Each year the Grade 4s at her school do a Crazy Crazes project where they look at the current crazes in their school, and amongst their peers in South Africa. They also interview their parents and grandparents to find out what was fashionable and the craze of the day when they were children. This project only happens later in their school year (September), but they would like to open it up to the world right now!

They’d like to invite children from classes (Grades 4 – 7; ages 9 – 12) around the world to give them an idea of what is popular and fashionable in their part of the world. They are asking the following questions:

  • What games are you playing with your friends at school/home?
  • Are you collecting cards/stickers/toys?
  • Is there a particular pastime that is popular at the moment?
  • What about favourite TV programmes or characters?
  • Are there any popular books that you are reading?
  • Is there any particular style of clothing or brand that is very popular?
  • Any other exciting crazes where you are?

They would love you to share your experiences with them!

Although the American and European schools are coming to the end of their school year, the project will run until June 2013, so there will be time for them to take part in the new school year.

In the meantime, if there are any Southern Hemisphere schools (Australia, New Zealand, South America etc.) out there who would like to participate, feel free to join in!

Please email Mrs Stadler or tweet her @ICT_Integrator if you might be interested in participating in this global learning project, or if you have anything you’d like to share. Alternatively, go to the Global Classroom Wiki for more details about the project.”

So far six schools have signed up and I am hoping for more, especially from South America, Australia and New Zealand. Here’s hoping for a successful project with many global connections!

My Poor Neglected Blog…

I really have been scarce around here of late, especially if I look at my first post of the year in which I vowed to blog more often! BUT – that does not mean that I have not been blogging! In fact, I have been quite the busy bee over at Just iPadding Along, because our iPad project has kept me quite busy this year and much of my focus has been there. That said, there have been other things on the boil too and so I have had my work cut our for me.

In keeping with my aim to update and reinvigorate the happenings in our IT Centre, I have been exposing the teachers and children to new and exciting lessons and tools. We have used Google Earth quite extensively (there is still so much to learn), we have shown the children how to create Word Clouds (Wordle, Tagxedo), the students have created videos with PhotoStory and MovieMake, the Grade 4s created posters online using a nifty website called postermywall.com and the Grade 5s and 6s are learning how to use Prezi. I will also shortly be teaching the teachers and students how to blog (finally – I have been trying to get this off the ground for a while now).

Add into the mix my ongoing quest to make more global connections through Twitter (what an enjoyable journey this is), my weekly involvement in a new Twitter chat initiative called #edchatsa, launched by our principal (@artpreston) and launch of a #globalclassroom project (see my next post), you will understand that i have been “as busy as a bee”!