A Community Walk…Skype Me

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:17 pm

This morning I worked with Grade 5 and 6 students who all have a tablet PC.  I’ve been talking to them about building networks and wanted to demonstrate mine in meaningful, fun, engaging way.

So I decided to take them on a tour, using some interactive maps and showed them the power of networks, open API (don’t worry I didn’t actually use that term) and personalized learning.

At 9:17 local time I sent out a tweet looking for help. In 2 hours we managed to talk with 10 different people from mostly North America, save for Jeff Utecht who was in Malaysia at a conference.  We got to have a brief chat with each one, found out a little bit about them and even asked one or two intelligent questions.   Using Community Walk (as you can see my community is not walkable) we created placemarks and I added some video snapshots as well.

Here’s the map we created on the fly.

Wedding map to share with guests
CommunityWalk Map – Skype Me

Kids were amazingly focused, running around the room helping each other, teacher laptop in hand right … Read the rest

Ewan’s Mom gets it

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:05 am

Ewan’s mom is pretty cool. Not only a blogger, grandmother and former educator but one who understands connections. I remember Anne Davis blogging a while back about hooking up with Ewan’s Mom in San Francisco. I remember reading it at the time and thinking, this is pretty cool and serendipitous. Here Anne, travels to San Francisco, when Ewan, from Scotland sets up a meeting between Anne and his Mom, or is it Mum?, who, also from Scotland happens to be in S.F. Wild stuff.

Mrs. Mcintosh (don’t know her so I can’t call her Chris) blogs about how technology is enabling connections like never before.

But isn’t Skype wonderful? And aren’t computers just the bizz? So this post is for all the saddoes out there who think people don’t interact if they’re stuck in front of computers.

Fortunately, I’m feeling more and more like teachers and schools are getting this. At least the ones I work with. Today I showed a small gathering of teachers what kinds of connections are possible and why they’re important. I brought Kathy and Sophie with me to show off their good work … Read the rest

Reflections on my first online class

I’ve taken about 8 course online but had never taught one…until last night. I’m teaching an undergraduate class to about 12-15 students of which 8 showed up yesterday for our first synchronous meeting. I managed to access Elluminate from the University of Saskatchewan even though my class is taught out of the University of Regina. To be safe, I did not allow for simultaneous speaking and so conversation didn’t really flow as I would have liked. Maybe there are those who have used this feature successfully and can pass on their experience. The chat box did work fairly well at times. I may choose to use Skype for more fluid discussions in the future.

Most of the students are entering their 3rd of 4th year of education. It’s evident that most have had some exposure to using technology in their classroom and are keen to take things further. A few asked mentioned interest in finding tools that enable connectivity, questions about privacy and how to convince school boards/districts to invest and utilize technology. I laid out the big ideas of the course as follows:

  • Learning is social and connected
  • Learning is personal and self-directed
  • Learning is shared and transparent
Read the rest

Podcast 22 Conversations on Change

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:18 pm

About six weeks ago I pointed a number of key people in our division to Will Richardson’s article The New Face of Learning. It sparked some discussion and interest, and in an effort to bring forward these ideas, we invited any interested teachers to gather informally to discuss what this article might mean for schools.

So we gathered together using a hodge-podge of technology. We had 16 in Moose Jaw, 4 in Assiniboia via Polycom, 1 in Bengough via Skype and 2 in Eston via Skype as well (Kelly Christopherson and a colleague using a mic-less computer but he did participate via chat). Then Will joined us from New Jersey. Here’s a large version of the image.
What you hear is the last 20 minutes of Will’s portion and another 20 minutes of conversation that took place after he signed off. Sorry, I only remembered to start recording after 40 minutes into our talk. What impressed me was the diversity of the group both in both teaching positions (grade 1-12) and in experience using technology. Yet the common understanding seemed to be that things must … Read the rest

My personal tour of Shanghai

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:18 pm

Using Skype, I dropped a quick compliment tonight for Jeff Utecht on using his screencast for a workshop I did. What ensued was a lenghthy exchange of ideas and for me a personal tour of the city of Shanghai where Jeff resides. Using Google Earth, he and I shared a little bit about both of our worlds. Early into the tour, I happened upon one of the schools Jeff works at and then he kindly sent me a couple of .kml files to provide some context to his world. I knew nothing about Shanghai and still don’t know much but he was able to point out some key landmarks and provide a nice overview of his city. For about an hour, he willingly offered some insights into his life and city and answered all my questions.

This to me typifies why connections are so critical. Is this information available online? Mostly, but having a personal tour guide was much more relevant and engaging. The awareness I now have will no doubt lead me to more interest in his city. Was it the extreme distance between us that made … Read the rest