Web Two Telegraph – A Collaborative Web 2.0 Environment

My flat classroom

Posted by murcha on February 12, 2008

Today the students were going to have a guest teacher, Mr Jeff Whipple, outlining the nature of a wiki and explaining the nature of the 1001 flat tales global project.  Grades 4 and 5 will work on the elementary wiki with China, Thailand, US, Canada etc whilst grade 6 will be involved in the middle school one. Jeff would use his laptop to demonstrate the wiki.

Using our atlas ascertaining where Jeff is from
However this was no ordinary classroom as Jeff lives in Canada (read his version of our experiences on his blog ). He is the technology educational specialist for his school and is setting up the wiki for the project. With the help of our library  interactive white board, 50 odd students and half a dozen interested teachers watched with amazement, Jeff talk to us from his home, show us his pet cat, outline the project and then with the help of the SMART Technologies Bridgit on the IWB allowed us to view his laptop screen and walk through the wiki. His time was 10pm, ours was 12:00 midday. The weather was sunny and 25 deg C where we live, with students about to go to the pool for swimming classes. 15cm snow and -16deg C was the weather pattern where Jeff lives. Students are now fully motivated to start the project. Atlases came out and we found the city where Jeff lives. A great deal of geography was learned in 30 mins.!! Jeff was kind enough to come back to us 40 mins later to do a photo shoot for our local newspaper “The Warrnambool Standard”. The photographer and reporter had to make a 30 minute drive to our school.
How, did we get to know Jeff, you may well ask? Well, I was trying to sort out our “From Me to You” envelopes in the computer pod last week. My year 11 students were quietly and diligently completing accounting exs when I noticed my laptop flashing. Having forgotten that I was still logged into skype, I found someone was chatting to me.  My curiousity got the better of me.  It was Jeff, introducing himself as he was setting up the wiki for the project. As we chatted, he offered to demo the wiki via skype to our classes. We took him up on that offer. My twitter network through Kim Cofino, from Bangkok, had alerted me to the existence of the project.Skyping with Jeff
The second interesting event of the day, occurred prior to our skype session. I had spent several hours the night before working out a cyber safety lesson. Again, my twitter network came to the rescue with lots of interesting links, url’s, wikis and online videos. I had my year9/10s for a double class first thing this morning, but to my utter dismay, found the internet was down and all my lesson plans with it. Students started writing a post for their blogs whilst the principal and I tried to sort out the internet. Some time later, it was back on. Students quickly checked out their blogs and found they had comments on them, some from our staff, students but others from Holland and the US. Well………..that was it!!! My lesson plans never went into action. Instead, the students initiated their own learning. They wanted to email back the people who commented, some of whom were similar age students in the US. Then, they checked out those student blogs. Students who are often reluctant readers and writers were fully engaged reading the various posts. The boys even found a post on cricket by one of the US students. That encouraged them to wrote a post about the local cricket team they play for.
Next, they wanted to add a clustrmap to their blogs etc. The double was finished all too quickly. An authentic audience makes such powerful learning!!!

dsc00703.jpg….and to top our day,our first two cards from the US schools in the “From me to you” project arrived. Excited students will open them tomorrow morning.


9 Responses to “My flat classroom”

  1. lorigloyd said

    This is so exciting. I can feel the kids’ enthusiasm. 🙂

  2. imogen88 said

    I agree with Lori, each word had me intrigued. It’s so obvious the students are the same. This is a great mode of learning, fully interactive.

  3. imogen88 said

    Jeff’s account was wonderful too. Amazing stuff!

  4. I just never stop being excited by this sort of thing Anne. The work you are doing with these children is just stunning. I just know many others will follow your lead.

  5. woodnymph said

    This is wonderful experience for the kids. I wish there had been such programs available when I was a student.

  6. jodhiay said

    It’s great when kids get so caught up in things they forget they’re even learning… 🙂

    It’s also nice to see an example of how Twitter can be so useful.

  7. murcha said

    I love jodhiay’s comment about students being so excited and working on what they feel is important, that they forget that they are even learning. But it works the other way too, I forget that I am actually teaching!!!! Thank you Jodhiay

  8. Traveller said

    It’s amazing what chance encounters one can have over the internet – that’s how I first “met” Heather. Teaching sensible use of the internet in the class-room is also an excellent way of teaching respect and responsibility in a fun environment. I envy today’s schoolkids for being able to experiment like this. It would never have happened in my day in my girls-only school.
    PS what is a wiki?

  9. lois daley said

    I also ask the above Question Anne what is a WIKI
    What strikes me is that in our news and on our T.V’s etc we only hear of the downsides to computers..re the content of explicit emails and sites and children accessing unsuitable material others being pestered by people others not wanting to have all that is being sent to them…..
    I see another side of computers and always have ..
    The role they play in the learning of not only our children
    but those of us of mature years who find it so wonderful and challenging
    I am forever amazed at how the world of Soul Food changes and moves foward (Without me mostly) but I still love to read and marvel at the expertise of those on the site….
    As Traveller put it so wisely ” Heather teaches an excellent and sensible way of using the internet” and she respects our not so good efforts never critical of our work…that’s what we need as it did not happen in my days of school…….
    My day is never complete unless I access the wonderful writing and friendships that have evolved in the sharing ways of Soul Food Cafe”…
    Anne your day must be full as you interact and share your knowledge with your students…( and Tireing) …..

    Lois ( Muse of the Sea) 18.2.08

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