Web Two Telegraph – A Collaborative Web 2.0 Environment

Posts Tagged ‘socialnetworking’

Why I love skype!

Posted by murcha on March 26, 2008

When I suggested my top ten web2.0 sites for 2007, skype was one of them. I had experienced using this software with my two sons who live in London and have since used it at school for videoconferencing purposes with NZ Chrissy and Gail Casey when she was teaching ESL in Korea. Whilst it was snowing in Korea, we had some sound difficulties but skype are working on improving sound quality all the time.

Since then I have used it for

  • discussion purposes with teachers on collaborative global projects
  • professional development (Quest Atlantis uses this)
  • interviews and surveys – both staff and students
  • involving teachers from other countries teaching my classes etc.
  • sharing advice, clarifying issues etc
  • guest speakers for night classes
  • live demonstrations for parent information sessions
  • conference calls

 Here are 10 facts you may need to know:-

  1. Skype is VOIP (voice over internet protocol) and its use is free if it is calls are made computer to computer.
  2. Equipment: skype  software (download from www.skype.com) , headset with microphone, or desktop mic, a webcamera (for videoconferencing), IWB or datashow for projecting the video (if for classroom use), user names (equivalent of phone numbers) of contact people
  3. User friendly, quick loading (sometimes falls over but getting more reliable all the time)
  4. Neat search facility to add other users to contact list
  5. Chat or audio can take place. It is polite to send a request message via chat first, to ensure that person you are contacting is not in class or otherwise engaged. (My laptop has embarrassed me on several occasions by ringing, in class)
  6. Conference calls: both audio and chat. Currently, videoconferencing can only be used between two users. The video aspect cuts out after a third person enters the conversation.
  7. Chats can be saved with appropriate title, by bookmarking. Goto chats>bookmarked chats and enter a title whilst in skype conversation) or goto recent chats and it tends to save automatically, but with a non categorised title.
  8. Can buy credit to ring landlines locally, domestically, overseas (extremely cheap overseas calls)
  9. Constantly requesting feedback as to quality of calls, and working on improving the service. (Sometimes line quality is not high, delays but these are getting less over time.)
  10. Number of users is restricted to, I think, 10 and then a bridge phone number must be given.

skype

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Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Social networking | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

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.

Posted in Anne Mirtschin, Social networking, Web 2.0 Classrooms | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »