Several months ago, I got in touch with Tom Barrett after we had both started blogging about Google Earth in the classroom. Tom is a Primary teacher in Grade 6 and he has a fantastic blog and his classes are using blogs as well.
I liked what Tom was doing in the classroom and I used his work in my presentation to the k12online conference last year. Then I asked Tom to do a presentation for our Primary teachers as part of the Australian Government Quality Teachers Program. It was 10 months in the making as we couldn’t find a date that we could get all our Primary teachers together. In the end, we thought we’d do one campus at a time.
Tom presented from London last week to semi-rural Melbourne. It was 7:30 am here and 10:30 pm there. Many thanks must go to our Primary staff for actually turning up (in their dressing gowns), but more importantly, Karen Griffiths who supported me throughout this activity.
Most importantly, Tom talked about how he uses Google Earth, blogs, wikis, PhotoStory and Turning Point in his class. It was enthralling to watch and listen to him as well as his captivated audience. I’ve had several comments from our staff, who were quite impressed with his presentation and several have already asked about how they can do some of the same things.
Jules Verne wrote the book “Around the World in 80 Days” around 1872. Just a few years earlier, he and many others of his time were captivated by technological breakthroughs. These breakthroughs were related to transportation – the Suez Canal opening and the linking of train lines across the US and also in the sub-continent. And what did this technology breakthrough lead to? The rapid circumnavigation of the globe, hence his book.
So, what does this have to do with my blog I hear you ask. Well, in recent times, we too have had various technological breakthroughs that have led to people like me being captivated by the potential in our classrooms. What are these breakthroughs? The advancement of ISDN and now Broadband, the compression of audio and video files are just some. Coupled together, they allow us educators to take our class anywhere we like. I have written before about the possibility of Videoconferencing. And in the last few weeks, I have put together a presenation for the k12onlineconference and it is all about the uses of videoconferencing in the classroom. So, sometime today, my presentation “Around the World in 80 Minutes” will go live at the conference site with tips and where to find resources and the possibilites of videoconferencing, as well as tips on Google Earth. I must also note that I have referenced the work of: Tom Barrett; Janine Lim; ReefEd and National Space Center, UK
Thank you to these people for their blogs which I have been reading with interest for some time or for the services they have provided to me.
I just participated in an international conversation with about 30 – 40 people using Elluminate. Messages were passed by voice, text, whiteboard and even video. I actually “met” some people who I had heard about or read their blog. Catching up with other people I haven’t corresponded with for some time as well. It started at 1:00am local time and finished a little over an hour later at 3:20am (Daylight saving kicked in).
An interesting conversation was held about many topics and it was great to see that the apathy I experience here in Melbourne about Web2.0 technology seems to be the same all over the world. There seem to be just a few interested teachers and we need to bring many others along for the journey. Much like Jules Verne in Paris in 1870.
More about that in my next blog entry …
Off to bed right now. Good night.
A very short note to say I’m still here reading others thoughts. I’ve created my first screencast and tried to put it up on my podomatic site, but after many tries, it doesn’t want to work. I’ll keep at it. I gave it to my students via our server and they just laughed at me!!
I’m also preparing for a presenation at work and for the k-12 Online Conference on Video Conferencing. So I’m very busy, developing ideas and I’ll be posting entries more frequently soon (oh, did I mention one of my children had her face whacked by a swing, requiring facial surgery and now my two eldest have contracted chicken pox?) Gee life can get hectic.