Monthly Archives: March 2011
The March Issue of THE Journal caught my eye with “Return to Sender” by Dan Gordon.
The article was once again making the case for reinventing our schools and moving from the 3 Rs (readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic) to the 4 Cs of critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration.
I have been working on polishing the materials for our ReThink Trash Project (funded in part by HOTCOG and created in partnership with Kigluait Educational Adventures). The project fits perfectly into how to design effective learning in our schools.
The 4 Cs Students Need
Critical thinking, creativity, and communication are not always going to be linear processes, but this matches with our ReThink Trash project. I think all of those are dependent on collaboration skills.
How ReThink Trash fits this model of thinking.
- Classes meet via video conference to learn about trash and the impact on our environment.
- Each class researches and learns about trash in their school or community. They will define the problem that they would like to work on.
- Each class will implement an actionable service learning project, including a data collection plan to determine their plans effectiveness.
- Each class will create a digital story to tell about how they defined the problem and what they did about it.
- Classes will meet again with other classes via video conference to share what they have learned and plan continued action.
- “Return to Sender” article in THE Journal (free registration required)
- ReThink Trash Project
- Whirlidurb Video Conferencing
- Kigluait Educational Adventures
- Heart of Texas Council of Governments
What is a project or program that you have participated in that fits this type of learning and skill set that our students will need to use when they are members of the work force?
Monster Mayhem and More Video Conference Collaborations
- Thursday, March 17, 2011
- Time: 3:00-4:00 PM
Learn about a unique collaborative videoconference project. Two classrooms pair up and create a monster. Each class writes a description of their monster. Each class recreates the other class’ monster and then via video conference they compare the monsters. Other examples of engaging collaborations will also be shared.
Connect with us:
This week I have been thinking about all of the ways that we connect with our members (video conference coordinators and teachers).
In The Beginning
When I began as a coordinator 6 years ago, I used email from my laptop computer when it was docked at my desk and the phone that was also at my desk. I was busy from 8:00-4:30-ish everyday and then I went home.
Sometimes, it would take several days of missed phone calls and the lag time between emails to resolve a date/time conflict.
And Then There Came Mobile
When we went mobile, I got a Blackberry with that full QWERTY keyboard and zoom zoom…I was on all the time.
Teachers would email me questions in the evening and I would instantly respond. Teachers would begin emailing me in the morning and I would instantly respond. I was trained by that little red blinking light and the buzz. Eventually, I developed the “phantom Blackberry buzz”. Time began to speed up.
Now at Warp Speed
Now, it is the iPhone, complete with unlimited texting, and it has completely transformed how we connect with our teachers and coordinators. We know that there are so many different communication formats, that we need to use them all to meet each person in their comfort zone. Time sped up exponentially.
We share our programs through many communication channels. Here is the cheat sheet to where you will find us.
- Main website http://www.whirlidurb.com/ with login area for coordinators to access information that only they need.
- Twitter: @whirlidurb (This account is me and configured to selective post to our Facebook fanpage.)
- Facebook: Whirlidurb Fanpage (Shows auto-posts from VC Rox blog, mailing list, and selective tweets.) Teachers are becoming fans, liking and commenting on programs.
- Mailing list: Is completely customizable for teachers and coordinators to select only the information they they wish. It is also double-opt in, so we are not spammers. View archives now. (Configured to push button publish to either FB or Twitter.
- Text message: I never thought I would say this. It is probably the easiest way to contact someone when you need them right then.
- Email: I use this when we need an archive of planning or conversation.
- Wiki: Used when it takes more than 3 emails to figure something out.
- Phone: Communication of last resort. It just takes too long to navigate menus or to get a message to someone.
In the span of almost 7 years, how we connect and communicate with teachers and coordinators has changed dramatically. Today, time is exponentially faster and it seems everyone has shifted into Crazy Busy.
You have to meet people where they are. Facebook. Twitter. Text. Skype.
The way to promote your video conference program is to connect with others and be helpful. Share what you do. Network and help others.
How do you communicate with your coordinators and teachers?
Work has begun on the Video Conference Playground at ISTE 2011. Last year, I led a band of pirates as we shared our passion for video conferencing with others in Denver. Here are some of the pictures from last summer.
This year, in Philly, the playground will be even bigger with more connections and equipment for you to learn about in a fun, hands-on environment.
We are looking for more people to help us create an exceptional learning experience for attendees who want to learn more about the power of video conferencing in the curriculum.
Want to Be a Pirate?
- Be a remote site. We will need people to video conference with on Wednesday, June 29 from 9:00-1:00 PM EASTERN time. We are looking for content providers and educators who are doing classroom-to-classroom collaborations. Submit your information here. We will fit in as many different providers and collaborations as we can!
- Help us onsite in Philadelphia. We need pirate guides at the playground and help with the IVC Showcases. Submit your contact information here.
Want to Learn About Video Conferencing
- Support Video Conferencing at ISTE by attending these sessions if you are onsite in Philadelphia. Janine made a great list of all of them on her blog.
- If you are interested in in depth learning, join Janine or me in our workshops on Sunday. These are both full day sessions to give adequate time for hands-on and questions.
- Workshop: 8:30-3:30 Creating Environmental Literacy with Technology and Learning Communities by Roxanne Glaser of Whirlidurb and Christina and Rich Hum from Kigluait. This workshop focuses on how to use the technology in a meaningful way with project-based learning.
- Workshop: 8:30-3:30 Building Digital Age Communication and Collaboration Skills with Videoconferencing by Janine Lim.
The playground is sponsored by the SIGIVC group. IVC stands for interactive video conferencing.