Here are some suggestions for your first post.
- You can find new ideas for what to blog about by reading the Daily Post.
- Add PressThis to your browser. It creates a new blog post for you about any interesting page you read on the web.
- Make some changes to this page, and then hit preview on the right. You can always preview any post or edit it before you share it to the world.
Thanks to Tom Stevens for leaving this as a comment to our original 20 Day Challenge post. I thought I would share it in case others were looking for the instructions.
Here are the updated instructions, also posted at http://www.cilc.org/c/misc/k12ivc.aspx
- To subscribe to K12IVC, please send a blank message to email@example.com with the word subscribe in the subject.
- To unsubscribe, please send a blank message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word unsubscribe in the subject.
- To post a message to the K12IVC mailing list, please address it to email@example.com . You must be a subscriber to post.
- For general list help, please contact Tom Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
A hero is someone having exceptional courage, honor, and strength.
Our teachers are our heroes. Tomorrow is the first round of Big Testing here in Texas. The atmosphere in Texas is tense. Tremendous budget cuts are looming. People who do not teach are making decisions that will impact many educators in our state and our educational system for years to come.
I believe that before anyone votes on an educational funding or accountability bill, he or she should go and help a teacher for at least a week. Not observe for an hour. Get there before the students do and leave when the teacher leaves. Go to the bathroom only when the teacher can. Scarf your lunch in 20 minutes. Walk in their shoes.
Other Duties As Assigned-1st Grade
Had a wild and wooly day today and for some reason I thought of you.
It started with picture day. The camera broke after kid #2 and the photographer was determined to fix it while using us as the test subjects. It took about 3-5 minutes per student, times a whole class. You can do the math.
When she got to kid #21, she turned green and walked over very close to me.
Being a good elementary teacher, I stepped back. (You only have to get thrown up on once to learn a lesson.)
Anyway, she wanted to know if I had noticed student #21′s head. I had not noticed. I walked up to the student, and said, “Oh, that is just a gnat or something.”
After sending the student to the nurse for a head check, the rest of my morning was interrupted every 10-15 minutes when another pair of students had to go down for their checks.
I then had to make phone calls for two of them to be picked up immediately.
That should be enough disruptions for one day, right? Not at all.
One of my sweet, moms sent two boxes of store-bought cookies for the class. A little boy passed out almost one whole box before calling me over to show me a HUGE dead cockroach in the bottom of the box.
Well, I can do snakes, I can do spiders, I can do mice; I don’t do roaches. I can hardly type or say the word. I prefer saying “the r-bug”.
We decided to throw all the cookies from that box in the trash. But first one of my students wanted to know how big and what kind of bug so she could decide if we should throw them out or not.
Just as I picked the box up to toss it in the trash, the bug jumped up and RAN AROUND THE BOX! Ahhhhhhhkkkkkk!
I was fit to be tied.
We managed to get through phonics before the room filled up with the aroma of a skunk. The school exterminator had trapped one somewhere, and obviously, he had returned to carry it off.
I finally gave up and let the students tell all of their bug, snake, broken leg, etc. stories and we called it a day.
So in case you are having warm, fuzzy memories of the classroom, think again. It’s a bug’s world out there!
Yes, teachers have days like this. They continue to work passionately to prepare our students for the future, but they need our help and our thanks. Sometime before Spring Break, write a thank you note to one of our heroes. Thank a teacher.
Do you have any other creative ways to thank the educators who make such a difference in our lives?
Last week, we hosted several guests in our Whirlidub studios who interacted with our students. Our guests are carefully selected for their content knowledge and then we thoughtfully structure the interactions to take advantage of the synchronous elements of the technology.
The reason that the design of a video conference is so important is that many people, when they are in the teaching or expert role, tend to try to spew out as much information, as quickly as they can.
When this occurs, it is the person spewing information that is doing the most work.
Their brains are busy
- constructing, and
- synthesizing their knowledge.
That is fine, well, and good for them, but does not do much to engage students or challenge them to think critically or listen attentively.
Two strategies that easily engage students are
- opening focusing question
- think-pair-share before response time.
These two strategies help you to evaluate where you learners are and then to activate all brains before selecting the two or three responses to be shared whole group.
Video conferencing can be an effective technology, but you do need to be thoughtful in your delivery and design.
What are some ways that you have found to engage students or participants through distance?
Creativity has become a buzzword in education.
The first time I became aware that lack of creativity could be an issue for education was watching Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk. He made the talk in 2006 and I watched it a couple of years ago.
I was drawn to the talk because I am one of those “creative types”. I am not a messy creative. I am quite organized and love to doodle. I am a graphic note-taker. That is what I call myself now; I used to just be a doodler who was bored in class. I don’t sing or dance or play an instrument. I can’t make cute titles for lesson units or conference presentations, but I can see systems as a whole and can determine inefficiencies and apply new solutions to improve them. I am creative.
A great article to spark your thinking about what creativity is was in Newsweek last July. It is by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman and helps us understand that creativity is not just in the fine arts, but it is the alternating between divergent and convergent thinking. They discuss testing for creativity (more reliable than IQ tests), environments conducive to developing creativity (freedom + rules), and creativity in schools (how they kill it).We have a crisis in creativity is their claim. I claim that we have a crisis in understanding and defining it.
Creativity is not
- coloring inside the lines
- right brained
- developed by passive activities
- finding the one right answer
- cutting on the line
- isolated skills
- the production of something useful and original
- divergent thinking (idea generation)
- convergent thinking (combing all ideas into the best solution)
- researching and evaluating
More Readings on Creativity
- Newsweek Article, Creativity Crisis July 2010
- Fostering Creativity in Education
- Twenty-four Tips for Developing Creativity
Are you a creative type? What do you think of when you hear the word creativity? How can we teach creativity to our students?
This post continues our 20 Day Challenge to understand the technical aspects of videoconferencing.
Each January, we write these 20 Day Video Conference Challenges to share our experiences with others. In the early days of video conferencing, it was cumbersome and expensive. Today, we can have excellent H.323 quality connecting a variety of endpoints to different MCUs and other endpoints to create a smaller world for our students.
We have seen the power of effective curriculum video conferencing can have on student motivation and success. If the technology is not properly set up or does not work properly, that creates a barrier to implementation and educators who already have so many things that they are responsible for are going to be less likely to attempt to reach outside their classrooms.
Using advanced video conferencing technologies, we can create exceptional learning opportunities for students in rural schools, suburban schools and inner city schools. Each has a unique need that can be bridged with a quality curriculum video conferencing solution.
Here are links to assist you in continuing to Talk Like a Techie. It has been a learning experience for us as we researched and wrote this challenge and we hope that it has helped you in learning more about video conferencing.
Firewall Traversal Units
Day 7: Working With Your Firewall Traversal Unit
We also encourage you to review the past 20 Day Challenges:
If you have ideas or suggestions for future 20 Day Challenges, please comment! Or if you think we missed something from this technical challenge, we’d love to hear from you as well!
Team-written by Janine Lim, Shane Howard, and Roxanne Glaser. The opinions expressed in these posts are based on our collective video conference experience connecting classes across multiple networks to connect them to zoos, museums, experts and other classes during the past 10 years. This series of posts reflects our usage and understanding, not that of any vendor or manufacturer. No one is paying us to write these. We are just sharing what we have learned.