Friday, May 25, 2007

The Winnipeg Georgia Connection

I thought you might be interested in this follow up to our gizmo conversation with Mrs. Davis' grade 5 class in Gerogia. I've mirrored the post in it's entirety from her blog. Listen to the various mini-podcasts at the end:

Canada/Georgia Connection on Gizmo
May 22nd, 2007 9:02 am

The blogicians and the students in Darren Kuropatwa’s Pre-Cal 40S class participated in a Gizmo call last week. The blogicians had prepared some questions that they wished to ask the high school students. Gizmo has a neat feature that lets you record the conversation as you are talking. It did pretty well but does have an echo effect from time to time. As I listened to these podcasts I really marvel at the learning that occurs. I kept thinking how much was going on and how much can be fostered with these types of connections. I think you have to have a plan of action as if you just connect and talk you may lose some focus. It was a thirty minute call that was filled with some many unexpected turns that were so worthwhile.

What a good space to give kids practice with public speaking. Both ages were nervous but the experiences they got speaking will serve them so well. I think both sides learned so much from each other. The older students were unaware of some of the constraints involved while teaching elementary students (listen to the chat box podcast), the ability to look for dramatic and outstanding pictures for presentations (listen to the Flickr podcast).

On a scribe post after the Gizmo talk, Grey-M one of the high school students said the following:

I must say that trying to answer something on the spot is brutally hard (These weren’t easy questions either) so people, including me, were a little hesitant at times to respond. So that was a fun deviation from our usual routine.

The younger students are in awe of the older students but in these kind of connections they learn to step back and decide if they agree or not. They learn that that is OK.

Johnny from the blogicians posted the following after the talk:

We just did a gizmo chat and it was quite delightful with a pre call math class and it was nicely spoken by me and my classmates. Mr. K was the teacher of the class I asked about chat box and how they use it and Danny replied “We use it to learn all over the web and it sort of saves time instead of commenting”. I sort of agree with him what do you thing do you agree or do you disagree? If you don’t know what it is try looking it up and using it.

You get to discuss so much and the best part is you are having authentic conversations with the students and encourgaging their honest input. It builds great learning communities. This can only make things better in our classrooms. This is great practice for them and us. The teachers get to do a lot of learning too. We’re learning how to best orchestrate these experiences. We’re learning how to help these kids on their path to becoming global citizens. The more experience we can give the kids with this type of learning the more they will be able to help us shape its’ most effective use. These are the types of literacies we need to be developing in all our schools.
I’m still thinking about all this….. the possibilities, how to involve others, and on and on….

It was a day to remember - a day of connections and learning between some very inspiring students in Canada and Georgia.

Links to podcasts:

Podcast 1: Introduction and special bond

Podcast 2: Eddie Chris Online Safety

Podcast 3: Eddie Vincent Being responsible while blogging

Podcast 4: Emmy Danny Flickr

Podcast 5: MV Chris Craig B.O.B (Blogging on blogging) and convincing middle school teachers to let students blog

Podcast 6: Tina Vincent Grey-M The best and the worst of blogging

Podcast 7: Johnny Richard Danny Chat Boxes

Podcast 8: Eddie Aichelle How does blogging advance your learning as a fifth grade student?

So, when you were writing your scribes and BOBs on Circular Functions did you ever imagine a grade 5 student from Georgia would drop by, read what you wrote, be interested in it? That he would blog about it which would lead to all these ripples in the blogosphere? That all this would eventually connect you all, on a very personal level, with a class of grade 5 students half a continent away?

When you publish your learning online, even if it's tough stuff like math, you have an audience that spans the globe, grades and geography.

Did you ever imagine something like this would happen? ;-)

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