Tech Talk Tuesday – Exploring the Virtual Classroom

eT@lking – a pic that says where are

When: Tuesday November 20th at 4pm (Melbourne, gmt+11)

About this session: This session will explore the nature, purpose and potential of a virtual classroom. As more and more online Professional Development activities occur and after the great success of the recent Global Education Conference, it is important that people feel comfortable with an online webinar environment and discover the potential application for the classroom.

The features of Blackboard Collaborate will be demonstrated with interactive, ‘hands on’ activities given for participants. It is hoped that a group of 20 Singapore teachers who are in a workshop with @shamblesguru (alias Chris Smith ) will also join us.

Please come along and explore the exciting power, have fun and realise the potential that the online classroom can provide at a local, national and global level. Here is the link to the recording of this session.

Students from USA & Australia draw on whiteboard

Videoconferencing to connect beyond classroom walls!

When: Tuesday April 17th, Melbourne, Australia (gmt+10 hours) (Please note that we have finished daylight saving time and are now gmt+11)

This session will look at the use of videoconferencing, mainly with skype, to connect students beyond their existing classroom.

For five years, skype has been a favourite tool of Anne Mirtschin’s for both personal and educational purposes. Having been awarded the title of Innovator of the Month, this webinar will share one of the tools that is a firm favourite of hers. This session will be tailored to meet the needs of participants, but it can include the following:-

  1. How to get started and use basic features of skype
  2. Hardware required
  3. The advanced features of skype:- sending files, creating groups, using groups for powerful connections and collaboration
  4. How to find projects and people on skype
  5. How to get the best value out of skype for your classroom and students.

Come along with your experiences and your questions. If time permits we will look at alternatives to skype for videoconferencing. Please join us and share in the conversations.

Here is the link to the recording

What is needed to bring eLearning to the next level? – an overview

An interesting discussion took place this afternoon re “What is needed to bring eLearning to the next level?” Our participants were global – Kenya, USA, Malaysia and Australia. They came from many avenues of education.
Here is what it looked like:-

  1. Participants shared what they had been up to this week
  2. Wrote  the topics that should be further discussed on the whiteboard
  3. Discussion then took place using microphone, whiteboard and chat

Following are the discussion topics:-

  1. What are the barriers to eLearning?
  2. Mentoring – two way mentoring
  3. Mainstream education, different learning styles  and environment
  4. What are the foundation skills needed for any eLearning?
  5. Outline the stages for e-skills, e-learning
  6. Andrew Douch’s comment needs to be added in

You can listen to the recording to catch all the conversations.

Ping – an online music program


ping screenshotAjax McKerral shared his fabulous use of online learning tools to bring to students a music program that provides social networking at its best. He used application sharing to walk us through the 

Here is the link to the recording

Sites shared

Ping site and shared some of his favourite sites. Ping is looking for schools to work with next year, when drumming and guitar lessons etc will be provided online.

Teaching and Learning without a Classroom

This was the topic for Tech Talk Tuesday with Andrew Douch as our presnter.  Andrew is an innovative and multi award winning teacher. His awards include Microsoft Innovative Teacher of the World 2009 and he is the creator of the popular Douchy’s Biology podcasts on iTunes.  To the delight of the participants and the adding a rich element to the chat and presentation, two of his virtual students also participated in this session.
The chat was even busier than usual. Here is the link to the recording.

Andrew teased us with thought provoking questions such as:-

  1. There is so much online material that students can use, how do they know that it is valid?  Isn’t it better that it is teacher produced and directed?
  2. What do schools do best compared with the online environment?
    Students can opt to learn when they like, where they feel comfortable – not necessarily at linear desks and often on uncomfortable seats! and how they like to learn – with technology.

From the chat:-

From Douchy (samples of his work)


From the students

  • I listen to the podcasts when I’m walking, in my private sessions at school and when i’m laying in bed before going to sleep mostly.
  • They are brilliant when revising for an exam!
  • That is the most beneficial thing about it. If you don’t understand it, you can watch it or listen again and again until you do understand.
  • @Anne, I definately spend more time on biology now. It is so much easier and you can access it any time of the day or night, so it is easier to become motivated to complete my biology work.
  • The only thing that is better at school than online is the face to face social interaction.
  • I get private study sessions at school instead of a biology class. I am required to remain at school, but i can study other classes and do homework.

From the adults

  • webinars and podcasts allow all of us to have access to the very best teachers!
  • Podcasts are invaluable for adult ed too – lets folks study when their ‘real life’ isn’t so demanding
  • we don’t all learn best at the same time of day
  • So if one teacher is more suited to online forums, they could have way more kids in their classes and then the work load is not even…Just thinking out loud here… ;)
  • A study in July’s Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine reports that giving teens 30 extra minutes in the morning before classes leads to more alertness in class, better moods, less tardiness and healthier breakfasts.”
  • looks like the trend is: education is free, assessment costs $
  • I love the idea they use in “unconferences” where they use the “2 foot rule” –if you don’t find a session helpful or valuable, use your 2 feet and go somewhere else. We should all do that.
  • Attendance at school School does provide our remote country students with a social network and a face to face element which they may miss out on a bit online (I know that they network online too, but f2f is also important)
  • Technology is only a tool, not a teacher.  We will always need teachers to support and guide kids in the whole kid instead of only the academic side
  • I love hearing Kevin Honeycutt talk about why he started offering “Artsnacks” courses on his Ning so students in rural communities could learn from an art teacher when they didn’t have access to one in their own school.
  • What about the Essential Learning Standards: Intra personal and communication skills?
  • one of the biggest reasons people give for not agreeing with homeschooling is because they think the students won’t get to socialize and learn important social skills
  • Tech may free teachers up to do more work with the kids in terms of developing social skills
    do you worry that the free online tools that allow this sort of egalitarian teaching might be closed down sometime (a-la ning)?
  • backchannel is a way to process the learning and remain engaged
  • while free online tools come and go there are almost always new tools to take their place
  • almost all of the online programs have a pro/paid version for additional features
  • I remember when I first learned about the internet that I couldn’t believe I could access all of that information for free! Now we expect it
  • Heaps of screen captures and editing tools here
  • love tech tuesdays–even though it’s still Monday for me :-)
  • often online classes are offered for advanced placement classes or makeup classes in order to graduate
  • @Mary B I am wondering whether if kids log into Elluminate but they are not actually attending just logged in and doing other things, how would you know?
    response: @Mary B You dont. That is why it is important to make it interactive make them answer questions in chat, with mic,
  • make them answer polls, use the whiteboard etc
  • Re online labs vs f2f labs: Hmmm, but sometimes blowing stuff up for real is just so much more fun
  • Up to 500 participants have been recorded participating in a single elluminate session (with Steve Haragdon)
    There is so much food for thought here – what are your thoughts or comments on all this? Will there still be a need for physical schools? Can there be a blend of both environments? What role might they all take?