Nothing like Sunday night fun

I had a great time last night. I’ve loaded Skype on my wife’s new laptop, we sat on the couch together and I showed her how it works. We work at the same school, but our offices are on the complete opposite sides of the campus, so I thought this could be a great way for us stay in touch (other than phone and e-mail). I did make the mistake of showing her the shortcuts for emoticons …next thing I know she’s laughing as I’m looking at (drink) (smile) (beer) I think she’s hooked! I even showed her this shortcuts page with more emoticons (make sure you have the latest Skype 3.5 to view them all) Nothing like spending Sunday night with your wife. 😉 [tags]skype[/tags] Technorati Tags:...

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Creating moments of learning

Yesterday Mr. Hossack’s class of 5th graders got to take part in something new and cool. They had a video Skype call with a 7th grade class in Los Angles, California. Barbara Barreda contacted me a couple weeks ago and we started planning. Of course planning didn’t go to smoothly on our end. We are two days from ending school and the 7th grade class that was going to take the Skype call and questions was not even at school, but instead were running around Shanghai taking part in an Amazing Race that the teachers put together for them. So, Mr. Hossack’s class filled in and really enjoyed the conversation. It was interesting to hear the students answer questions like, “Have you ever been to the great wall?” A couple students have been there and of course what they remember is that you can rent a luge and slide down some of the steeper parts of the wall. I have been on the wall and there are places that you do have to crawl on your hands and knees to get up. It was interesting though…I’m not sure what the students in L.A. were expecting for and answer but being able to ride a luge down the Great Wall probably wasn’t it. I find it fascinating the perspectives we all have. The Great Wall to most of our kids is like “So” it’s only a 2 hour flight away and many have gone multiple times. It would be like living next to Hollywood. I think I also have to mention that our students do a lot of traveling. Many of them have been to more countries than I have and most have attended multiple schools in multiple countries. They are third culture kids that have a different perspective on the world and travel. Thanks again to Barbara and her teachers and students for allowing us the opportunity to cross oceans and create global connections. [tags]Skype, globalconnections, 21st Century Learning[/tags] Technorati Tags: Skype, globalconnections, classroom2.0,...

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Building Learning Communities

I have been privileged this past week to spend three days with Frances Hensley from the National School Reform Faculty. A group of 20 of us from my school were able to spend 3 days with Ms. Hensley in October and she was back for three more days of Critical Friends Training. Critical Friends Groups are: A CFG is a professional learning community consisting of approximately 8-12 educators who come together voluntarily at least once a month for about 2 hours. Group members are committed to improving their practice through collaborative learning. CFG’s are a great way to build learning communities in your school. What really makes CFGs work are the protocols that are used to move meetings along. The protocols are very scripted, and take anywhere from 45 minutes to 60 minutes to work through. This week while going through the training I was focusing on how to move these amazing protocols that allow you to look at problems, issues, and conversations at a deeper level transform into digital spaces. I even presented this question to my CFG group: “How does one take these F2F protocols and transfer them to a digital world where F2F may not be possible?” I’m thinking about the Plymouth State University graduate class I’m teaching this summer titled. “Teaching in the networked classroom” and how I can use these protocols to run an efficient Skype conference with the students of the course. These protocols allow you to move through a question/problem/conversation in a way that allows everyone to talk and participate in the conversation. I’m sure most of you have been involved in Skype conferences or other online conferences where the chat room is disconnected from the voice conversation. We only use one aspect of a program like Skype and do not, for the most part, use the IM chat and the voice as a whole system. In an hour my group, who were all educators and not technology people, gave me a ton to think about. We discussed how do you start a session? What does an ice breaker activity look like in this conversation? How do you create buy in? How do you set norms or rules that are easy for people to follow and that layout what the IM chat is for and how it can enhance the voice conversation. It was an amazing 60 minutes for me that really...

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Skype now with SMS support

So Skype just updated itself on my computer and I can now SMS straight from Skype. It even works in China! I sent myself an SMS for $0.0055 at that rate, I can afford to send SMS messages. To the States just $0.112. That’s not bad! Now we just have to keep China from blocking it…keep your fingers crossed. I think I just found a new way to remind my students of a test! 😉 [tags]Skype[/tags] Technorati Tags:...

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