Fancy a Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Skype Call?

I know that I write very little on online teaching and learning on this blog. I’d like to write more but time and my lack of knowledge stop me….Anyway here is something I couldn’t resist.

In March I stumbled upon The Amazing Web 2.0 Projects Book! This is a free resource looking at the benefits of using Web 2.0 applications in an educational environment and boasting 87 project case studies, 94 contributors, 52 aplications and 10 further resources. It was edited by Terry Freedman, an independent educational ICT consultant and is incrediably interesting and helpful if you want to use Web 2.0 in your classroom. The case studies range from those directed at primary school children to adult and lifelong learning and some even make interesting reading for remote workers. Through use of the tools the participants have learnt skills in online communication, collaborating in virtual teams and ways to self-intiate and motivate as well as the usual literacy, maths, languages, science and so on. Really Great Stuff!

Here are my favourites:

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Skype Call
Two classes in different schools read the book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs together via a Skype video call. Both classes practiced their reading fluency and voice before performing for each others’ class. The teachers were in touch with each other a few times to make sure they understood how to use Skype and to see how it worked in their classrooms. The students have found Skype to be a great tool to connect to people worldwide. They have gone home and shared information about this tool with their parents and several of them have set up Skype accounts. There are several children with families in Central America and they are using Skype to talk with their family members who live there. Their teacher has written a blog post (with video) about the experience.

Virtual Balloon Race

Three classes used Twitter to microblog daily as one of a range of strategies to develop writing. They used Twitter to make contact with schools across the world. The main challenges were overcoming the concerns over e-safety and creating contextual links across the curriculum to develop the use of web 2.0. The project changed quite dramatically from a virtual balloon to making links with specific schools. This was due to the fact that many teachers contacted the classes involved but didn’t have a Twitter account set up or a class email in place. The 3 classes made links with many schools but each communicated with one class each. @giraffeclass made friends with a class in a New Zealand school.

Around The World with 80 Schools
The Around The World with 80 Schools Project enabled schools to connect with other schools around the world through a short 5 minute video conference call (Skype). Students introduce themselves, share something special about their location or culture and ask a data-collecting question. Over 200 schools are participating.

Connecting Schools Across The Sea

In the Connecting Schools Across The Sea project Skype was used to to connect with a partner primary in France. They connected once a month for 1/2 hr and used language for real purpose and with a real live audience. Initially there were a few glitches, eg the Skype connection was slow on the first link up and the sound needed to be monitored closely before the lesson. The Head of Department initally said that it would be impossible due to firewalls on the school network but it wasn’t a problem. There is also a Slideshare presentation available.