Visiting our Beijing sister school with Skype

Prep and year one students greet our Chinese sister school with an English and then a Chinese version of Incy Wincy Spider. The young students were very confident in Chinese language performance. This was the first time that the schools had communicated with each other using Skype with great success. Secondary school students from years 7-9 then continued the session practicing their Chinese language skills while the Beijing students their English.

Jumping into Book Week with Polycom and Electroboard

Students in years Prep-6 and year 8 participated in Book Week extension activities through Polycom video conferencing and Electroboard using Bridgit software to show note pad presentations and demonstrations. This was the first time we have put this equipment through its paces and expectations of success were not disappointed. Although there were some connection issues, once that was sorted out, it all ran very well. Both the Polycom and Electroboard help teams were great with advice and navigation assistance.

The busy week began on Monday with year six students in the classroom at Hawkesdale P12 and author Libby Hathorn being streamed in via video conference on Polycom from the State Library of NSW. The students listened and interacted with Libby who discussed the books she has had published, her most recent ‘A boy like me’. Libby then led the students in an interactive poetry workshop. It was an amazing experience for the students who produced great poems that they are very proud of. The sessions are all limited to one hour and it is amazing what can be accomplished in that time.

Tuesday the prep/one classes joined in a visual literacy session using Smartboard notebook on the Electroboard through Bridgit and video conference with Polycom. There were a few technical hiccups in this session, but once it was all up and working it was great.

Wednesday, we had two sessions, year 2/3 developing characters through drama and year 4/5 extending literacy through pottery. The year 4/5 students made their favourite book character from clay as directed by their video conference teacher Ms Devine. Who demonstrated pottery skills to develop and extend students’ knowledge in this area. See photograph of all busy at work.

Friday year 2/3 students participated in the visual literacy workshop using the book ‘Into the forest’ by Anthony Browne linking fairy tale characters into story writing. The week wound up with our year 8 students participating in a workshop with James Moloney, another great experience.

It is safe to say that we put Polycom and Electroboard through their paces during the week and as the week went on we grew more confident in setting up and connecting. The presentations/workshops were all great and both teachers and students worked with the new technologies very well. It is great for a rural school such as ours to have access to this type of learning. The students were amazed that the presenters were in Sydney or Melbourne.

The calendar for the programmes can be found at See Share Shape http://www.seeshareshape.com.au/share/VC/default.aspx you can just browse at what is on offer, but to book you will need to make an account and then you are on your way, just follow the prompts.

Some of the technology in our classrooms

Technology has come along in leaps and bounds in the last ten years. It is totally amazing what technology students have at their fingertips today and how it is adding to skills, knowledge and learning. Students at our school are fortunate to have access to 1:1 netbooks from grade two together with other shared resources such ipads, ipod touches and digital and flip cameras. Interactive whiteboards in classrooms provide teachers with a resource that enhances student engagement and lesson focus. With a laptop connected to an interactive whiteboard teachers can present dvds and videos and internet activities along with anything else they have prepared on their computer.  Ipads or ipod touches together with great apps provide students with new formats to produce outcomes that build, extend and enhance learning beyond the paper filled classroom that is limited only by imagination. Recently year 6 students have planned and written short books, some chose to produce their book on an ipad with a great app called ‘Book Creator for ipad’. The finished product can be saved and transported as an ebook or pdf and can then be printed if required. This provides two formats for the book to be shared with other students, parents and teachers. Year two and three students use a voice recorder app to record themselves reading, then listen back to the track to self-assess their reading skills. Dragon dictation app transforms speech to text which is valuable to students who struggle to get their words on paper. The text can then be emailed and manipulated in a word document or other similar word processing file. The Choiceswork app is a new find and is great for students with learning difficulties providing a graphical interface of tasks, emotions and rewards adding a new dimension to the structure of the day that is tailored to their specific needs.  The countdown timer on this app is great for students to manage their own time while undertaking tasks. Technology is not the be-all of education, but it is here to stay and teachers are embracing what is on offer and in turn enhancing student learning.

Weekly ICT Award

Tahnk you to Magazines4students, a company the library orders with annually have provided us with a prize of 50 x 2.0GB USBs for being one of the first schools to place an order in 2009. To try and share them amongst as many students as possible it has been decided to have a weekly ICT Award. This award will recognise excellence, hard work, good results and breakthroughs in students ICT pursuits. Students from the year 3/4 class right up to and including year 12 will be eligible for the award.

To begin the awards this week, we have two recipients: Carly and Hannah for ‘Excellence in ICT – International finalists in the ‘netgened project’ video competition’.

Watch the school blogs and college newsletter for the weekly recipients of the award.