Flat Connections

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This came up in our meeting today. Teachers at the K-2 level are wanting to have real connection experiences between classrooms to foster higher levels of engagement and excitement, and to make the project REAL for students of this age.

What are the solutions here? Skype? Blackboard?

What about pseudo real-time? Eyejot? Voicethread?

What about plans to have regular 'expected' interactions that students can look forward to? For example if EVERY Tuesday and Thursday morning a class KNEW there would be a media artifact OR a real-time connection with another class, then this could generate expectation and further interest.

What ideas do you have for this?

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Here are some of the ways that we have enjoyed real connection experiences:-

Real time:skype, blackboard collaborate (using the video), twitter eg my preps were learning about animals and talked about their favourite Australian animals. I put out a tweet for others to say where they were from and what was their favourite animal - lots of teachable tweets resulted. See the screen dump below for some of the responses.

Non-real time: Voicethread, wallwisher, linoit. Grade 2 students may be able to work on a shared, collaborative google documents. The teachers may be able to share discussions on a google document, that is shared with their classes. Google presentation allows collaborative presentations and photo sharing. Flickr for shared photos. Emailing a photo to share with other classes is a simple but still effective way. See below for an image that was shared with a young class in Boston, USA for students to determine what animal tracks this might be. Sharing videos via youtube or a google document can be really educational. Friends of ours from Boston, USA shared a video of what Hurricane Sandy looked like outside their window. The preps?ones (5 and 6 year olds) had a lot to talk about and share after watching this video which was shared via google document.

There are iPad apps coming out to allow collaborative storytelling.

 This image is of a kangaroo's tracks on our driveway to our home was evident last week. The long thin line is not a snake track but the kangaroo tail and the other tracks above are of its legs. It bounded away when my husband went to take its photo. Can you see how the kangaroo tracks were made by looking at the photo below?

 Snail mail is still a fabulous way to share drawings, tiny souvenirs etc to end a formal project. Students get so excited when they open the parcel and find cultural type goodies inside.

Anne thank you for making this so real with images and stories and suggestions based on your experiences. If I was not Australian, your kangaroo tracks and pictures allow me to see into your life. This is so much the point of the handshake.

 My class had a real time Skype connection with another school this week. It was great and the children enjoyed it. I should have really pushed for this earlier in the program as they have lost a little wind on things.  I think your suggestion of a regular meet up for authentic reasons, weekly or every second week would be a big help. 

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