Earlier this week, I posted a monster list of 20 ideas inspired by the Learning 2.0 Conference and now I’m starting to take the time to really flesh out those ideas, make some good contacts and get the ball rolling…
The first big idea I’d like to tackle is the concept of creating a “global communications center” in your classroom as described by Alan November. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while and am really excited about.
Ideally, I’d like to have one classroom at each grade level (PK – 5) with this type of global communications center in their classroom. To keep things a bit more streamlined, I have created a wiki to help centralize communication and facilitate collaboration on this project. Please let me know if you’re interested in participating!
For convenience, here’s a brief recap of the idea from my earlier post:
Thanks to my wonderful colleague, Jennifer, from my previous school (who was also at Learning 2.0), we came up with the idea of using YackPack to set up mini-personal learning networks for each student in a class. YackPack is a web-based audio communication service that allows students to share and exchange ideas in a user friendly graphical interface that requires little to no reading skills. I used it extensively with my middle school classes last year when we collaborated with Chrissy’s class in New Zealand, and loved it!
Each teacher will create a YackPack for each student in your class, each student will have 4 partners in other schools around the world, for a total of 5 students in each Pack. This will enable the exchange to be more constant, more flexible and sometimes involve just a portion of your pack and other times all of your pack (depending on curricular needs).
The Pack can be used for: storytelling, practicing reading with emotion, share their favorite book, talk about the author, reflecting on learning and the process of learning (metacognition), collecting “data” (for ex: for graphing activities). Students will use inspiration / kidspiration or an online mind mapping software to brainstorm ideas about what they will talk about so students are not reading from a script.
This project could be extended by creating a collaborative Ning or Imbee for the classes for a place to share pictures, videos, etc and/or video conferencing with Skype or TokBox (video e-mail) where video would be required to enrich the experience.
My first step is start this project with one of our fabulous second grade teachers, Susan, who also attended Learning 2.0 and is totally inspired and ready to start. Right now I’m struggling with the management issue of setting up 20 different YackPack accounts – one for each member of the second grade class I’m working with. Because second graders don’t usually have their own e-mail address and since the school doesn’t provide them I have to figure out how to set them up and maintain them for the kids. After working in middle school for the past seven years, I’m really not used to doing all these little things for the kids. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Are you interested in participating in a project like this?