Saturday, November 11, 2006

Skypeing with Oz Teachers

Chris Betcher arranged for a Skypecast to be conducted at 10.00am Australian time for members of Ozteachers. Ozteachers is a mailing list that I understand from the comments of one of the members, Marg Lloyld is one of the oldest educational mailing lists in the world for teachers. Even if it isn't it's certainly one of the most active and one that I rely on very much for great ideas and friendly and helpful support for all manners of issues, problems and suggestions related to teaching. I don't believe that this is a list for teachers who are IT specialists. In fact there seem to be many in the group who are dabbling around the edges with eLearning and ICT. But that's great because most of the time the questions and discussions aren't too 'techie' and are often about great ideas that someone has come across or a problem that someone has. And there always seems to be somebody out there who has a suggestion or answer.
Anyway to get back to the Skypecast, at one stage I think there may have been about 70 online. Chris did a brilliant job managing all the chatting and comments and while there were a few technical hitches mainly to do with the number of people online and sometimes the occasional intruder, it worked really well.
A few of the highlights for me were
Hearing the voices and seeing pics of so many of the people who I read about online.
The discussion about how we might use Skype in the classroom was really valuable and one that I know that we will explore some more. I seemed that there is an opportunity for someone to try to gather a list of those teachers who are using skype to see if we could link up.
We also discussed some ideas for using copyright free music and sounds as well as reference to the K-12 conference that John Pearce presented at and many people listened to. We were reminded that the presentations including John's are still available to listen to.
After the skypecast I stayed online for a little while and chatted to Michael Cridland, a teacher in Brisbane who is also teaching Year 7&8 students. He is also 'playing' with blogs and wikis with his students and we had a good discussion about using wikis as a digital portfolio. Great to talk over some ideas and get someone else's opinion.
Hope we can do it all again.

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