The Best Parent Workshop I’ve Ever Done

This little gem of an idea, came to the Digital Literacy Team at UWCSEA via Robyn Treyvaud, who had been visiting our school to work on the initiation of our generation safe project. Robyn’s idea – so obvious I don’t know why we hadn’t thought of it before – was to include students in the evening presentation to parents about social networking.

We created a sign up sheet for our workshop, and asked parents to outline the sort of things they were concerned about and/or what they wanted to focus on. Below is a Wordle of parent concerns.

My colleague Jeff Plaman asked which students in the class he was teaching would be interested in sharing how they use social networking with parents. He got at least 10 students who were keen to help out. I must stress that students were not pre-selected – we only asked for interested individuals, and we didn’t prep them as to what to say. Rather, we provided them with talking points to which they responded.

We scheduled a meeting at lunchtime where we shared a wordle of parent concerns, and they talked about their responses to the concerns, and explained to us the different ways they use social networking. It was fascinating just listening to them. At one point during the discussion, I thought, “We should be videoing this!” so turned on PhotoBooth (all that I had available at the time!) and listened.

Here are some short segments from that video which show the sort of things they were saying.

The following day, we had a huge turnout from parents. We sat one or two students at each table with parents, and did a brief presentation from the school’s perspective.

We encouraged parents to ask the students about their concerns and turned it over to the kids. It was amazing to see the positive body language of the parents, and see how engaged both groups were in listening and talking with the other.

We asked for some verbal parent feedback at the conclusion of the session, and received some very lovely comments from the parents. One parent said from his discussions with the student at his table, he learned he needs to trust his children more, and involve himself in what they’re doing. Others spoke very highly of the students involved, and said it was much easier to talk to someone else’s child about these sort of issues than have conversations with their own children. That said, they now felt more comfortable about initiating the discussions with their own children.

One of the most touching things I saw was one of our Grade 10 students giving the parents at her table her email address, with the words, “If you have any more questions, just send me an email.” How great are our students?!

Have you tried having students at your parent meetings? Do you have suggestions to share?

The Best Parent Workshop I’ve Ever Done

This little gem of an idea, came to the Digital Literacy Team at UWCSEA via Robyn Treyvaud, who had been visiting our school to work on the initiation of our generation safe project. Robyn’s idea – so obvious I don’t know why we hadn’t thought of it before – was to include students in the evening presentation to parents about social networking.

We created a sign up sheet for our workshop, and asked parents to outline the sort of things they were concerned about and/or what they wanted to focus on. Below is a Wordle of parent concerns.

My colleague Jeff Plaman asked which students in the class he was teaching would be interested in sharing how they use social networking with parents. He got at least 10 students who were keen to help out. I must stress that students were not pre-selected – we only asked for interested individuals, and we didn’t prep them as to what to say. Rather, we provided them with talking points to which they responded.

We scheduled a meeting at lunchtime where we shared a wordle of parent concerns, and they talked about their responses to the concerns, and explained to us the different ways they use social networking. It was fascinating just listening to them. At one point during the discussion, I thought, “We should be videoing this!” so turned on PhotoBooth (all that I had available at the time!) and listened.

Here are some short segments from that video which show the sort of things they were saying.

The following day, we had a huge turnout from parents. We sat one or two students at each table with parents, and did a brief presentation from the school’s perspective.

We encouraged parents to ask the students about their concerns and turned it over to the kids. It was amazing to see the positive body language of the parents, and see how engaged both groups were in listening and talking with the other.

We asked for some verbal parent feedback at the conclusion of the session, and received some very lovely comments from the parents. One parent said from his discussions with the student at his table, he learned he needs to trust his children more, and involve himself in what they’re doing. Others spoke very highly of the students involved, and said it was much easier to talk to someone else’s child about these sort of issues than have conversations with their own children. That said, they now felt more comfortable about initiating the discussions with their own children.

One of the most touching things I saw was one of our Grade 10 students giving the parents at her table her email address, with the words, “If you have any more questions, just send me an email.” How great are our students?!

Have you tried having students at your parent meetings? Do you have suggestions to share?

5 reasons to get back into Google Wave – with your students

google waveIf you’re anything like me, you will recall the hype surrounding Google Wave, and you will remember with excitement, the day your invite finally arrived.

I felt a bit like the cat that got the cream when I got mine, however my Wave potential was limited by the number of geeks people I could interact with (I had no invites for ages!). I felt it would be a wonderful tool for use in the classroom, but my initial lack of invites put the kibosh on that!

Fast forward 6 months and my Google Wave account was gathering virtual dust in cyberspace.

As good fortune would have it, my husband and I met up with an old friend in Bali – Werner Paetzold – from Bali International School on our holidays in April. Werner was singing the praises of Google Wave, and said he used it quite successfully with his Middle School students. There was a challenge, if ever I heard one!

He told me about the newest extensions, and also extolled the virtues of Google Wave as a conference note-taking platform. At the recent IBO conference, wireless was at something of a premium, but Werner insisted that if he opened the Wave when he had wireless, and left it open, he could happily take notes throughout the conference, and when he returned to wireless connectivity, it would sync all his notes for him.

The upcoming Grade 5 PYP Exhibition sounded like the perfect opportunity to have a look at what Wave could do.

I am mentor to two groups for the Exhibition (a unit that is a really student-driven inquiry, with mentor support), so I invited one member of each group, and they subsequently used their invitations to invite the rest of their group members. I asked them to start a Wave as a way of collaboratively collecting resources and research for their Exhibition. I love the grade 5 kids, they really are a fantastic bunch, so it was no surprise that they took to Google Wave like ducks to water.

Wave_1

Here are 5 reasons I believe you should dust off your Google Wave account and invite your students:

1. Collaboration Google Wave allows for very easy collaboration. It is very similar to both email and instant messaging, which are mediums that are extremely familiar to the kids I work with. Adding contacts to a Wave is… well… child’s play! I asked the students to invite me to their Wave, meaning I get all the updates as they work. It is a great way of having all the students’ research in one place – a place which is easily accessible at home and at school.

2. Playback – not sure who has contributed to the Wave lately? Or keen to see how the interaction is playing out with your students? Hit Playback, and you’ll see a sped up replay of the editing to date. This is useful as a way of tracking  involvement, but also a good way to catch up if you have been invited to a Wave fairly late in the piece.

3. Real-time Editing – my students think this part of Wave is uber cool – and it IS! There is something mind-blowing about the ability to see exactly what someone else is typing the moment they press the keypad. No more waiting until a person has finished his/her sentence – you can answer a question as it is being formed.
Pretty powerful stuff. Reason number 3 leads directly into reason number 4…

4. Just-in-Time support – on several occasions, I have been online at home when the kids have been working on their research. One time, I was able to give some immediate feedback and suggestions on a student’s just-completed Prezi, another time I explained how to embed a website into the Wave using one of the Extensions. It has been a fabulous tool for this sort of interaction.

5. Extensions – in my opinion, one of the best things about using Google Wave is the fabulous Extensions that are now available. Without the extensions, Wave is like an iPod Touch without the apps – cool, but not quite cool enough! I have pulled out a couple of the great Extensions that I have found useful so far:

extensions

iFRAME – this Extension allows you to embed a website into your Wave so others can read/preview it from within the Wave, and not have to leave the window.

iFrame

Ferry – a way of exporting waves to Google Docs and other formats

ferry

How have you used Google Wave in the classroom? Any bright ideas to share? Any must-have Extensions? I am keen to hear your feedback!

Google Wave image credit: curiouslee

Update May 26th 2010: Lessons Learned

Thanks to a comment from a reader, I was alerted to the Terms of Service for Google Wave, which state:

“2.3 You may not use the Services and may not accept the Terms if (a) you are not of legal age to form a binding contract with Google,” (http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS)

I hadn’t realised I had overlooked this section of the Terms of Service (TOS) – and took steps to rectify it immediately.

I had originally invited the kids using their school-controlled Gmail account via Google Apps, but when the students discovered those addresses weren’t accepted by Google Wave (at that time), they used their own accounts (which they already had outside of school).

As Google Wave is now available via Google Apps for Education, I informed the students of the issue, and had them create a replacement Wave account using their school-controlled Gmail account. They still have access to the wonderfully collaborative features of Wave, but without the extensions (at this point). The only loss to us is the <iframe> extension, which allows websites to be embedded in a wave. A very nice feature indeed.

My intention is, and has always been, to connect students to technology that enhances their learning. Although I sincerely regret not checking the terms of service more thoroughly, this has turned into a valuable learning opportunity for us all.

I regularly discuss the importance of Internet awareness with my students, and this has given us another opportunity to bring these issues to the fore, and ensure students can learn from this, as I have.

The key issue is the US laws relating to COPPA/CIPA and one aspect of that is the legal age at which people can engage in a contract.  This is the same thing that has plagued Ning use in elementary schools.  There seems to be agreement that the legal age is 14 in the States — though in California where Google is incorporated, the legal age is 18.  Here in Singapore it is 21.

I would be interested to hear from someone with legal knowledge and an international school perspective.

I remain convinced that Google Wave is an outstanding platform for student use, and hope you see the benefits too.

5 reasons to get back into Google Wave – with your students

google waveIf you’re anything like me, you will recall the hype surrounding Google Wave, and you will remember with excitement, the day your invite finally arrived.

I felt a bit like the cat that got the cream when I got mine, however my Wave potential was limited by the number of geeks people I could interact with (I had no invites for ages!). I felt it would be a wonderful tool for use in the classroom, but my initial lack of invites put the kibosh on that!

Fast forward 6 months and my Google Wave account was gathering virtual dust in cyberspace.

As good fortune would have it, my husband and I met up with an old friend in Bali – Werner Paetzold – from Bali International School on our holidays in April. Werner was singing the praises of Google Wave, and said he used it quite successfully with his Middle School students. There was a challenge, if ever I heard one!

He told me about the newest extensions, and also extolled the virtues of Google Wave as a conference note-taking platform. At the recent IBO conference, wireless was at something of a premium, but Werner insisted that if he opened the Wave when he had wireless, and left it open, he could happily take notes throughout the conference, and when he returned to wireless connectivity, it would sync all his notes for him.

The upcoming Grade 5 PYP Exhibition sounded like the perfect opportunity to have a look at what Wave could do.

I am mentor to two groups for the Exhibition (a unit that is a really student-driven inquiry, with mentor support), so I invited one member of each group, and they subsequently used their invitations to invite the rest of their group members. I asked them to start a Wave as a way of collaboratively collecting resources and research for their Exhibition. I love the grade 5 kids, they really are a fantastic bunch, so it was no surprise that they took to Google Wave like ducks to water.

Wave_1

Here are 5 reasons I believe you should dust off your Google Wave account and invite your students:

1. Collaboration Google Wave allows for very easy collaboration. It is very similar to both email and instant messaging, which are mediums that are extremely familiar to the kids I work with. Adding contacts to a Wave is… well… child’s play! I asked the students to invite me to their Wave, meaning I get all the updates as they work. It is a great way of having all the students’ research in one place – a place which is easily accessible at home and at school.

2. Playback – not sure who has contributed to the Wave lately? Or keen to see how the interaction is playing out with your students? Hit Playback, and you’ll see a sped up replay of the editing to date. This is useful as a way of tracking  involvement, but also a good way to catch up if you have been invited to a Wave fairly late in the piece.

3. Real-time Editing – my students think this part of Wave is uber cool – and it IS! There is something mind-blowing about the ability to see exactly what someone else is typing the moment they press the keypad. No more waiting until a person has finished his/her sentence – you can answer a question as it is being formed.
Pretty powerful stuff. Reason number 3 leads directly into reason number 4…

4. Just-in-Time support – on several occasions, I have been online at home when the kids have been working on their research. One time, I was able to give some immediate feedback and suggestions on a student’s just-completed Prezi, another time I explained how to embed a website into the Wave using one of the Extensions. It has been a fabulous tool for this sort of interaction.

5. Extensions – in my opinion, one of the best things about using Google Wave is the fabulous Extensions that are now available. Without the extensions, Wave is like an iPod Touch without the apps – cool, but not quite cool enough! I have pulled out a couple of the great Extensions that I have found useful so far:

extensions

iFRAME – this Extension allows you to embed a website into your Wave so others can read/preview it from within the Wave, and not have to leave the window.

iFrame

Ferry – a way of exporting waves to Google Docs and other formats

ferry

How have you used Google Wave in the classroom? Any bright ideas to share? Any must-have Extensions? I am keen to hear your feedback!

Google Wave image credit: curiouslee

Update May 26th 2010: Lessons Learned

Thanks to a comment from a reader, I was alerted to the Terms of Service for Google Wave, which state:

“2.3 You may not use the Services and may not accept the Terms if (a) you are not of legal age to form a binding contract with Google,” (http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS)

I hadn’t realised I had overlooked this section of the Terms of Service (TOS) – and took steps to rectify it immediately.

I had originally invited the kids using their school-controlled Gmail account via Google Apps, but when the students discovered those addresses weren’t accepted by Google Wave (at that time), they used their own accounts (which they already had outside of school).

As Google Wave is now available via Google Apps for Education, I informed the students of the issue, and had them create a replacement Wave account using their school-controlled Gmail account. They still have access to the wonderfully collaborative features of Wave, but without the extensions (at this point). The only loss to us is the <iframe> extension, which allows websites to be embedded in a wave. A very nice feature indeed.

My intention is, and has always been, to connect students to technology that enhances their learning. Although I sincerely regret not checking the terms of service more thoroughly, this has turned into a valuable learning opportunity for us all.

I regularly discuss the importance of Internet awareness with my students, and this has given us another opportunity to bring these issues to the fore, and ensure students can learn from this, as I have.

The key issue is the US laws relating to COPPA/CIPA and one aspect of that is the legal age at which people can engage in a contract.  This is the same thing that has plagued Ning use in elementary schools.  There seems to be agreement that the legal age is 14 in the States — though in California where Google is incorporated, the legal age is 18.  Here in Singapore it is 21.

I would be interested to hear from someone with legal knowledge and an international school perspective.

I remain convinced that Google Wave is an outstanding platform for student use, and hope you see the benefits too.

Techxperts – saving the world, one screencast at a time

This term, Louise and I have started an after school activity for Grade 4 and 5 students called Techxperts. Here’s how we marketed it to the students:

Do you love using computers and other bits of technology? Are you a bit of a Tech Wizard? Do you know how to use programmes such as Photo Story, Adobe Premiere Elements, Scratch or Google Earth? Do you like to help others?

If so, then the UWC Techxperts need YOU!

Survey students and teachers to see where they need support (and learn to create and use Google Forms in the process).

Create screencasts which show people how to use the programmes we have at school.

Create help sheets to solve common troubleshooting problems.

UWC Techxperts: Saving the world, one screencast at a time.

Student-created products (to-date) include:

  • A series of  screencasts on how to use Diigo
  • A how-to poster for the lab on what to do if you come across a ‘locked’ computer
  • A screencast on how to use PhotoStory (from go to woah!)
  • A how-to poster for the lab on how to log-in to Jing
  • A poster showing the 4 different things to check if your headphones aren’t working

We have been using Jing as our screencast tool of choice. The kids find it really easy to use and were absolutely stoked to try making screencasts and annotated screen captures.

The posters are up in the computer lab, and it has been fabulous to have student-generated products to direct students to with those common troubleshooting problems.

When introducing PhotoStory to Grade 2 students (who had never used it before), it was fantastic to have a screencast which outlined exactly how to get started, from a student’s point of view. I have created screencasts myself previously, but I think it’s nice for them to be made by kids, for kids.

Here are the screencasts which show how to Bookmark & Highlight a page using Diigo, by Jean-Luc.

Do you love using computers and other bits of technology? Are you a bit of a Tech Wizard? Do you know how to use programmes such as Photo Story, Adobe Premiere Elements, Scratch or Google Earth? Do you like to help others?

If so, then the UWC Techxperts need YOU!

Survey students and teachers to see where they need support (and learn to create and use Google Forms in the process).

Create screencasts which show people how to use the programmes we have at school.

Create help sheets to solve common troubleshooting problems.

UWC Techxperts: Saving the world, one screencast at a time.

Cross-posted at U Tech Tips

Techxperts – saving the world, one screencast at a time

This term, Louise and I have started an after school activity for Grade 4 and 5 students called Techxperts. Here’s how we marketed it to the students:

Do you love using computers and other bits of technology? Are you a bit of a Tech Wizard? Do you know how to use programmes such as Photo Story, Adobe Premiere Elements, Scratch or Google Earth? Do you like to help others?

If so, then the UWC Techxperts need YOU!

Survey students and teachers to see where they need support (and learn to create and use Google Forms in the process).

Create screencasts which show people how to use the programmes we have at school.

Create help sheets to solve common troubleshooting problems.

UWC Techxperts: Saving the world, one screencast at a time.

Student-created products (to-date) include:

  • A series of  screencasts on how to use Diigo
  • A how-to poster for the lab on what to do if you come across a ‘locked’ computer
  • A screencast on how to use PhotoStory (from go to woah!)
  • A how-to poster for the lab on how to log-in to Jing
  • A poster showing the 4 different things to check if your headphones aren’t working

We have been using Jing as our screencast tool of choice. The kids find it really easy to use and were absolutely stoked to try making screencasts and annotated screen captures.

The posters are up in the computer lab, and it has been fabulous to have student-generated products to direct students to with those common troubleshooting problems.

When introducing PhotoStory to Grade 2 students (who had never used it before), it was fantastic to have a screencast which outlined exactly how to get started, from a student’s point of view. I have created screencasts myself previously, but I think it’s nice for them to be made by kids, for kids.

Here are the screencasts which show how to Bookmark & Highlight a page using Diigo, by Jean-Luc.

Do you love using computers and other bits of technology? Are you a bit of a Tech Wizard? Do you know how to use programmes such as Photo Story, Adobe Premiere Elements, Scratch or Google Earth? Do you like to help others?

If so, then the UWC Techxperts need YOU!

Survey students and teachers to see where they need support (and learn to create and use Google Forms in the process).

Create screencasts which show people how to use the programmes we have at school.

Create help sheets to solve common troubleshooting problems.

UWC Techxperts: Saving the world, one screencast at a time.

Cross-posted at U Tech Tips