24 Hour Skype

It all began after speaking (skyping with @techyturner – Rodney Turner in Phoenix Arizona) and he mentioned that Jen Deyenberg in Canada had done an over night skype. I just couldn’t resist the challenge to use the world to learn. With the ease of Skype my students could talk to the world and get first hand information rather than the second hand information we use mostly.

After discussion with my students and deciding on a purpose (How are we the same – different? What’s in your lunchbox and what do you play?) I put out a call for interest on twitter where my PLN around the globe exists and had around 40 people put in expressions of interest using a google form I created. This was way back in May 2012 with October plans. Then the year rolled on and it was September. Holidays came and went and October hit so I moved the day to November.

I sent an email to all interested to see who was still interested. After that the students looked up the times of all the different cities so we could make a timetable. Bang then daylight savings turned on and our times were out. Also some places turned off daylight savings so there could be a 2hour difference in our original times. Why didn’t I think about this?

24 hr skype WikiI created a wiki and gave all the class access to it so they could create the page for each of the schools. The wiki would be where we would share about our lunches and games. Also we added a map and invited the school to drop a pin on the map. Since then I have found you can add gadgets to the spreadsheet in google and it will map also there is a site thanks to @courosa

We were also thinking what else could we find out about and so thought water was something we all needed and so I created a voice thread for schools to tell about water.

Our wiki pages are still a work in progress and we and the other schools are still getting our information put onto the pages. We also put a population page so we can compare.

The class I chose 5/6B is one of my ICT classes who I teach once a fortnight. This made organising and integrating very difficult in our crowded curriculum. One of my aims was also to have the students involved from the planning stage to the night. I wanted it to be their project as much as mine.

A jobs list became a part of our organisation even down to costing the pizza for dinner. Yes sleeping over or the wake over was part of the deal.


Finally the day arrived and we began the day at 9am with our grade 6’s about to depart for their transition day to the secondary school which also meant the classroom teacher would be gone for half of the day. This leads as to another of my goals and that was to provide professional development for the classroom teacher. I was hoping by the end of the day for the classroom teacher to have learned many skills. This unfortunately didn’t happen.

Organisation during the Skype
We ended up with 25 Skype sessions on our schedule for the 24hours


So we rostered each student to be the host for each Skype session. We wrote up a program for the Skype sessions and posted this on the wiki so all the schools knew the format of the Skype sessions. Also we rostered students to tweet each session using the school twitter account @epsomps so families could follow via the school app which also broadcasts the tweets. We had a tweeting station using two iPads and echofon.

The twitter station

Can you imagine the students being on task for 24 hours? Well no, I couldn’t and had an idea that after the second Skype some would be over it, particularly if they weren’t hosting it. So I made a Our challenges page for the students to complete in any order during the 24hrs. This worked very well whenever the students needed a break from the skyping. During the late hours of the night sleeping was the preferred activity if not rostered on.

One student Nathan attended every Skype and tweeted them all through the night.

Our resident tweeter all night

Meals were simple with pizza delivered and breakfast of cereal and toast, popcorn snacks, milk juice and diet coke. Oh and the chocolate coated ice creams or icey poles for dessert. So we did have some treats as it was a special occasion.

Dinner at last

Dinner at last

During the day we skyped in the classroom which was great because the students could work at their tables when they needed to and this helped with supervision. After school we moved into our large multi purpose room and set up there for the night with our sleeping bags on hand. This room also has a kitchen at one end.

Bean Bag set up

Overall we had 4 schools not participate, 2 just didn’t show and 2 had technical problems.

During the night our largest break was from 9-1am. I thought this would be a great time to get some sleep however the students didn’t so I got them up around 11:45 and we had a midnight google forms lesson where we co-created a google form for participants to complete so we could collect some information to use for our next skype.   Imagine a lesson at midnight with all students participating apart from the three who were asleep.


Thanks to Tina Schmidt for the following Vimeo of their experience of the Skype. It’s great seeing it from their view.

Skype with Epsom, Australia from Tina Schmidt on Vimeo.

All skypes were recorded with call recorder and we will be adding each schools Skype session to their page on the wiki.

The best price of equipment was my iRig microphone with a long cord. It was great as it was unidirectional so didn’t just pick up everyone’s noise. Like my inbuilt mic is so good at doing.
Speakers enabled everyone to hear and as our screens dont have speakers they were needed so all could hear.
A camera was used so I could move it easily rather that the whole laptop. I used my small iPivo camera

So we learned our lunches aren’t very healthy compared to other countries, some schools have rules about food you can bring and packaging (nude food only in some schools, sugar banned)
We play a lot of the same games apart from cricket and netball and snow games.
Lunchtimes can be different times of the day, schools vary in size and some schools have hot lunches and a canteen.


                 Night time skyping in the multi purpose room.                 Skyping in our classroom

Action from this 24hour Skype still to be finished – How can we make our lunches healthier and why? Together with the students we are going to plan action to improve our lunches so we are healthier to enable us to learn better and be healthier. Also we have a litter problem that will become a part of this project. Updating the wiki will be our first focus.

Will we do another 24hour Skype?

Next week – No!      

Next year – Yes!

Continue reading

May the Force be with You

Grade 3/4’s have begun investigating about forces.  As many students have Angry birds on their iPads they were set the task to take some screen shots showing push and pull.  This was tricky to take a screen shot so it worked very well for those who did not have angry birds as they could be the photographers taking the screen shot while the other person held the sling shot back.  Then the picture was emailed to the student who didn’t have angry birds. The pictures were put into explain everything and then audio and annotations added to explain where push and pull was occuring.  This was their first activity about forces.

Here is a sample of their work.




Grade 5/6P have been investigating Wolframalpha and comparing countries’ data including land areas, population and even GDP.  They have seen how easily we can find interesting data about many topics and this will be useful for fact finding work.  The next step is drawing meaning from the data.  This is where we are comparing Australia to other countries.  World ranking status was interesting for the 5/6’s. Finding the data is easy, asking the appropriate question is a very important skill and then finally being able to interpret and add meaning to the data is where we need more focus. Here is an example of our findings.

Compare Australia and China

KidPix and Maths

One of our oldest applications, Kidpix Mackiev, which is on the laptops is being used at the moment for students to represent addition problems. They are then adding the pictures to a slideshow and exporting them out for iPods so we can view them on the iPods. We are moving them to the iPods via sendtodropbox.com and we also investigated using email but we decided we wanted to have the slideshows in the one file in dropbox.  When the children send their work to sendtodropbox they put in 10 for the subject and all their filees will be in a folder called 10.

Here is an example of a finshed product by Lachlan. Its a work still in progress so some feedback for Lachlan would be great.
Adding to 10

Grade 1/2

The grade 1/2 learning community have begun investigating China.  They began the unit by collaborating on the wallwisher site and contributing their wonderings.  Wallwisher is great for collaboarating together and there is also an app called Lino that allows students to collaborate in a similar way on the ipads or ipods.  Here is the link for the wallwisher.


Olympics Learning

Yes it’s Olympics time again and for many of our students it’s their first real Olympics that they will remember.  There is so much information to find out about and to share with others. How do our You Can Do It values relate to the Olympics? Persistence, Confidence, Getting Along, Organisation and Resilience.

The grade one and two’s are working on a voicethread.  Voicethread is a site that allows you to add pictures and then comments via text, audio or video.  Each student has created an avatar for themselves rather than displaying their real photo which could be stolen as a part of an identity theft.

Check out the Olympic avatars grade 1/2H created yesterday.

Student Conference Series

We have had an exciting term with our students presenting on the BlackBoard Collaborate online conferencing series.  This series invloved different classes around the world and students presenting about their interests.  It is a new skill to be able to present online and our students have done a great job so far.

The presentations are all recorded so if you click on this link it will take you to the Student Conference Series Blog website that has the links to the presentations.  We are hoping to do more next term.


2012 eLearning news

Welcome to 2012. At Epsom there is a lot happening in 2012. First we have shared the lab around the school and given away our older Macs to loving families. We are looking at elearning being just another part of the everyday classroom and included in all subject areas. Prep-2 classes will have access to desktops, laptops and iPods. While grade 3/4 students will have acccess to a 1:1 iPad program along with laptops and our grade 5/6 students will have access to netbooks and desktop computers.

Integration of ICT information and communication technology across all learning areas when appropriate means students can access the world and express themselves in ways that were never possible before.  This combined with the use of collaboration between learners from around the globe will make for a very interesting year at Epsom.

The ultranet will continue to be a portal where much of our work will be placed and parents will be encouraged to access their students’ sites and spaces. Even as I speak there are students busily adding to their spaces in the ultranet.

We will begin the year by familiarising ourselves with the user agreements for ICT use at Epsom and within the DEECD and global communities.



ICT learning

We have been learning lots of new skills while we have been using the ultranet. Here is a list of our learnings
1. We have learned to change our backgrounds by getting the URL, putting into a CSS code generator, putting that into the look and feel tab under advanced styling and then saving and updating the site.

2. We have learned how to use different portlets on our spaces like, iframes, blogs, publication displays, polls displays and calendars.

3. We also learned how to embed different heading styles that are animated on our spaces.

4. We can now log on much faster and it isn’t an issue anymore.

5. We have assessed and validated websites to see if they are suitable for our spaces.

6. We have created our own spaces in the collaborative space.

7. We have learned how to join collaborative spaces.

8. We have learned how to add wikis and pages to our wiki.

9. Also we have learned how to up load pictures to the ultranet.

10. We have learned to be very persistent.