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It’s Not About the Tools. It’s About the Skills

Many times, I see eyes glazing over, when I excitedly speak with parents or administrators about blogging, skyping or podcasting with students. Many of them, unfamiliar with the tools, will immediately feel uncomfortable. Some will automatically and immediately steer the conversation back to what they know:

What about learning the basics, like reading, writing, math and science?

I usually try to explain and emphasize, that these skills are precisely what are being taught. We are not podcasting in order to teach Audacity nor Garageband. We are not recording students for the fun of using microphone, we are not blogging, so we can practice typing, we are not skyping for the purpose of using a webcam.

Parents and administrators, unfamiliar with the tools, also seem worried that “important” academic time is being lost and wasted!

In an attempt to explain that there is so much more involved when using technology tools, I blogged a few months ago, We Podcasted Today So, did you learn anything?

It is important that we explain to parents and administrators that we are using the tools to practice the above mentioned basic literacy skills, engage and motivate students, but also address, integrate and embed so many more skills and literacies.

Take a look at the visuals below:

  • Podcasting Skill
  • Video Conferencing Skills
  • Blogging Skills
  • Wiki Skills
  • Digital Storytelling

What are some other technology tools you are using in the classroom? What are the skills and literacies that you are addressing? How can we educate parents and administrators that blogging, podcasting and skyping, etc. are simply a vehicle to preparing students for many skills and literacies, including the 3Rs they are accustomed to and familiar with.

Disclaimer:

All images were created by me with photographs obtained at Stockxchnge. The resulting visuals are available for you to use, remix and build upon under the Creative Commons license. This means, that you are free to copy, embed, print, or distribute the images as long as it is not for commercial purposes and you give credit to me, as the original creator.

Creative Commons License
This work by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

You might want to grab the images with higher resolution from their Flickr Page:

Podcasting Skills

Video Conferencing Skills

Blogging Skills

Wiki Skills

Digital Storytelling Skills

Skyping Teacher of the Week

I am honored to have been chosen the “Skyping Teacher of the Week” by one of our local TV stations, First Coast News

Silvia Tolisano, the school’s 21st Century Learning Specialist started the program ‘Around the World in 80 Schools’ to bring more awareness to students. “We are promoting global awareness and global connections. Yes, today we talked to Peru and it was wonderful and this shows the students there is a world out there.”

K12Online Presentation: Around the World with Skype

Around the World with Skype (English Version)

Alrededor del Mundo con Skype (Spanish Version)
Here are links mentioned in my presentation “Around the World with Skype” (English Version) and “Alrededor del Mundo con Skype” (Spanish Version) and further tips & resources for teacher who are looking to integrate Skype into their classroom.

Skype
http://www.skype.com

Skype connections mentioned:

Here are some great projects, listings and directories to help you find Skype connection partners

Screencapturing & Screencasting Programs:

Backchannel:

Assigned Roles for Students during Skype Calls.

  • Calendar
  • Greeter
  • Share
  • Q&A
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Backchannel Writer
  • Google Maps Placemarks
  • Google Earth Distance
  • Blogger Live
  • Blogger- Word Problems
  • Data Form
  • Time Elapsed

Assigned Roles and their Descriptions

Assigned Roles to Printout

More Skype tips

  • Grand-Friends and Fairytales’ reading hour with elderly people in the community and our Kindergarten classes
  • Make the topic of your skype call an extension of their learning or reinforecement of a concept, rather than an introduction. If the stuents have an existing background knowledge, they can ask much deeper and more involved questions.
  • Know something about the geographic location you are calling. Visit it prior to the call with Google Earht. Compare and contrast the community and location.
  • Devise and activity to practice descriptive language. When two groups of students described themselves over the voice connection and people on the other end had to guess which photograph matched the speaker.
  • Invest in a good USB microphone.
  • Start small and simple. Then start getting more and more connections and you will use it more and more.
    Don’t try to make a big huge project project out of it the first time you use it. Just call us for 5 mins of meet and greet fun ;)
  • There is a learning curve for the kids- the more they conference the better they become at learning how to converse, how to listen, how to think ahead to the next visit.
  • Give each student a world map and each time the class connects with someone, have the students place a dot and name next to where the individual was from to teach geography.
  • It’s definitely a work in progress , but I have seen the positive excitement, energy and learning that can result from using Skype to connect with others.
  • One teacher invited her administrator in for the first Skype call and got immediate support. Inviting parents in to a Skype call also guaranteed their support.
  • If a call doesn’t go well, keep trying.

Possible questions to ask for data collection purposes:

  • What is the weather like? Ask about temperature, seasons, etc
  • What time is it where you are located?
  • What books do you like to read?
  • What music do you like to listen to?
  • What movies are playing in the theatres right now?
  • What are your favorite television shows?
  • What does your flag look like?

Overcoming time zone challenges:

Resources

3 Essential Questions: Around the World with Skype

  1. Please share some of the benefits you have observed with our students as you are making connections around the world with skype.
  2. What are some of the obstacles you have faced AND overcome in connecting your class to a global community via video conference ?
  3. How are you connecting and integrating authentic learning via these global connections to your curriculum?

3 Preguntas :Alrededor del Mundo con Skype

  1. ¿Qué beneficios/ventajas  obtuvieron/has observado en  tus alumnos al hacer  conexiones   alrededor del mundo con Skype?
  2. ¿Cuáles son los obstáculos que has encontrado y/o superado al conectar con una comunidad global vía Skype?
  3. ¿Cómo logras integrar este aprendizaje auténtico en tus planes de estudios/en tus clases?

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Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano for customized workshops, coaching and presentations.
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hook

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SLC

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Slide1

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