Monday, November 12, 2012

Kids to Kids: Ideas for a Better World: Reflections

Post Update 11/15
On Thursday, November 15 at 10am EST Team 15 fourth graders presented Kids Talking to Kids: Ideas for a Better World.

Thanks to the multi-day, free online Global Education Conference organized by Steve Hargadon and Lucy Gray, my fourth grade students had the opportunity to plan and present an online presentation to people near and far using Blackboard, an online classroom platform.

After several days of conferring, writing and creating, the presentation was ready to go. The night before the presentation we tested our slide show (which had to be reduced) and learned Blackboard features. The next day we uploaded the slide show, prepped our links, adjusted the microphones and set up the classroom for an optimal presentation.

After that most students in the classroom logged into the Blackboard room, and with the help of our kind and caring moderator, Kim Wilkens, the students started their presentation. It was amazing to see a group of fourth graders navigate the platform, collaborate and present.  It was just as amazing to see the rest of the students participating by commenting on the chat and adding ideas later in the presentation.

Listening and responding to questions from students in Virginia was lots of fun, and made me want to participate in more educational exchanges with students throughout the country and world.  I've read about those exchanges, and last year's students completed a collaborative presentation with a school in Minnesota. Now I'm ready to embark on this type of exchange with greater intent.

I'll definitely make a proposal to present again at the Global Education Conference, and I would highly recommend that other school groups, particularly students in middle school and high school target this conference for a thoughtful exchange and/or focused presentation to a potential world-wide audience. I am grateful to all those who made this learning event possible.

We invite you to continue our presentation conversation by contributing to our "Crowd Share" Ideas for a Better World Presentation. Thanks for your support in this eye-opening, exciting learning experience.

Presentation Trailer

Sue A. Straw gave us permission to use her beautiful song to begin our presentation. 

Apple Inspiration for our Audience

Link to "Crowd Share" Ideas for a Better World Presentation: Please add your ideas:

Presentation Recording

Notes for Next Year

  • During the summer, think about a topic that will interest you and or your class, a topic you want to share with the "world."
  • Research and prep the background information, submit your proposal.
  • If your proposal is accepted, start the conversation with students and colleagues early the school year, and make the conference the objective of professional study and/or student work.
  • Let student and/or professional teams prepare the presentation.
  • Learn all you can about the Global Education Conference and begin to connect with others through the Conference NING, Twitter and other social media platforms.
  • Prep the presentation and read all of the presenters' information carefully.  Try out the presentation.  Make sure you have head sets, good computer access and help.  One teacher in the room is not enough.  I was lucky to have the student teacher available.
  • Don't fret--try it out, be prepared for mistakes, and learn. (I whispered too much in the background, and we could have practiced a bit more. I also didn't teach the other students about the platform and they would have been able to participate better with a little more training)
  • Advertise your presentation via tweets, blogs, word of mouth and more venues.  Making a short movie trailer about your presentation can be helpful.
  • Teach your audience how to take part in the presentation (see notes below).
  • Present.
  • Thank all those that helped you.  The tech specialist in my building, Beth Crozier, was terrific as she supplied us with the equipment we needed, lots of support and interest--that helped.
  • Review the presentation, reflect and make notes for next year.
  • Celebrate with the students. I plan to have every child write a short reflection about the event and add the Global Education Conference badge to their digital portfolios under the multimedia composition category.

Participation Notes for the Audience
  • Join the Blackboard room about five-ten minutes prior to the start as you may need to adjust your computer a bit. 
  • If you plan to participate by speaking, have headsets ready.  You may be able to speak without headsets, but the quality of voice might not be as good.  You can always participate by typing on the chat.  Students should only share first names when sharing. 
  • Sign on to Blackboard in a way that you want to be represented.  For example, you may want to sign on with your class name.  Our class hopes to sign on as Team 15 HappyHollow.
  • Hook your computer up to a big screen in your classroom.
  • At the start of the presentation, ask all participants to show us where they live by placing a star on the giant map.  
  • Then our presentation leaders will introduce themselves and our school community.
  • After that  introduce the protocol for idea sharing. This was our protocol. 
    • Polite Language
    • First Names Only
    • Stick to the Topic (Mostly)
    • Respect all Points of View
    • No Put Downs