Friday, October 25, 2013

Virtual Field Trips - part 1

Today was all about Virtual Field Trips!

Ok, so not all about them. Today was the first real introduction for the 3rd graders as to what they are.

The pre-service teachers in North Carolina created a Google Doc with basic outlines of the various trips.

That document was shared with the 3rd graders in Brooklyn. As a class we talked briefly about each one, the students read each description and then commented on the various trips. In addition to leaving basic comments, they also responded to each other's comments, reinforcing points.

The 3rd graders have used Google Documents in the past, worked collaboratively with each other, but this was the first time they commented on work created outside their class. It was very exciting for them.

Next week we'll be splitting the 3rd graders into groups of 3 to "take" the virtual field trips. After that they'll share their thoughts with the -preservice teachers on North Carolina, providing feedback and impressions.

"Wheels up" next Friday...!

Friday, October 11, 2013

We have a hashtag! #NCNYC

For anyone that is following our project we now have a hashtag!


We will be using this hashtag on all Brooklyn, North Carolina related tweets as we move forward.

Tweets will be coming from the @PS10Tech account as well as from @mr_casal and @jaymelinton, the facilitators of this project (pre-service teachers who tweet might be using the tag too)

Follow along!

Our second meeting

Today was the second meeting between the students and student-teachers. Everyone was very excited!

Today the 3rd graders worked on a Google Document they created last week. The document has become a reflection of the project to this point. Once they are finished with their writing they will be sharing the Google Docs with their pre-service counterparts for feedback, comments, and corrections.

In addition, as with any project, especially technology one, things often take a bit of time to settle down & get the kinks worked out. We did another Google Hangout to get the 3rd graders comfortable and familiar with the format as well as ensure the video stream, projector, and audio were working well...

... unfortunately the AppleTV is still being hinky (I think it's an iOS 7/AppleTV OS 6 issue) so wirelessly streaming to the board isn't possible. The audio isn't great, but we're working on that...

The 3rd graders had fun taking turns trying to guess a number...

"Is it between 1 and 100?"
"Between 100 & 1000?"
"Even or odd?"
"Is it divisible by 3?"
and so on... 
 Very exciting and engaging, at least on the 3rd grade side.

Aside from the obvious fun of engaging with teachers in North Carolina, today was better than last week because I actually remembered to take pictures and tweet!

In the coming weeks we'll be sharing Google Documents, going on Virtual Field trips (VFT), evaluating the VFTs, and collaboratively creating new VFTs.

Going to be fun!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mystery Hangout Introduction

We officially kicked off the Brooklyn, North Carolina project on Friday, October 4th!

At 11:00 am we did a "Mystery Hangout" between the two classes. We've chosen to replace Skype with Google Hangouts for the duration of his project due to it's more robust feature set. The goal is to record sessions, allow multiple students on multiple machines to participate (not just 1 screen 1 caller), share screen content, and so forth. Skype is great, but Hangouts offer the possibility for a far more engaging experience.

That being said, we forgot to record the first Hangout...
... we also forgot to tweet and take pictures. First day jitters I suppose. Actually, more like first day excitement. The 3rd graders were so excited and asking so many questions before we began the thought of recording, tweeting & photographing completely escaped me. On the other side, the pre-service teachers were also so intrigued by the "unknown" the record button was overlooked...

... the the "unknown" was exactly what was happening...

In both Brooklyn and Hickory the students were kept in the dark about the project. Before the Hangout all that was said was "we're calling other people about a project we'll be doing."

The Hangout was a 20-Questions game with each side asking the other 5 questions at a time, trying to figure out who they were, where they were, and exactly what we'd be doing.

It was a great session with lots of excitement on both sides!

This coming Friday we'll be doing another Hangout and getting more in-depth with the project and related materials such as potential blogs and using our hashtag #NCNYC to get the Twitter ball rolling!

The students and student-teachers have officially met. The project is underway.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Welcome to Brooklyn, North Carolina!

Welcome to Brooklyn, North Carolina!

No, there is no zip code and we're not on Google Maps, but the "town" is very much real. This blog is Brooklyn, North Carolina, a collaboration between public school students in Brooklyn, New York and pre-service teachers in Hickory, North Carolina. Together we have created Brooklyn, North Carolina!

A little background...
  • The purpose of this project is to explore possibilities for virtual collaboration between pre-service teachers in NC and elementary students in NYC. We to see if boundaries can be pushed to expose both sides to areas of education they would otherwise not have access to. Students in Brooklyn, NY have access to pre-service teachers from institutions such as NYU & Brooklyn College, local institutions. Pre-service teachers are in local, North Carolina, classrooms. The purpose is to see what can happen if both sides are taken out of these local “comfort zones” and have the opportunity to work with and learn from people hundreds of miles away.
  • The objective is to give each side exposure to different instructional and learning environments. In addition, the limits of technology are to be tested. It is very easy to use a MOOC or a Blackboard learning environment; the question is, can distance learning happen, authentically and effectively, between elementary school students and pre-service teachers, across state lines, via Google Hangouts, blogs, and hashtags.

This is our journey, these are our stories...

Brooklyn, North Carolina!