I have noticed the children using the iPads during their free inquiry time as tools for creativity, scaffolding spoken English skills and developing new uses for the iPad. Whilst the children have had teacher directed time to explore these apps these examples are child initiated.
Creativity, Ruby and Naoimh drew on their experiences from ELC, where they used Auroflux to make music for mermaids. The girls have created many wire sculptures and wanted to enhance the aesthetic appeal of their pieces by adding music.
Drawing on connections, Suwon made pictures using drawing pad and decided to share the images with out Twitter buddy class in Indonesia. This was one of the first times the children had spontaneously chosen to communicate with the other class.
A safe place to explore language, Jiwon, Shoma and Suwon took the iPad to a quiet corner and made a puppet Pal show. They choose to record the show in English. Puppet pals gave them a safe environment for practicing spoken English and the ability to hear their voices. They reflected on the recording, noted changes to be made, and delighted in hearing their voices.
Mirroring ideas, The children worked out that more than 1 iPad at a time can mirror onto the projector. Ray and Ruby combined their creative activities. Ray manipulated his 3D dinosaur and Ruby composed music for it.
As members of an international school we are mindful of the ever changing dynamics of our class; some children leave and others arrive. These transitions are filled with conflicting emotional states. People are sorry to leave and excited with the anticipation of new adventures, or returning to extended family. We feel the lose of a friend and are delighted by alternative perspectives brought to us by new member of the class.
Throughout these transitions technology remains a constant. New children and their families are invited to visit the class blog and share in the year long learning journey of the class. Children who leave can carry on these conversations with their old friends. Twitter acts as a message service between children.
Frederique sent us messages when she left the class to return to Holland. She shared pictures of her holiday in Bali through Tweet pics. The children verbalised their sense of lose and also an appreciation of continued share experiences.
Frederique sent a picture of herself carrying on Writer’s workshop by herself at the pool. The children noted, “We wish we could be on a field trip there with you.” Frederique replied, “I wish I could be at school with you.”
Technology forges links between the old and the new. It helps us make transitions at our own pace. It is some what like a stitch we receive when we hurt ourselves. It helps us mend and change. When we are mended it dissolves and we are left repaired and new.
What connections will young children choose to make virtually?
This is the question Ben (KinderPris’s teacher) and I are exploring over the course of the academic year 2012-13. We hope this voice-thread will help children explore common interests. We made mind maps as a tool for formulating ideas that could be shared with others. This is another way of making children’s thinking visible.
Thinking, sharing, connecting. on PhotoPeach Our Voice Thread.
The key concept I observed was connection. The building of relationships, the establishment of systems and a growing interdependence between the classes. These connections were being build by the children, for the children. As with all good collaborations it was loud, messy, spontaneous and chaotic. But deeper connections were forged.
Dance skype 2
As Ruby says, “We are dancing all over the world with skype.” “I know… I know… I do it!” Said Su Won and started Skype. The children were greeted by KinderPris who were excited to hear this weeks dance skype selection. The children soon ascertained Ben had placed a link on Twitter and we were soon watching and moving to the video below.
Next it was KP’s turn. Feng, Frederique and Jiwon held the camera, interestingly Jiwon moved the camera to create video affects. Feng transitioned us to the next song, set up on the desk top.
The children have started to pick up names and Feng could be heard shouting, “Quinn…Quinn… where are you Quinn?” Frederique wondered if KinderPris is a home because Quinn says “dad”. Quinn was able to explain that Ben is his dad and teacher. This was a connection Frederique could link to as her mum is a teacher.
Amongst the increasing number of faces at the screen, laughing and the continuation of dance moves after the music had stopped, another member of KinderPris decided to show the instagram app. KP could see their own pictures. The connection formed. Up jumped a member of Kinder Pris with the iPad and off he went outside and took photographs that came straight onto our instagram feed. Ruby responded by running out onto the playground and taking a picture and added affects to it! There was a burst of conversation as the children asked about their school environments.
KinderPris held up beautiful colorful banners they had created and later that day Frederique made another connection as she made a digital picture to share with Kinder Pris. Su Won got out the iPad and started to Skype KinderPris. We decided to send the picture via twitter. The children have started connect themselves with the aid of technology.
The class reflected on this session, I was surprised that children who had seemed reticent stated that they loved the dancing and wanted to do it again. They had also made a connection. This shared action had made them part of this evolving child based community.
Sharing through music seems very important to the children, I see this continuing. I was happy to pursue the initial passion that came thorough Gangnam style. Whilst I understand the compelling nature of the song I am not comfortable with the lyrics and have made other suggestions which the children love. We listen rather than watch video’s. The children sometimes want to jump to a new song or link, but they know I like to watch it first.I model a simple but affective way of accessing content. We have an understanding that if there is something that makes us feel uncomfortable we move away from it and fetch an adult to look at it.
Using instagram in real time was a huge “aha” moment for the children and I could tell they “got” the connection this gave them. With the ability to tweet pictures I see the forging of genuine child generated communications.
Skype, it only took four weeks for one child to pick up the iPad and try and connect to KinderPris spontaneously to share pictures. I had thought this may happen over time but not so soon. We all need to discuss how this will work for our new learning community.
This was our third skype session with KinderPris. The first session was a teacher directed meet and greet followed by a child directed element where children shared their patterns. Session two was a small group skype session where Shoma shared a book in Japanese and the other children chatted and shared books. At the end of session two, the children from KinderPris wanted to share a dance, ‘Gangnam style’. KP knew about this song from an assembly and listening to it at home. They were fired with enthusiasm, a genuine child initiated connection had been made. The children started to shout out, “We want to… went want dance skype next time.”
Session three was a roaring success as we saw the children take increasing control of the skype session. KP shared Mama Mia and then both classes danced to Gangnam style. As Ben prepared another song, the children took the iPad and started spontaneous interactions with each other. We watched KinderPris dance and then the children insisted on dancing to Gangnam style once again. Every child in the class was up and dancing.
Frederique suggested book/dance skype as a possibility for session four. This would mean sharing a book and then dancing. Everyone thought about this and decided to have another dance skype session. Frederique couldn’t stop smiling, she said this is what she really wanted to!
Ben and I see this year long collaboration as an opportunity to consider carefully the relationships young children could form using technology. We will keep you posted. Please could you tell us if your children talk about this collaboration at home.
KP’s dance skype video. We wanted to draw on this spontaneous and child-directed moment, but will be creating a musical menu by children and teachers, where we can access content, lyrics. More on this in another post.
KinderPris tweeted the children to ask us what we were learning at school. The children responded to the tweet and then pondered this question further. How could they share their learning with KinderPris if they were in Borneo?
The children engaged in a dialogue with KinderPris regarding the possibility of Skyping each other. KP had tried to set up their own Skype account and had asked Kinderpris for help with this process.
After working out how to make a Skype account, working out time differences, deciding which computers to us and debating how to conduct a Skype conversation we were finally ready to share our work!
The children decided to start this encounter on the desk top computer and then move to the iPad. Julie offered to be our ambassador. This entailed Julie being the first to say hello. The children had spent time discussing how to communicate via Skype. In affect the children created a Skype protocol.
At the recent learning2. conference I attended a group of educators came together for a pre-conference session. The group I joined discussed, how do to help teachers/adults with issues regarding anxiety and frustration with technology. Each group made a video ( I was in a very talented group). I have included it here to show the children that everyone is learning and everyone gets frustrated with something! I think it may make a few adults smile to!
What adults do
So this made me wonder what would happen if I put the children in a situation where they would face technology frustration. The children wanted to skype kinderpris, who already had a skype account. Some of the children brought preexisting information to the situation and set about making skype work, but they they didn’t know how to set up an account.
Watch how they work together, experiment, explore, respect each other, use humour and most all watch their perseverance.
A group of children were engaged in self-initiated dramatic play. The children have been working out their group dynamics by engaging in ‘family play’. Roles are negotiated and different roles are tried out.
I heard singing from the loft area. It seems one of the family activities was making a family blog! What better than to deliver the suggestion through song!
I read an article that said the number of children who attend a child’s birthday party should match their age i.e. five years old should have five people at their party. This maximizes successful interactions for all children. I have taken this stance as we develop online connections.
KP interact with three classes on a regular basis. KinderPris in Borneo are the equivalent of the children’s best friend. Kingfisher class in Brighton England act as older siblings. AGSKinder on Vancouver Island in Canada are new friends. We also follow KC so we can shareideas with friends next door. The children also look at Kinderkids blog and tweets, this class are in Alaska, America.
Meaningful links have been forged that directly and indirectly help us cover curriculum content and explore new skills. Kingfisher class and KP were discussing what they were doing at school via Twitter. We sent electronic samples of patterns. Kingfisher class sent us some mind maps via snail mail. The children were delighted to receive this package. They poured over each example and announced that they would make mind maps for Kingfisher class.
Some children worked alone and others in a group. The quality of their mind maps were very high. This is because they had an authentic reason to use mind maps and wanted to share information with others.
The joy of sharing, the joy of learning.
Twitter to snail mail.
Here are photographs from the field trip, just because we can’t be in the same physical space as other sometimes doesn’t mean we can’t experience an event. Even though I was in Beijing I could share this experience with the children. Thank you Ms Yuri for making this possible.
Sweet potato digging on PhotoPeach By Ms Yuri