Last week I wrote the following in our subject forum when thinking about how I might incorporate some learning from experts via Skype:

Forum Post

I found Silvia Tolisano’s blog posts really inspiring. I think I could get easily carried away with the exciting event of a Skype expert visit without developing the learning design around it. Tolisano’s setting of context and the diversity of learning experiences she describes are rich and important. Her students learnt not only from the information their guest shared, but also how to pose questions, conduct themselves in different roles, converse politely with an adult expert, use social media conventions and to document and reflect on their learning. Her statement that “No lesson, no event and no learning should stand alone” is a great mantra that may be used to ensure learning is contextualised and meaningful.

Year 6 students at my school are preparing their final PYP exhibition and as a mentor, it has given me the chance to consider experts who might assist students in their preparation for their presentations. I am hoping to set up two interviews with people relevant to topic areas students are investigating. My challenge at the moment is making the connection happen with busy competing schedules. Fingers crossed it is something I can manage. Having not done this before it is an exciting prospect.

Following this post I have since conducted a Skype interview with one group of students with an athlete and Exercise Physiology university student relevant to their study of technology in sport. We prepared questions, considering ideas that might not be Googleable responses, so the students’ questions illicited answers about personal experience and educated opinion that they would not have found in traditional searches for information. We recorded the interview for students to use to inform their process as well as to potentially use sections for multimedia aspects of their exhibition presentation.

The second expert opportunity has even more exciting promise, with the expert offering to visit next week while in the local community and with the possibility of further interaction with the school to workshop innovative design for people with disability. This is an exciting prospect and I’d have to say these events are really energising for me as a teacher to see the potential for learning that such interactions with connections in the broader community might have for students.

References

Tolisano, S. 2011. Lang witches blog post: Framing a Skype learning experience. Retrieved from langwitches.org/…/framing-a-skype-learning-experience