Our class is beginning a new venture this week. My students will meet and interact with two college students, Jonie and Michael, from the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada. Although we’d love to pack our snowsuits, hats and gloves and travel , all of this will happen online, of course.
Facilitating this exciting project is Dean Shareski, a Digital Learning Consultant, and good friend of mine. He works for the Prairie South Schools in Moose Jaw, SK. As part of this college class he teaches, he has gathered together about 50 educators from around the world to work with and mentor his approximately 30 students. His goal is to give them a chance to experience a classroom where the teacher engages the students with technology. Additionally, these college students have the benefit of virtually traveling around the world to interact with children in truly diverse settings.
The benefit to my students is that they will get to know and learn from Jonie and Michael. It’s not everyday that such young students as mine get the opportunity to learn in a virtual environment. This experience should be something they will remember for a long time.
Our first order of business is to host a video conference with these folks so that my students can have an opportunity to see and speak with them. We will do that in class using video conferencing software provided by our school district. Some other activities “in the works” include having Jonie and Michael comment on our class blog (here), write posts for it (guest bloggers), participate in some lessons and otherwise engage my students based on future lessons and individual needs. Upon hearing that we were studying our constitution, Jonie created this “Glogster” that does a great job of showing some differences between the U.S. and Canadian government. Both Jonie and Michael mention in their videos their coordinates, so that my students can plot their locations on maps (another skill we’ve mastered).
I’m honored to be able to participate as one of these teachers with whom Dean’s students will work. Here are Jonie and Michael: