On Friday I stepped outside of my comfort zone. My Year 11 General Maths class agreed to a “video conference” with a Year 11 class at McGuire College, Shepparton and their teacher Adrian Camm.
I was nervous using new technology and had some trouble initiating the Polycom dual screen. The students were good though, waiting patiently. When the screens came to life though, we were suddenly seeing students from Shepparton. Most of my students were suddenly sitting forward in their chairs, eager to interact with their peers.
We started the “conference” with some introductions. A couple of students dribbled in late. Suddenly a student (Suzan) from Mooroopna suddenly recognised a student from McGuire (Angelo) and some waving ensued.
Having broken the ice, we set the students to work trying to solve a cryptogram. This was sourced from Printable Cryptagrams. We set a time limit of ten minutes and used online-stopwatch to monitor this.
Chantelle and Sonia from Mooroopna were the first students to solve this correctly. Well done girls! 1 – 0 Mooroopna. As we repeated this method with other Mathematics problems, we had some intruders (teachers) wander in to each room to see what was going on. We had John and Susanne from McGuire, and then Leonie from Mooroopna.
Adrian and I intended only “friendly competition” between our classes. McGuire responded to the challenge and won easily but my students didn’t seem too disappointed. They said that they enjoyed the experience (it was fun Mr.T) and would like to do it again in term 4!
As with the use of all new technology, teachers and students need to experiment before they find what works and is a worthwhile addition to their teaching and learning. I will debrief with Adrian before we plan our next session. With further use I am sure we will become more confident using the Polycom V.C. technology and see new possibilities for its use.