Today Mrs. Kelly Hocking’s Kindergarten students had so much fun Skyping with Shannon Miller’s Kindergarten and 1st Grade students in Van Meter, IA. Shannon’s students are planning to embark on a similar project as Kelly’s students by making their own stories in Tux Paint and recording them with a screencasting tool. The purpose of today’s Skype session was for Shannon’s students to ask Kelly’s students about what they did.
When we connected, Shannon’s students applauded Kelly’s students’ great work on their stories. Then she guided them in asking questions about the process. They asked questions like:
- How did you decide what to write about?
- How did you work together?
- How did you learn to use Tux Paint?
- What screencasting tool did you use?
- How long did your story have to be?
- and more
Each time a question was asked, Mrs. Kelly called on a student to answer, and sometimes she answered the question or added additional insight. We had a computer ready with Tux Paint in case we needed it to show something. The students also had their planning paper, which they showed to answer one of the questions. I had a USB webcam plugged in so that I could move the camera closer to students as they talked. Although, my camera skills weren’t great, I think the kids enjoyed seeing themselves closeup on the screen.
Now, Shannon’s K and 1st grade students plan to use Tux Paint to make their own stories and use a new screencasting tool to record them. We ended our time by agreeing to come back together to Skype and share our work with one another before the end of the year.
Shannon, Kelly, and I could have all easily just done the teaching of Tux Paint on our own, but giving the students this ownership of the project and sharing of expertise between schools means so much more. I think that they now look at themselves as experts with knowledge to share. Not only do they have the knowledge, they have the support that it is ok to take a leadership role in the classroom and teach alongside the adult teacher. They also know that they have an authentic audience that their work immediately impacts. I hope that this idea blossoms into other opportunities for students to demonstrate their knowledge and become leaders in technology and learning for our school and beyond.