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PDinPJs.jpgWe have been broadening our uses of our video conferencing to include more varied purposes in recent months. We have been using HD video conferencing for many years and have a range of popular video conferences that are enhancing students' learning experiences in school but we have been expanding our uses of video conferences using web based video conferencing open opportunities such as to provide staff with PD in out of hours times from home.

We have been running a three week ‘PD in your PJs’ course for staff; something we have done as a one off before, but this term it is running as an ongoing series. We have been running sessions via Microsoft Lync on Office Mix (new software allowing students to add videos, audio and screen recordings to make their PowerPoints into interactive tutorials); Weebly – to make your own websites; and also great Apps from the Windows 8 store that teachers and students can use to create resources or Apps for reference.

Staff have found that the out of school hours’ time works as it does not need to be squeezed into their busy days at school. The Lync software has been easy to use and can work on any device, from anywhere, as you have an internet connection. It also has features that work for teachers such as the ability to share your screen and do a live demonstration while you talk and also to share a whiteboard that you can annotate with your stylus pen.

We have also been using web based video conferencing for Department meetings to allow for easier communication between staff and saving staff on the other campus from having to walk between the two sites.
Staff are always interested in something that saves them time and Lync and web based video conferencing for meetings and PD have proven to have great benefits at our school.

Mrs Naomi Manning
Senior School IT Integrator

GCSG_gallery_resaturateR.jpgThe Grace Cossington Smith Gallery extended its audience out to Hale School in Western Australia this morning. Two Year 10 classes came to visit the reSATURATEryb exhibition via video conferencing. This is a new experience for the gallery to be providing content via video conferencing to external locations.

The classes walked through the three main exhibition spaces in the gallery via video conferencing. Space corresponded to the ­Modernist or Bauhaus division of colour into primaries: red, yellow and blue. The boys asked Mary Faith, the gallery Director, various questions and were particularly interested in the fact that the gallery walls had been painted to work with the exhibition. The boys also looked at the relationship between coloured objects and coloured spaces with the Director.  They were also lucky enough to talk to Lisa Jones, one of the artists, who spoke to them for a few minutes about her work, The Blue Line.

Mrs Naomi Manning
Senior School IT Integrator

 
 
LeeRichardsonZooR.jpgYear 9 Science had a wonderful experience with scientist Whitney Buchman, from the Lee Richardon Zoo in Kansas. The girls are studying endangered species as part of their topic Global Issues and Whitney discussed some these and even brought them into the studio from the zoo to show the girls. He spoke to the girls, answered their questions, used a green screen to show them diagrams and videos and, most successfully, he picked up live animals from his zoo and showed them as they were discussed.

The chinchilla, which lives in the Andes mountains of South America, was a particular favourite as he had a little one in his studio. He discussed the dangers of poaching and the girls were stunned to hear that one fur coat is made of more than 300 chinchillas. The black-footed ferret, North America’s most endangered animal, was also popular and the girls discussed reasons for it becoming endangered such as habitat loss, disease and hunting, while looking at some of the ferrets at the zoo. He also used a green screen to look at maps, such as one of the fragmented habitat of the endangered orangutan of Indonesia. The armadillo was also fascinating and the girls had a lot of questions that they were able to ask while looking at it running around and being held by Whitney.

Overall the girls were thrilled to see these unfamiliar animals that they may not be able to see at home and hear from an expert who could provide extra insight into the global issues they are studying in class.

Mrs Naomi Manning
Senior School IT Integrator

20140820_084101.jpgLast week saw an exciting event for the new Abbotsleigh Art Gallery – the Grace Cossington Smith Gallery - as we delivered a session to the Junior School via video conferencing. Mary Faith, the Director of the Gallery and an experienced Art teacher, ran a session with 6D on the HSC exhibition that started on the 19th August. Mary walked around the Gallery and talked about the exhibition, via video conferencing. She also had two guest appearances from Year 12 students who discussed their art with the Year 6 girls. Year 6 students were fascinated to talk to the artists and asked them questions, both about their techniques and inspiration but also about their studies and experience as a student. Video conferencing allowed them to view the artworks in detail, stroll through the gallery to get a feel for the exhibition, as well as talk to the Director of the Gallery and have a discussion about what they could see.

It was a wonderful experience for the Junior School girls to be connected to the Gallery and artists from their normal classroom and the beginning of an exciting journey for the Art Gallery as a Content Provider.

Mrs Naomi Manning
Senior School IT Integrator
speakers_bureauR2.jpgVideo conferencing has been used by students and teachers at Abbotsleigh to set up global connections and ongoing relationships that add invaluable insights for students. One such relationship is an ongoing connection we have had for the past few years with holocaust survivors from the NY Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center. 

Last week Year 10 classes talked to Mordechai Miller and an educator at the Museum who provided the class with such a unique insight into the Holocaust. The girls were incredibly moved by his story and appreciative of his generosity in sharing it. They wrote to him and outlined how the video conference had made a difference to their studies of the Holocaust and their understanding of the world.

Here are some comments from students:

Your story of recounting the years you spent in hiding in the ghetto and running was so moving for me. I cannot believe how lucky you were when that bullet nearly hit you but instead hit your suitcase! I enjoyed the video conference so much and admire greatly your obligation to retell your story on behalf of your mother.

Thank you for talking to our class about your personal Holocaust experience. We have been truly privileged to listen to you. Your story was very interesting and helped me understand more about the Holocaust for history.

Thank you so much Mr Miller! We appreciate the time you have taken to tell us your courageous story. It is really interesting to hear it from a survivor. You story taught us a lot and helped us with our understanding of the Holocaust. We know you have gone through a lot – thank you again.

Thank you for sharing your story. I can’t imagine what life would have been like. I hope that the events like World War II stay in the past and never happen again.

Mrs Naomi Manning
Senior School IT Integrator