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SlimeyTrans2_double.jpgDuring Science Week, our Transition girls (4-5 year olds) engaged in a video conference to learn all about slime. In the virtual excursion we connected with Ben Newcombe from Fizzics Education who talked to the girls about slime properties, the process involved with making slime and things you can do with it.

One of the wonderful things about doing a video conference with a provider like Fizzics Education is that they ensure that the excursions are interactive. We were asked to bring in materials so that the students could do the experiments while Ben talked the girls through it.

Students used the following materials:
  • Cornflour
  • Water
  • Food colouring
  • Cups and spoons

Ben asked for a few students to volunteer and had the girls engaged in making four different slimes in 30 minutes. Suffice it to say the girls had a wonderfully 'slimey' time!

Mrs Shireen Winrow
Junior School ICT Integrator

VidConSkype.jpgToday class 5L engaged in a mystery Skype learning game. This game allows students to connect with other classrooms anywhere in the world, without knowing the location. Mystery Skype is a step for schools to become more globally connected.

So how did we play? As this was our first time, we sent out a request on Twitter to Australian schools to see who may be interested in connecting with us, and we kept it a secret from our students. Students generated questions to try and determine where the school may be located around the world. From these questions the girls had to research the mystery school's location using google maps. Questions needed to be ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and included things such as, ‘Is there a train station running close to your school?’

Students had to draw upon prior knowledge, geography, research and problem solving skills to locate the school. They created mind maps, researched in google maps and looked and listed carefully for clues. During this experience, the girls learned team work and how important communication and collaboration is to reach a team goal.

The aim of this experience was to discover the name and location of the mystery school. Unfortunately, we didn't win this time, but the girls reflected and listed what they could do to improve for the next mystery Skype call. After the experience the students reflected on their own learning and said that while it was ‘intense’ and ‘challenging’, they thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Where in the world will we connect to next?

Miss Rebecca Burgmann, Year 5 Classroom Teacher
Mrs Shireen Winrow, Junior School ICT Integrator
20150918_113355R.jpgWe live in a world that is growing smaller every day. Digital connectivity means that we can reach out to people geographically close by and far away, connecting our students to experts and facilities that may not always be present within our immediate educational environments. The video conferencing facilities at Abbotsleigh give our staff and students the ability to do just that; connect with experts!

In Term 3 our senior physics students planned, performed and analysed an investigation with radioactive materials testing for the penetrating ability. Two physics teachers partnered with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) to provide the girls with a rich learning opportunity. One teacher, Alison Fell, commented that students valued learning about ‘techniques used to protect the ANSTO employees from excessive radiation’. They reported that ‘the conference was interactive, with a continuous dialogue between the scientists and students’. ANSTO had received the experiment procedures designed by the students and had the appropriate equipment ready for the girls to use. ‘This gave the girls a confidence boost about their ability to plan a controlled experiment.’

Learning environments that include industry experts allow the students to ‘relate to real-life scientists and professionals’, says teacher Sujatha Mehta. ‘The girls enjoyed being in control of an experiment that they had designed. The exchange of questions and answers made the whole experience very interesting and engaging.’

Mr Laurens Derks
Senior School IC Integrator

showcase1R.jpgAbbotsleigh had a really exciting staff PD this week. You might think staff PD is not exciting … maybe it often isn’t if there is just speaking up the front but this was different - hands on and showcasing exciting projects and staff loved it.

Around the gym was a range of staff showcasing their in-class projects involving everything from digital art, augmented reality, a maker space, projects involving 3D printing, Office Mix projects and Weebly site creation by kids. There were also live video conferences from both teachers and content providers, both from Sydney and internationally.

We used Microsoft Lync to bring a couple of MIE 2015 teachers doing cutting edge projects with students in the classroom in to talk to our teachers. Ormiston College in Brisbane talked about the project Abbotsleigh and other schools have worked on where they used Office Mix tutorials to teach another class and then an Office 365 OneNote was used for collaboration and feedback between the classes while they worked together. Sacred Heart College in Tasmania talked to our teachers about how she is using OneNote to work more effectively in the classroom.

We also brought in Marty the Medieval Crusader from the Sheffield Museum in Canada, and the Museum of Human Disease at the UNSW, who had a number of specimens to discuss as well as a raft of options for staff to connect their classes with the museum and its expert staff.

The conversations between these remote educators and the staff in the gym were really exciting to watch. Many staff had never seen video conferencing working live at school and could see all the possibilities for expanding learning beyond the classroom walls and expanding staff connections beyond your colleagues at school.

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