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showcase1.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 it 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, which had a number of specimens to discuss as well as a raft of options for staff to connect 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

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