Friday, January 18, 2013

Distance no probelm

Today while in my library at school I was able to meet with a writer who was in Valencia, Spain and visit a school in Sofia, Bulgaria. Both experiences were made possible by Skype and supplemented through Twitter

Our school is going to hosting a new writer - Ree Gillett - in February for our Love Reading Week. We were chatting about the things she needed me to set up and I was showing her our library and the space she would be working in. It was great to 'meet' Ree after a few weeks of emails trying to make her visit to Istanbul work. She will be bringing her book, Freddy Frog and the lost kite her puppets, some creative thinking strategies to share with our students and teachers and her singing voice. We are so looking forward to her visit. 

Today the third meeting of  LTEN took place at the Anglo-American School of Sofia. LTEN was created by one of my colleagues, Tom Johnson and it stands for  Learning and Technology Exchange Network. This Network is for teachers in schools in and near Istanbul, Turkey. We organise the agenda of the meeting through the wikispace. We try and meet three times a year for a whole day and share ideas, tools and learning strategies. Although I could not be at the meeting in Sofia I did attend for 40 minutes through Skype. A teacher in Sofia hosted me via Skype and an ipad as they were having speedgeek sessions run by the students in the school. I was able to see grade 2 students present about voicethread and grade 5 students about using Google apps in their classroom. Wonderful. When I wasn't able to be on Skype I stayed in touch through the twitter hash tag #LTEN. 

Two different meetings , two different parts of the world and all through Skype. Recently a principal I was speaking to commented that Skype was probably the most under utilised tool in schools today. I agree. Think of who our students could connect to using this free technology. Sometimes it is simply not knowing who to connect with that prevents this technology being utilised effectively. Perhaps we librarians can start to create a wiki or database with possible Skype contacts for student and teachers. Something to ponder....