So I was minding my own business this week, reading through my twitter feed, when I noticed that @kjarrett was needing a little assistance with some kindergarten classes that he’s teaching this week in New Jersey. Kevin was trying to bring some relevant learning experiences to these little learners, all around the idea of life on a farm…exploring virtual farm sites and a bunch of online resources. As most of you know, I’m all about relevant learning and I also work for a public school board, so I’m really familiar with his mission to make the learning experiences around curriculum expectations as authentic as possible (and with a constructivist lens…all the better!) It’s sometimes a challenge, but since I’m not self-employed it’s one that I have to get creative about as well! 🙂
As it turns out, I live very close to a lot of local area farms in and around my section of Ontario and I got the bright idea that I might be able to help him out! So after deciding that Skype might be a little unreliable on the farm, even with my tethered iphone, and that 5:00 am is probably a little too early to ask the kindies to show up at school anyway, I headed out to a dairy farm yesterday to capture some video and talk to some experts on behalf of my twitter friend. Thanks so much to my friend Tanya for making this all possible!
In the meantime, Kevin set up a great way to use Voice Thread to connect us together for some cross-border collaboration!
We decided to start with the questions from the kids, which he will post on Voice Thread. In the meantime, Penny (another volunteer from Alberta) and I can capture video, talk to experts, get kids involved…whatever it takes to help answer those questions. We’ll then send our information to Kevin and he’ll collate it in the Voice Thread. We can then continue the dialogue back and forth in the Voice Thread!
I’ve usually seen this tool used for classes sharing something they’ve already constructed and then awaiting comments from others, but I like this way of using it as part of the inquiry process and the idea of co-constructing it with another group. I’m pretty excited to see this develop and I hope that it helps his students!
Check out the Life on a Farm Voicethread here: http://voicethread.com/share/809450/
I’ve shared some resources on my wiki here: http://tech2learn.wikispaces.com/VoiceThread