This is unusual. It's 6.45am on the second day of my summer holidays, and I've been up for two hours and awake for longer. Sick children are, I can only imagine, the equivalent of jet lag. I can take no comfort at all that my sleep was marginally better than my young daughters' , who seems to be handling the early rise a lot better :-0
I am not blogging to fill people in on the health status of my family, but I find myself in the strange situation of having some fleeting inspiration while trying to eek a couple of extra minutes out of my sleep this morning. My colleague, Miss Green is moving to pastures new next year and will be teaching in an international school in Spain. I suggested that we try to do some collaborative work between our schools, and felt that there would be different opportunities here than in our Malawi link , primarily because of access to IT facilities. Not being good with bits of paper, I'm blogging some of these ideas so that I don't forget them over the holidays.
1) Could we use twitter? I experimented with a few pupil comments while on the Alps trip and have watched Joe Dale use his twitter account to keep a trip log while in Brittany. I think there is a plethora of potential uses between schools. Posting ideas for collaboration with students 'following' could generate discussion on twitter itself. Although Miss Green's school is an international school, it is also predominantly Spanish children whose parents want them to gain experience in English as a foreign language. I've approached our MFL department about involvement in the link and thought that through twitter there could be daily exchanges in both Spanish (beneficial to our students) and English- Perhaps a translation exercise? If the schools were exchanging information about, say, their school days, the service could be used like a diary. In other instances, it could serve as a bulletin board to keep both schools informed of important events in each others calendars. I'm sure there are more uses which would evolve from initial experiments. I was initally sceptical about twitter- I don't really want to know who is painting their toenails or buying a mars bar, but after some thought, I can see that the scope for a web application such as this is huge. 2) Continue these conversations on flashmeeting? I have had this bookmarked for ages now, without ever having a viable reason to use it. I have watched people such as Ewan McIntosh comment on and use this and like the look of it, particularly as more than two people can participate in a webcam conversation. I also like the fact that the conversations can be recorded and played back. Imagine the scenario where students are swapping ideas in English and Spanish - and afterwards reviewing their grammar in collaboration with two stars and a wish. Even if the conversation is subject specific, for instance in my own subject Geography, just being able to go back and review the contents of the chat would be helpful for completion of link projects. Further to that, you are actually keeping evidence all the time should there be audit of your international education provision. I'm not sure how this would fit in with the International Schools Award, but it certainly couldn't hurt.
I wonder if anyone else has ideas as to how these or other applications could be used to help faciltate school linking? I was going to apologise to any students reading this post for its teachery nature, but then I reminded myself that its the holidays, and I can't imagine I'll be getting many visits (or making many myself) over the next six weeks... ;-)