Last Tuesday I ran a session at Limmud conference on E-tools for education and community building at Limmud Conference UK.

As promised I am including links to all the resources discussed here, this post also gives me a chance to thank all the people who helped me put the session together.

You can watch the session replayed via Flashmeeting here http://flashmeeting.e2bn.net/fm/fmm.php?pwd=6091f7-11930&jt=00:19:52
It’s all taken via a laptop webcam so no great quality but if you listen with headphones you should be able to hear the audio fine and I will link to the presentation below.

During the presentation I explained 4 main tools, Flashmeeting, Twitter, Voicethread and Google Apps as well as passing references to Wallwisher and blogging via posterous.

You can see the voicethread I created below or via this direct link

Thanks to the following people who participated, many of whom have excellent blogs and websites that are linked to via their twitter profiles.

Allanah King @allanahk
Drew Thomson @mrthomson
Peter Eckstein @redmenace56
Mark Carls @mcarls
Judy Mckenzie @judykmck
Chris @infernaldepart who also linked to his blog post on using twitter here

Thanks to the 5 Flashmeeting contributors including the following who left their twitter names.
Caren @jlearn20
Peter @redmenace56
Adena @PELIE_org

For those that don’t know Flashmeeting it’s a great and really simple tool for online meetings and discussion, I usually use the E2BN server at www.flashmeeting.e2bn.net which is free for UK Educators, an alternative is the Open University Open Learn server which seems to be open to all as long as you are happy for your meeting to be syndicated.

A couple of online participants mentioned the open Google Document “Useful Web 2.0 Tools for Jewish Educators and Staff Developers” – it is a a quickly growing and already large resource listing so many great web tools but also with links to tutorials and examples of each tool being used in education, a great resource for anyone in education.

Another list is one I compiled last year for a similar presentation where I asked people to submit their favourite tool via a Google Form, you can see the results at this link.

And an example use of wallwisher to compile yet more tools is here

Finally a link to my presentation from the session here also embedded below – it’s not a standalone presentation but maybe if you watch it alongside the flashmeeting linked to above it will make sense!

Back in January when the UK shut down for a week because of snow schools leaders suddenly realised that VLEs and e-learning could be a solution to closed schools. Maybe the promise of virtual classrooms and 24 hour learning could actually keep school children learning when schools were closed.

With this in mind, alongside the prospect of further school closures, I started an open Google Document allowing teachers to share websites and ideas useful for student self learning. These aren’t necessarily alternatives to the classroom but links to share with a class when an unplanned closure hits.

I apologise it’s taken so long to share all the links. I was reminded of this long forgotten document by the snow outside my window and the UK school closures again this December.

You can view the ideas and links here
https://docs.google.com/View?id=dhnhtkkp_179chpjhjfh

Thanks to all who contributed, there are a list of names at the bottom of the document but there were many other contributors who contributed anonymously.

If anyone would like to contribute further links and ideas please message via twitter or leave a comment and I will send you the link to the document.

As well as the document I experimented teaching two 6th form classes online during the school closure. I’ll blog about this experience another time.

Each year for the last 4 years I’ve taught surveys and databases to my year 7 class.We used to start off by creating a spreadsheet with columns for name, age, favourite food and send all the students wandering around the classrooms to collect details from their friends.Next we went on to make a survey on paper, create a hypothesis, hand the surveys to friends to fill in, collect and type up results into a spreadsheet and then create graphs and a presentation about what they found out…It was a pretty good series of lessons that students enjoyed; but this year we kicked things up a notch with a bit of techology. Here’s how:

  1. We ditched the paper surveys for online surveys using Google Docs. Students created their surveys using the forms part of Google Docs. (We use the free Google Apps Education Edition via our own domain).
  2. Students posted the links to their surveys on a forum on our VLE. This was one of the trickier parts as most students hadn’t done this before. They could then complete their friends’ surveys. It also gave us an opportunity to discuss what makes a good or bad question or survey.
  3. Students analysed results – some downloaded their Google Spreadsheet to Excel while others did them on online. They all had to create a graph from their data.
  4. Students created a presentation to show their findings – most did this using Powerpoint though some used Google Presentations. All presentations had embedded graphs.
  5. Students uploaded their presentation to a Moodle Database and then had to view and comment on their friends’ presentations.

Students seemed to enjoy the work and interacting with their friends. Some parts had a steep learning curve but for most students it was the first time they had done anything like this before.  From a teacher’s point of view it was hard work and for a less able class I would certainly break the tasks up into smaller tasks but if you like the sound of it give it a go and let me know how it goes.