Over the past 18 months I have been lucky enough to build a wonderful personal learning network, mostly through Twitter and blogging.  I couldn’t begin to list the ways it has helped me to further my learning and my teaching.

This year, participating in the PLP Connect U project, I have continued to build a connected network of wonderful educators who inspire me to learn more, teach better and share often. These connections allow me to bring experiences into the classroom I know would not have been possible before, such as the learning we did yesterday.

Our inquiry unit for this term is, ‘How do we design and create furniture for a particular purpose?’ After spending the last few weeks learning about the design and features of different chairs we are now delving into the design process of making our own model chairs.  It soon became evident we needed some skills in woodworking from someone with a greater knowledge than mine.

With perfect timing I happened upon the blog, which the PLP Connect U – Animals and Habitats team were using to share their experience of Project Based Learning. They had made possum boxes at one of their schools and it was obvious they needed some woodworking skills to produce this.  It was time to do some investigating.

After an email to Ben Gallagher, he was able to suggest a student who had worked on the boxes and was happy to do an Elluminate session with us.

So yesterday the kids all crowded around the Interactive Whiteboard to hear Harris’ presentation.  It was amazing! Harris worked through the slide show he had prepared, sharing with us tips for using a hammer, a drill and saws as well as how to choose the correct wood.  He spoke with such confidence and the students were mesmerised by his expertise.  He then answered our questions without hesitation. We did have a few technical hitches where our class didn’t have a microphone but it certainly didn’t matter, especially as we now have the recording.

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As a teacher it was such a powerful experience to watch our expert share his knowledge with the class.  And he wasn’t an expert in the traditional sense but someone who was confident in his knowledge and willing to share it. The students in the class listened attentively and took on board all of his advice. Can teaching and learning be any more authentic?

How have you connected with an expert, classroom or teacher?

Do you have a similar classroom experience to share?

§361 · November 29, 2011 · Uncategorized · (8 comments) · Tags: , , , , ,


8 Comments to “Classroom Connections”

  1. Rob says:

    Great stuff! I love the idea of using tech to bring experts into the classroom.

    We have scientists, engineers, historians, filmmakers, graphic artists and more on our blogging site. You can read an article about it here : http://www.thenorthschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/VE-final-cropped.jpg

    Well done on a great use of ICT in the classroom!

    • Mel Cashen says:

      Hi Rob,

      I am very aware of the great work you do with experts and the ease that your students have access to a wide range of experts is an inspiration to me, so thanks for all of your work. Technology is a great tool for tearing down the fall walls of the classroom as well as so many other things. It is sometimes funny to think back to when I was in primary school and the efforts teachers must have gone to, to find experts. It is wonderful how with a few emails and good connections we can enhance the learning in our classrooms.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Mel

  2. Mr G says:

    Well said Mel, an excellent post. I was so proud watching Harris, what he did was amazing and it has inspired me for some exciting ideas for next year. Stay in touch over the Holidays Mel! Keep up the innovative practice!!

    • Mel Cashen says:

      Hi,

      Thanks. It was great to work with you. I know that it has inspired me to do more also. I look forward doing some more collaborating next year and hearing about the great projects you do. I think it is time for me to get into gaming!

      Mel

  3. [...] for Mel Cashen’s grade at Lightning Reef Primary School in Bendigo (You can read about it here). To see the excitement in this student when he was doing it was very enlightening. Harris always [...]

  4. [...] for Mel Cashen’s grade at Lightning Reef Primary School in Bendigo (You can read about it here). To see the excitement in this student when he was doing it was very enlightening. Harris always [...]

  5. [...] for Mel Cashen’s grade at Lightning Reef Primary School in Bendigo (You can read about it here). To see the excitement in this student when he was doing it was very enlightening. Harris always [...]

  6. [...] You can also read about the presentation that started it all here. [...]

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