Last year I worked in a small rural primary school teaching grade 5/6 on a Monday. Tasmania is very much an isolated place and unfortunately very backward in so many ways. Being in a rural school these students were even more isolated and unaware of so much that goes on in the country and world around them. On the last day that I taught this class for the year I decided to get out of my comfort zone and introduce a global connection to the classroom.
Mystery Skype provided the perfect opportunity for me and my class to dip our toes into global collaboration and connectedness. I thoroughly enjoyed the lesson and so did the students, the previous week I had done a lesson to prepare us for the session. Students were assigned roles after we went through some links provided for other teachers for ideas and the types of roles that were needed. This preparation was needed and allowed the day to flow much better, everyone was excited and ready to participate in the session. Not everything flowed super smoothly, but for a first effort it was brilliant, it was student lead and run, I really enjoyed the part of letting them run with it.
Student led learning that was globally connected and involved students in active learning. YES!! What an experience for these students, hopefully I provided them with an opportunity that was valuable and engaging to them. The class worked better together as the session went along. The focus became the other class and how we were going with learning their location, not what was happening in our classroom or with fellow students. After the session a student discussion took place about how things could have been done better and what we learnt from the process as well.
I thoroughly enjoyed this also, my class stepped up to their roles, typical class problems disappeared into the background and a fun engaging participatory learning space emerged. I WISH I HADS USED THIS EARLIER AND MORE OFTEN. I was reluctant to use this tool for some reason, yet it was perfect for what I was seeking to do with the class. I can only imagine the learning that could have taken place if I had used this tool weekly over a whole term. I got in my own way and prevented something good from happening. Challenge yourself to do better, DARE to try something new or different. That is my motto moving forward, to not hold back, give things a go, not be afraid of failure or disappointment, I might just miss something good along the way.