Flat Connections Global Project

IMG_1311 ‘A week in the life.’

The intent of the NZ Curriculum vision (NZC 2007 p.8) is to enable connected learners who can support the well-being of New Zealand, can relate to others, participate and contribute to the world around them. This year Newmarket School students joined the Flat Connections Global project, ‘A week in the Life’. Learners are actively engaged in digital collaborative activities with 143 students and 13 teachers from 6 different countries.

This project helps Newmarket School students enact the NZ Curriculum  vision by enabling global connections in ways that prepare young learners for their future. Students learn to question, investigate and act as global citizens using digital technologies and online learning environments – learning with and from students all over the world.

The students use SOLO Taxonomy as a model to to design the process of their own learning and to inquire into the impact of their actions as citizens on their communities and beyond. The digital literacies required to usefully and purposefully navigate the environment are a strong learning focus in the project.  The information sharing, the creation process and the learning  discussion is made visible to all with students using digital tools like Edmodo, Hapara, Google Apps, Popplet and Voice Thread and others.

Hyperconnect using elluminate

Using elluminate http://www.elluminate.com

Be aware of time difference <a href="http://www.timeanddate.com/

I had the most interesting experience on the weekend. @CliveSir on twitter called for people who could help answer some elluminate questions. I put my hand up and before I knew it I was asked to be a moderator for http://reformsymposium.com/

I was co-moderator for @krivett1 as she presented ‘Literacy in the Digital Age’. @mrsdkrebs was the main moderator and I learnt from watching her.

I had been a participant several times during elluminate sessions but when the message came via twitter for helpers for rncons3, I agreed to help to see what it would be like and to find out more about the global free conference. Now the conference itself would be another whole blog. This time I just want to focus on the tool because it was one of my personal goals this year to find out more about elluminate.

Some of the things I learnt about elluminate was:

How do I set up a poll? I still have to work on that.

2x Elluminate windows should not be open- so look at the bottom of the screen. This causes echoing. As a moderator- sign on early and set up your profile so that participants can learn more about you. Add a picture. Communicating on line requires a personal touch.

Always have a map for participants available as it is interesting to see where everyone comes from. It took me a while to figure out how to add a map. One neat idea was having little smiley faces that people could plot onto the map. Get the participants to test that you can be heard. Use the smile to indicate whether you can hear the presenter. Then have participants use chat to inform what the time is, and what the weather is like.

Have a video start to introduce yourself and then switch it off to save bandwidth.

As a mediator, I noticed that more tools show up. I have set up my own room and here is the link. Unfortunately you can have a look and if I am not there nothing will be happening.


When you sign on as a participant to an Elluminate session use your twitter name like @vanschaijik. That little gem took me a while to figure out.

When presenting- get the audience to add a smiley, or a hand clap to give a sign of participation. The chat can be quite distracting so if you are presenting focus on sharing. The mediator will be interacting with the participants for you.

Use images and simple phrases- do not use lines of text. Because the audience is hearing only a voice, reading the screen- becomes death by powerpoint. Think of how Lessig presents. Single words and images. I am going to have to redo some presentations. The computer screen can be shared if you want to have a look at some websites, but again band width can be an issue. So upload your presentation to the system and try and have links available on a word document to copy and paste into chat. You can copy and paste URLs onto a working sheet. Hyperlinks and animations do not work.

Remember to thank the moderators after the event.

Get on early and test everything before participants arrive and do not leave. When you exit the room you loose all your slides and have to start again. Room settings cannot be saved.

I have been involved in a few elluminate sessions but tonights by @shellterrell was one of the best. She obviously had presented via Elluminate several times and I learnt heaps from just listening. She spoke about setting 30 goals.

If you want to read about other moderators experiences with elluminate then have a look at Jo Harts blog. http://johart1.edublogs.org/2011/07/17/reform-symposium-presenter-training-overview/

She writes about some of the challenges that can be encountered when being a moderator.

#RSCON3 set up a google doc and had presenters ask questions and Chiew @aClilToClimb proved to be a mine of information. Here is the list of questions and answers that were helpful. https://docs.google.com/document/d/11ysUifJoANnf1ELq9UeFPeEZ6QYJM3XHoNpcTEpoKeo/edit?hl=en_GB&pli=1

Chiew took the questions and answers and created this self help document. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1hREOuQBdusNamC0_pR2vq_TpUNL7_KSbDGWeUKM4bos/edit?hl=en_US&pli=1

Finally if you want to have a play and create your own space. Then here is the link to create your room with 3 participants and no recording facilities. You can pay for the upgraded version and more participants. http://www.learncentral.org/