Wednesday, November 7, 2012

#KidsEdChatNZ: articulate, engaging...and connected!

Today marked the first #kidsedchatnz - a concept born from a EdChatNZ conversation on Twitter.  

I personally (or should I say professionally) love being involved in twitter chat sessions and at the last #EdChatNZ @PascalDresse made the comment:

Imagine the kids in our classes participating in a weekly  aimed at different topics. Imagine the ideas they would have...

and to that, the responses came flooding in...
What a great idea 
Would you start a twitclass?
Fantastic idea - could get them doing it during a set time during a school day
That type of thinking answers question 1 of  what elearning should look like
Too often we think learning is pen on paper. imagine a chat between schools/classes that involves parents.  
Number 1 on to do list tomorrow. Get twitter unblocked!!  

So #kidsedchatnz was born.  We discussed the logistics of involving kids, ironed out some issues we could forsee, discussed some questions and Pascal Dresse created a website for this information to go on...KidsEdChatNZ.

The time was set, the topics were put out there - next step: discuss with the class.

We have been using Twitter in our class for the year.  Popping in and out, sometimes we are prolific tweeters, other times it is in the background, so my students already had a handle on the basics of Twitter.  I showed them the #edchatnz discussion and shared how it all worked.    Then I talked about how the #kidsedchatnz would work during school time.  I showed them the website that had been created and we looked at the questions that had already been suggested.  

As with anything, some were excited...some glazed asked how much they will get paid!  So I invited those who were interested to participate - half the class were interested.  

Tweet deck loaded on laptop
Next we talked about the logistics.  Part of being involved in a twitter chat, is being able to quickly respond to questions coming in.  My students are so hands on, I knew they would need their own device, or at the very least 1: 2.  It was all devices on deck...laptops, iPads, iPods - any device that could accomodate Twitter.  It was at this stage I invited another year 5 class (@pinehill10) for those interested to join in - this also meant those students in my class who were not interested could go out for a game with the remaining other students in Rm 10.  I loaded up Tweetdeck on both the laptops and iPads, so the students could easily follow the hashtag and we were ready!

Wednesday 7th November:
The day arrived, the devices were charges and the students were ready - I was secretly nervous we would be the only ones involved!
1.15pm - I met the students in my class to get ready and make sure everything was connecting.
1.30pm - Off it went - just like a normal chat, the tweets were coming thick and fast ~ phew!
So what did they talk about? Here is very small snippet of what was discussed...
What to use? Laptop, iPad...iPod???

We think that being connected to the internet means enjoying technoligy but still learning. MM MS
We think being connected is working together with our class (Aaron) and others around the world (Loren) 

What makes your school special?
 Our Pinehill Way makes our school special. MM

Q. What's your favorite subject at school AS 

Q. What's the greatest thing you've ever done at school???
 Being nice to others (Nevaeh, 5 yrs); swimming (Alisha, 5yrs); playing with others (Tipene, 6 yrs); learning (Xander, 5 yrs)
 That's nice! I especially like the first one about being nice! MM 

Room 10 & Rm 14 busy keeping up with #kidsedchatz
I used to have an account with Sumdog and it helped my maths By Reuben 

Do you use your ipad for maths? (Ashleigh, 6 yrs)

Question:Take a photo of your uniform and show it on tweet deck From Isaac

The devices we use in the classroom is the iPods, iPads, computers and the (teachers) iPhone. ST 

Engaged, connected learners!
By the time 2:30pm rolled around, the students involved were absolutely buzzing.  They raved about the experience, saying they loved the way people replied to them straight away and they got to learn how kids around NZ are learning.

- Very worthwhile activity reinforcing the digital citizenship values we have been discussing throughout the year - students were asking about talking pictures, this lead to a conversation about digital citizenship #proudteachermoment!
- Questioning skills - students had to think on their feet.
- Succinct answers - due to the 140 characters, students had to get to the point, quickly - which proved difficult for some!
- Connections (being a connected learner) - making these connections with other students.  We have already investigated some of the tools other classes discussed.
- Make sure we have enough devices for the session...we had a lot of devices in the room, but the internet was dropping in and out.  I had my phone on 3G, which was quickly picked up on and my phone soon found comfort in the hands of one of my students...lost for the session.

Check out #edchatnz and #kidsedchatnz as well as the facebook page we have set-up for teachers to reflect and discuss up and coming topics/ ideas


  1. Count me in for next weeks session!

  2. Loved your reflections and take on the experience Amy. I have only been on Twitter for the past 3 months and immediately saw the power of it as a tool to connect with like minded educators as am at a remote school in the S/Island. I then began to share what I had learned with my students in morning news type activities. Through #kidsedchatnz I was able to take the told them to showed them to involved them to let them do it themselves. Only 50% were engaged for the full hour, but we only had two devices going and was an information explosion for many. Next time there will be more preparations, like your tweet deck on each device, maybe separate spaces so noise of the group does not distract the thoughts of a few and I am sure that the kids will have many more ideas that we will try.
    In short - amazing experience, connections made, learning was happening and we will be there next time.
    Thank you

    1. Completely agree - thanks for your additional comments/ reflections!

  3. Great reflections, I love that is was made available to those that were interested and not a forced activity. Perhaps the buzz created will see more want to be involved next time?