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In September 2010, Warrandyte High in Melbourne, Australia partnered with Gladesmore Community School in London, UK.

 

TEAMWORK

We used Twiducate, an educational, social networking site to discuss our project and came up with the idea of investigating the exciting phenomenon known as social networking. We formed cross-country teams to explore aspects of particular social media sites, including the dangers or negative issues associated with each.
The teams the students created were: YouTube, IM (instant messaging), XBox Live, Facebook, Online Gaming and FanFiction. After forming and getting to know each other, teams proceeded to discuss all aspects of their task such as what they would research, the allocation of work roles, what content would be needed and so on. We debated things like colours, logos and web design. This took a long time.

We deliberately decided that each team should design their own distinctive site, so that's why they are all so different.
We established truly bi-national (later tri-national) teams and each team created a distinctive mini site. Teams had different levels of expertise, and so their sites are very different, but this fact underlies our idea of a truly collaborative classroom. This is not a few clever students making a site, but a truly shared experience. Hopefully the common naviagation bar pulls these separate team webs together. We aimed to have the work of each school represented on each page - real collaboration!

We agreed that the site should focus on describing the particular social network, investigating its' pros and cons, and aiming to help students in their use of these various networks.

 

A WELCOMED THIRD PARTNER

In mid-December, St Paul Lutheran School in Farmington, Misouri, USA joined us. It took a lot of last minute organising. We barely knew them at first, but they were very keen to get involved and soon jumped in. The US students quickly joined a team and began work. They had many exciting ideas, including surveying our three schools to study first hand our use of social networking. The surveys the students created were distributed across the world and each team got responses numbering in the hundreds. St Paul students also prepared our video and slideshow material as well as researching and editing information.


THE HEMISPHERES

Not long after our trio formed, we suffered the dreaded handicap of working with the southern hemisphere!

Down under and back to front, Warrandyte classes came to a halt as the school year wound up and they went on summer holidays. Work on the project slowed somewhat as the Australian students enjoyed their 6 week break: lazed on the beach or by the pool, camped, chilled out, travelled or took up holiday employment. St Paul and Gladesmore enjoyed a shorter Xmas and New Year break. All this combined with exams, assessments and inspections meant the project unfortunately ground to a halt.
When all three schools resumed, the Australians were in a new class, with new courses to study; but all three schools determined to work on!
We held some important Skype discussions, sent lots of emails, shared resources with tools such as Google docs and Dropbox, and organised a concerted effort to complete our site, and here it is.

We hope you enjoy your visit!


planning sheetplanning sheet
example of planning sheet from UK Instant Messaging team

 

 

TOOLS WE USED

 

1) Twiducate as team meeting point

Although this was a good starting point, we soon found the amount

of collaboration was overwhelming. It was hard to keep up with

all the shared ideas and discussion. As the project took off,

most teams turned to email to communicate.

twiducate screen grab

 

2) Skype for real time chats

The time zone differences were enormous, but we still managed to get online together,
albeit at midnight for some people! The Australian and American students enjoyed a live chat

at school, even our Principals joined in.

 

using skype

 

3) Google docs

A great way to collaborate on our shared content.


google docs screen grab

 

4) Dropbox

This was an efficient and easy way to share files, especially the big video files.

drop_box_grab

 

5) other software such as: Adobe Dreamweaver, Flash and Photoshop.

 

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