Ustreaming Critial Friends Today

Today we put our filming room to a new use. Something I’ve been hanging out to do all year. Our students have just completed a 4 week project looking at issues and possible solutions to ‘Green Up’ the schools local area. Rather than present just to their peers in school, we fired up a few Macs and Ustreamed their presentations.

These presentations included their podcast/animoto clip, digitial representation and a group verbal discussion on the local issues in a number of contexts.

Students use a Critical Friends process for evaluation. They present their work, which the audience says nothing. At the end, the audience say what they ‘liked’ about the presentation, followed by ‘what they wondered about’. The presenting students then respond and discuss the feedback and work with the audience to discuss possible next steps that they could take to improve, not just the content, but the way the students managed the task and presented it.

We used Ustream to invite educators via Twitter. Some have been active during the project, giving students feedback and advice via their online community. A number of people asked some great questions. One of which was about the ‘cost’ of their proposal, which the group really had not considered.

Other students watched the presentation via laptops and were busy discussing the advantages and disadvantages of it. One student said that it was a great thing to do as ‘in the future, we’ll be doing this kind of thing at University and Work’.

The students adopted a completely different approach to the process than in the classroom. They were really excited to get the opportunity to present to many of the teachers and educators from outside the school that had been leaving them comments. They were also less aware of the teachers marking them in the corner, and much more focused on ‘presenting’ to the internet audience.

Earlier in the day, Sue Tapp spoke to another student via Ustream who had opted to build his final project and present it in Skoolaborate. We felt a bit wierd talking via text about his motivation and ideas at the time, but later in the day was buzzing with more ideas on how they could ‘do more of this’. Other students came up and asked if they could do this ‘streaming thing’ with radio – which opens the door to podcasting – something I have no experience in and have been avoiding.

So here are a few shots ‘behind the scenes’. Thanks to all who attended – it was out first run – and on the 10th the boys will be doing it again (with modifications) to the local Member of Parliament. We will Ustream that, and the boys suggested that we include the Minister – where they can ask her questions about policy. I am not sure that the Minister will quite be ready for that.

The students also asked if they could use the ‘blue room’ to record more things like this. They have been using it all year to ‘make video’, but today’s webcast generated lots of idea and discussion. It put a massive strain on the wireless we are running – which highlights what Ewan McInstosh was talking about last night in Second Life, that investment in infrastructure so things ‘just work’ is a critical factor in delivering experiences like this – with about a dozen watchers, plus the feed – the connection became a bit choppy – but we’ll be better next time – as EdTech Dave was busy recording data on the network performance.

Thanks also to Lucy Gresser and Sac Vuki (the teacher’s who let me mess with their class), to James ‘cheer up Emo Boy’ Capplis – the schools technician – and to all the wonderful people in my PLN that continue to inspire and support me and these students – well beyond the call of duty!

One thought on “Ustreaming Critial Friends Today

  1. I am so unhappy I missed it but I am sure this is only the beginning of your work with these guys so I will make sure I have no distractions next time. A picture tells a thousand words? Wonder how many a video streamed tells us?

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