During discussions in the classroom there are times when we (both the teacher and student) would like to hear the voice of our peers and colleagues.
We may want to hear a perspective on an issue from someone more closely linked to that issue than we are:
To the children of farmers in Bulga NSW Australia – What is the real impact of mining expansion on farms located in the Bulga area of NSW? What are you most worried about and what would you like Year 6 students in Newcastle to know about your challenges?
A simple, age relevant perspective can bring authenticity to learning and will also support some great discussions around bias and point of view.
At times our pondering simply require a factual response:
How do you prepare your classroom for cyclones?
What do you do if you get sick when you live in the middle of Australia?
What is the biggest celebration held in your community?
Perhaps we are just seeking an opinion:
Did you agree with the Book of the Year winner for your country?
Should it be law that the Prime Minister that was voted in at an election remains in office? (Very relevant in Australia!)
We may even become a support network:
How can we offer help following the fires in your area?
This project is not about constructing a full unit of work around the question (although we could) and it doesn’t rely on trying to find a suitable time and equipment to organise a skyping session (although we might), it is simply about enabling the quick and efficient exchange of information so that a class can continue to have a rich, more informed discussion. It is ‘just in time’ learning at its best….it is simply enabling access to voices in the class.
I don’t want the ‘line of communication’ to be reliant on a technology that a teacher may be unfamiliar with, or is so time consuming that decide not to join in. The key to this project is quick and efficient communication.
Therefore the tool for initial contact between schools will be email!
So in essence I am building a big ‘address book’ for educators, so they may identify the best school to answer their question and have access to a contact person and email address to allow the exchange of information to occur.
Responses would need to occur as soon as possible – hopefully within 24-48 hrs.
Whether that initial question grows into a more detailed connection and exchange is up to the two groups involved.
I am thinking information might be stored in a OneNote file, with a searchable data base attached…but this may change. When a big issue is occurring in current affairs we might even be able to set up a collaboration page in OneNote for schools to add comments.
If you would like to be part of our big address book please complete the survey form available using this link http://bit.ly/1PS0R1b
Further information will be forwarded to the email you provide in the survey.
PS I’m thinking the logo will be a little character called VIC (Short for Voices In the Class). I see him as a swaggie – waltzing matilda – roaming around hearing the opinions of everyone. Maybe sitting on the bush telegraph line shouting out to the wider world but I am an Aussie bush tragic and you may have far better ideas. I would love to see your ideas for VIC! Feel free to send me some sketches.