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Learning about CASE through Skype

May 9, 2012

P35

Another day, another way to incorporate the iPad into instruction. Today, my 2nd period class had the opportunity to use Skype to connect with students in North Jersey who are enrolled in the Curriculum for Agricultural Science- Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (CASE- AFNR) course. My colleague in North Jersey connected from her laptop to her SmartBoard so her class could see mine and I connected the iPad to AppleTV and projected for my students to see her class. There wasn’t a good location to put the iPad so my whole class could be seen, so I carried it around the class and for the purposes of sound quality, brought it directly to students who were asking questions.
The purpose of this activity was to help the 7th grade Agriscience students understand what sort of activities are done in the yearlong CASE- AFNR course, as experienced by my colleague’s high school freshmen. We will be using CASE- AFNR with 8th graders for the first time next year to help them be better prepared for high school CASE offerings. Some of the questions my students asked included:
1. What sort of things do you do in class? A. We do labs almost everyday including dissecting plants and blowing things up (on purpose!) We also spend time in the greenhouse.
2. What do you grow in the greenhouse? A. After establishing that plants were grown, some species were mentioned.
3. Do you have a class pet? A. No, but we do get pond snails for a few weeks and conduct labs related to their oxygen output.
4. What do you do besides labs? A. Projects, posters, other stuff
5. If you had the chance, would you take CASE- AFNR again? A. A resounding yes
So what were the pros and cons of this Skype experience?
Pros:
* students connected with agriculture students at another school and got to see how similar they were despite different locations in NJ and different age groups
* questions about the new course offering that I as an educator did not have answers to for my students could be answered by a teacher and students who had lived it for the past year to give my students a flavor for what was in store
* knowing the technology works, the opportunity for future uses of virtual conversations has been opened to collaborate with other classes
Cons:
* hearing student responses was challenging
* without a tripod to mount the iPad, the whole class couldn’t be seen at once

Bottom line:
My students loved the chance to talk with someone at another school.
My colleague emailed me to say ” My kids had fun talking to your kids and want to do it again.”

My hope is that next year we will have our AFNR class during the same time period and can Skype to discuss lab results and possibly present projects to each other.

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