10 Replies Latest reply on Sep 3, 2010 9:28 PM by glen_w

    Using Web 2.0 to foster distance learning in the elementary Math Class

           As I enter into my preperations for my 6th grade classroom this fall, I have one particular student in mind. This young lady was diagnosed with leukemia over the summer and due to treatments has no immune system. Thus, she will be missing considerable amounts of school this year between treatments and inability to come to school.

           I am looking at different ways to support her. Such as creating an interactive live math class that she can participate in from home. I am looking for help from all of you in terms of ideas of tools that we can use to create not only a live audio visual link, but giving her the ability to see what is on the smartboard in real time and respond either in audible ways or have access to the smartboard from home.

           I know that this would be a great benefit to her. What about other kids? Are there ways to make this accessible to your run of the mill absense? I know that there are multiple times when, for one reason or another a child cannot be in school, but can sit up and interact from home for a short period of time like a math class. Having the ability to tap into school for that class would keep them from falling behind, allow them to participate in their group, thus not causing delays for other students, and generally make absences less intrusive.


      • What are your thoughts?

      • What tools are available to accomplish some of these goals? Specifically in the math class where on board instuction and steps are often used.

      • Do you think it would be useful for the regular absence? Or just the long term illness?

        • Re: Using Web 2.0 to foster distance learning in the elementary Math Class

          Peter, my prayers go out to this your lady.  What a lousy way for her to start the new school year.  But, I see this as an opportunity for her and your classroom to really explore the collaborative and communication applications of the web.


          If possible, you could use something like Skype or Google Video Chat to allow her to "be in the classroom" in real time.  If possible, I would use the video, so that she can see her classmates and they can see her.  That would bring a real connection for her.  You could also use applications like Google Apps, etc as the students work on a project.  A wiki could be used for so that she could post her homework and collaborate with the other students.  The wiki would be a great tool to use for your entire classroom.  For a situation like this, wikispaces might be a better fit as it has a discussion board tab on each page.  That would also be great for collaboration.  I don't know if it's possible or not, but if it is, you could have the IT department give her the ability to access your computer as you work on the smartboard.  How cool would that be.


          To answer you last question, I believe this is something you can do with any classroom, the illness not withstanding.  There are so many great tools out there that allow the students to work together that I would love to see this in every classroom in the US.  :-)


          I hope these suggestion have been helpful.  Keep us posted on how this goes.  Our thoughts and prayers for your student.



            • Re: Using Web 2.0 to foster distance learning in the elementary Math Class

              Thanks Neil,

              I heard from her family and they are quite enthusiastic as well. This may be her only connection to the classroom.

              I looked into a simple skype with a web cam in each location and that may be the best option. I still want to explore software that would share use of the smart board for detailed procedures and processes.

                • Re: Using Web 2.0 to foster distance learning in the elementary Math Class



                  What a challenging year you face. I like the option of using Skype to communicate with your student. I think her peers would enjoy communicating with her and sharing their love.


                  I had a similar challenge last year. One of my students was diagnosed with a Brain tumor. She was gone for 5 days out of every 3 weeks for Chemo and recovery from it. She was very challenged to continue doing her science work - I offered to excuse the work she missed but she wanted to do everything. I use a Promethean board in my classroom. The software license is very generous for this product. There is a "free personal install" for any non-product owner. You may install it on any computer and use with any Interactive White Board. One option I use is the ability to record what is being done on screen and the associated audio. The "flipcharts" (like a SMART notebook) may be shared with others - this young girl could have the software installed on her computer and get the same lesson you are doing in class.


                  You have my heart and empathy on this one - it won't be an easy year. Please keep us posted on how she does and what tools you use to help her.

              • Re: Using Web 2.0 to foster distance learning in the elementary Math Class


                I had a couple of teachers in the past who had homebound students as well.  They used Skype, with the video feature, to keep in touch with the students on a daily basis. They also used Google docs, Elluminate and Webspiration for collaborative projects.  As Glen said, if you have a SMART Board, you can use the SMART record feature and post the files to your website if you have one.  You may also want to think about setting up a class Moodle course. Using Moodle will allow you to set up a virtual classroom where the student can stay up to date and participate in everything going on in class, including class discussions and assignments, all in one virtual space. This may be a great tool to use to have individual student wikis too.  This way your student will have an opportunity to share, in a private way, her experiences both inside school and out as she deals with her disease. You will definitely be in my thoughts this year!

                  • Re: Using Web 2.0 to foster distance learning in the elementary Math Class

                    Fantastic suggestions all. This technology has great potential that goes way beyond my little girl. As communication and meeting software/hardware becomes more widely accessable, educational possibilities become boundless. I can forsee a time in the very close future where absent students need not miss important classes and get loaded with piles of make up work upon the return to the physical classroom.

                    A student with a contagious condition who doesnt feel all that poorly, who can easily sit up in bed or at a desk in their room at home, could fully participate in real time math instruction. They can then participate in group work, giving suggestions and feedback while sharing a desktop or workspace from home while the group works on a laptop in the classroom. They can see the innovative solution to a problem that a classmate came up with while that individual shares it with the class.

                    I am meeting with our tech director this week to discuss what program he would most like to move forward with. I thank you all for your many suggestions.
                    My girls parents are very encouraged by all of this.

                    Updates will follow as the school year swings into gear.

                  • Re: Using Web 2.0 to foster distance learning in the elementary Math Class

                    Peter, Best wishes for this student. I think Julie suggested Elluminate in her post. I'm a big fan of this service. Elluminate gives you many interactive tools in addition to the audio - visual connection. Elluminate allows application sharing so home bound students could participate using the SmartBoard activities . You can set up a free VRoom at LearnCentral.org. (You can connect any three locations 24/7 for free).

                      • Re: Using Web 2.0 to foster distance learning in the elementary Math Class

                        THANKS Tom, that is exactly the type of thing I am looking for. I will suggest it to our tech director and get things moving this week. Between Elluminate, Skype and others that were suggested, we have some quality programs to check out and serve her well.

                          • Re: Using Web 2.0 to foster distance learning in the elementary Math Class



                            I just thought about how you might use Dropbox with this student. I use the "free" version and share a lot of files with peers. You could easily send your student class files, handouts, videos, etc. by putting them in a shared Dropbox folder. She could respond by uploading files to the folder for you or the class. The free version has 2GB of storage. I shared 2GB with my student teacher last year and we did not fill it up. I think this could be a fun way to share - especially if she's struggling and needs to rest instead of Skype or Elluminate or another realtime opportunity.


                            I look forward to hearing more about how the year is starting off for you and your class.

                        • Re: Using Web 2.0 to foster distance learning in the elementary Math Class

                          If you are working with a homebound student I have a couple of suggestions for using Web 2.0 to help with communication of ideas and activities.



                          1.  Set up a VRoom at LearnCentral.  Imagine that it is your preptime or afterschool and you are talking to that student on the computer, sharing activities, and seeing them respond in real time.  You can also share documents like quizzes or assignments and receive them using the file transfer.  There is a whiteboard in the session and you can show how to solve a problem or demonstrate a function.  Oh my goodness, this tool is going to be perfect for this situation!! It only takes a few minutes to set up your VRoom and you can use it all school year.  I recommend that you set one up today and ask a friend to check it out with you the first time before using it with the student.




                          2.  My other idea is for distance problem solving.  You could create a Wiki and feature a problem to solve and the student can type out how they would approach the problem, how they solved the problem, or identify a mistake in an example equation that you have featured.  This kind of usage would really be using the best of what a Wiki has to offer.  Which is posing a situation and allowing others to edit the page and provide input to that situation.





                          Good luck!!




                          (ps if you have a smartboard, checkout sb conferencing, if the student at home installed sbnotebook on their computer you can use the sbconferencing and they can see what you are writing and write on the room's board from at home, this is really cool when kids see the "out of room" student write on the board)

                            • Re: Using Web 2.0 to foster distance learning in the elementary Math Class



                              Thanks for pushing up the <Geek> level of this discussion! I really like your suggestion to have the student who is homebound using sbconferencing and writing on the teacher's SmartBoard. I can't think of a better way to have the rest of the students feel like she's part of the classroom. (This might encourage the rest of the students to want to participate in class when they are home sick - or on an extended vacation.) Last year I had a student who was going to be gone for a full week ... but had access to the Internet on her dad's laptop the entire time she was gone. Her schedule was such that she was able to be online almost every day during our class schedule. We did not have Smart Notebook installed on the school or her computer ... but she participated with us long-distance. This has me wondering what other ways we might help students who cannot be in the classroom...