During our travels we took a tour of the ‘world’s largest classroom’ – at Katherine School of the Air. One thing led to another, and on our return trip, I was booked for two sessions in the Interactive Distant Learning (IDL) room at KSA. Yay!
Now – I teach… and I blog… and I’ve partipated in online chats with class groups… and talked on telephones… and given author talks. I’ve even controlled video cameras (though not with a remote – and usually just one at a time) But I have never tried to roll all those actions into one 45-minute session – and make sense at the same time!!
But that’s what I was working with in the IDL studio at KSA. And thankfully, I wasn’t doing it single-handedly. For my session I was ably assisted (I talked and she did/oversaw everything else) by KSA Librarian Ruth O’Connell. Without Ruth, I’d have been scrambled eggs. (May I just point out that KSA teachers do this juggle on a regular basis – and do it very well. I am in awe of them.)
The IDL studio is set up for interactive learning, which is a bit of a combination between a video conference (one way) a chat room and traditional radio-telephone communication.
The ‘teacher’ (author) is videoed and broadcast live-to-air – with the choice of three different camera angles – and zoom too. Children interact by typing their questions/comments in a chat style format, which shows up on the bottom of the everyone’s computer screen – teacher’s included. The teacher can also open the lines for two students at a time to call through with a comment or question, which can then be heard by both teacher and students.
The sessions were a lot of fun – and it was a wonderful way to experience this completely different learning environment. But I wished we had longer. There was so many questions I didn’t get to answer – and I’d have loved to chat more with these children, scattered across the Northern Territory in their various isolated situations.
I would have loved to hear their stories!