VC We had a very interesting video conference this week!  We used our new Polycomm mobile VC unit to connect with Big Valley, Alberta.  We were sharing two science experiments each as part of our grade 5 classroom chemistry unit.  The class from Big Valley showed us two chemical reactions.  The first was combining Potassium and varying concentrations of Hydrogen Peroxide.  The point of the experiment was to show evidence of a chemical reaction, and the evidence was very exciting,  The stopper flew out of the flask, across the room, the liquid turned yellow (produced iodine), a gas was given off (causing the stopper to go flying!), and heat was produced.  In the second experiment 15mL of Ethanol was placed in a 5 Gallon plastic water cooler jug and then the other teacher very carefully dropped in a match.  The students watched in amazement as a blue flame and loud pop burst out of the top of the jug.  We watched the teacher in Big Valley try the experiment again, adding new Ethanol to the jug.  We predicted that it would explode again when a match was added, but this time it didn’t react at all!  After discussion and observation we concluded that there was carbon dioxide in the jug instead of oxygen!

pepsiFor our experiments we looked at separating a gas and a liquid and surface tension.  We added mentos to pepsi,  The gas leaves the liquid very quickly!  The mentos causes a chemical reaction which quickly breaks the surface tension and allows the gas to escape very quickly!!  We did the experiment twice, once with room temperature pepsi (went about 1 meter in the air), then with cold pepsi (went about 6 inches in the air) so we could share the effect of temperature on the molecules in the pepsi.  I even managed to keep all of the pepsi in the catch basin!  We did the same experiment outside with a big bottle of pepsi and it went  about 14 ft in the air!

We also examined eggs that had been in various acids for over a week to examine the strength of acids.  The eggs had been in lemon juice, lime juice, pepsi, coke, vinegar, apple juice, and orange juice.  The shells were at different states of dissolving and the eggs were swelling and absorbing the liquids.  The egg in the vinegar was completely without a shell, making it the strongest acid.

Being able to share our learning and excitement with another class made our learning very exciting and engaging.  We were able to show what we knew and learn from other experts that are studying the same topic.  The added dynamic of science experiments added a strong visual component to the video conferencing experience.

On Friday, March 26 I met with a group of pre-service intern teachers from the University of Lethbridge.  I’ve had an intern teacher in my classroom since Christmas, and it has been a fantastic experience for both myself and my students.

I met with the cohort of pre-service teachers to share some of the ways I use technology in the classroom, focusing on connecting with the world.

Videoconferencing:

Polycomm/traditional VC – This system offers high quality connections and works great within Alberta, but I find it a bit cumbersome.  Sources of information and connections:

Collaborations Around the Planet – Will send daily emails with new opportunities

VC Alberta – A great source of experts, tips, and how to videos (one featuring me…!)

2Learn Regional Network – An Alberta provincial network of VC contacts

Skype – a fast free way of connecting around the world.  Fast becoming the main VC medium in education.

Skype in Schools Wiki – a directory of teacher Skyp contact info from all over the world.

Edublogger – another great list of contacts

Around the World in 80 Classrooms Ning and Blog – Silvia Tolisano’s blog and Ning all about her Around the World with 80 schools project.  she connects classrooms all over the world with Skype.

Skype an Author – Authors that will Skype with your class!

50 Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom

A Blog Post about Using Skype in the Classroom packed with ideas and resources (more than this one!)

RSS

RSS or Really simple Syndication is a great way to read blogs, news updates, and even sports.  You can bring all of your favourite sites into one place to read them on a daily basis.  It is like a newspaper, but a newspaper you can customize to deliver only the content you want to read.  I use google reader to collect all of my feeds.

Twitter

Twitter is my best tool to connect with like minded educators.   I can share ideas, ask for help, and get new resources and ideas.  A great list of twitter in education resources. I could talk forever…watch for a new post soon about how I use twitter in the classroom.