Learning is Everywhere
When I was doing my teaching internship at Saint Ignatius High School, my mentor teacher continuously told me to “look for the teachable moment”. As I have gotten more experienced (I hesitate to say “older”), I realize that the teachable moments are everywhere. In fact, if you look around you, learning is everywhere.
Going Beyond the Four Walls
Classrooms are relatively small yet many teachers spend 180 or more days in their classroom. In my classroom, I had one small window. There were days when I yearned to go on a field trip, take my students outside, or even just go out into the hallway. But, we were contained in those four walls.
The Web Cam
I was fortunate to live overseas as a child, so I know, first-hand what else is out there. For the first few years of my teaching career in the World Languages Department, I struggled to teach my students what else was out there. I could explain and explain, narrate and narrate, etc. but truly, they did not get it. Even when I showed the “great” travel videos that I had borrowed from the library, they were still unimpressed.
One glorious day, I received a web cam. Honestly, I do not remember the circumstance why I was granted this beautiful piece of technology, but there it was so delicately placed on top of my computer monitor. I looked at that and the world opened up for me and my students. Good-bye travel videos, hello real people, telling real stories! It was marvelous and a French/German teacher’s dream.
After Skype Came Hangouts
I was only with my sweet web cam for a few short months before I left my classroom to work district wide. Fortunately, my new monitor had my favorite piece of technology also sitting atop. I had previously used Skype and was tied to talking to one person at one time. Also, Skype had to be downloaded on to a PC, which is another obstacle that I had to face. I could download on my home computer, but not my work one.
Soon after I came into my new job in 2013, I learned about Google Hangouts. Like Skype, you could video chat with people. One big difference was that more than one person could join that Hangout. This meant that you could talk to multiple people, in different places all at the same time. All you needed was a web cam.
This brings me to my presentation today. If you are in my session, you will have the opportunity to take part in a Mystery Hangout (providing the technology is working). If you are not in my session, I encourage you to Google “Mystery Hangout” and see what you can find. You will be surprised to see how engaged your students will be when you connect them to the world outside of the four walls of your classroom.
And, don’t forget…you need that web cam!