Saturday, November 7, 2009

Kaia and Room 10 - Why Blogs and Commenting On Blogs Are So Important

Composite picture Gloria, Room 10, Kaia, Kaia's rock picture
In an earlier post I discussed why blogging, and commenting on blogs, was so important. I gave two examples: my interactions with Room 10 of Pt. England School in Auckland, New Zealand and the series of interactions between Kaia, a three year old blogger (through the medium of her father Jabiz Raisdana) who lives in Qatar, Mr. Chamberlain and his 6th grade class in Noel, Missouri, and my EDM 310 students in Mobile, Alabama. Both examples continue to grow and a summary follows with links to all of the currently extant parts of the continuing interactions. First, however, I must add to the Kaia story.

After my students began to visit the original parts of the Kaia story (see below for links 1, 2 and 3 under The Kaia Story), Mr. Raisdana tweeted me and asked to Skype my class to thank them for posting so many comments to Kaia's blog which had pleased her (and her father) very much. I immediately said "Fantastic!" and the Skype visit was held last Thursday November 5 with my TT 11 class. One student, Dillon Rogers who is in the TT2 class and who has been quite taken by these interchanges, told me that she would be unable to attend class on November 5 and asked to be remembered to Kaia and her father. I said I would do that. Then a few days before the scheduled Skype visit I was reading Dillon's Blog and saw that she had taken the issue into her own hands and had made a movie for Kaia. The movie was Dillon reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Kaia watched that movie and asked to make a movie for Dillon. her father made a movie of Kaia reading Baby Bear, Baby Bear to Dillon. After Kaia's father had skyped my class, I showed both movies: Dillon reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear and Kaia reading Baby Bear, Baby Bear. My class wanted to do something for Kaia also so they recorded a spontaneous rendition of "i'm A Little Teapot".
What will happen next? I have no idea. But I am certain that these two expanding interactions among the students of Room 10 in Pt England School, Margaret, my gradddaughter, EDM 310 students, Mr. Chamberlain's students, Kaia and her father will continue and they will be replicated, ultimately, in thousands of similar interactions with people widely separated by geography, culture, age and many other things but closely linked through a common set of experiences and their humanity.

Think about this. We are changing the world! It is certainly something to celebrate!

Here are the links to the various elements of the story as they currently exist. Visit all of them. Read the comments. Visit the links within them. If you get lost, return here to pick up the story again. These are powerful stories of what technology can do to bring people together.

The Kaia Story

1. Kaia takes pictures and writes about them in her blog.
2. Mr. Chamberlain's class responds with comments and a Voicethread.
3. Kaia's father reflects on the above events and considers whether he likes what is happening. I see this post and the two parts of the story above. I make these three elements an assignment for all of the students in EDM 310. One of my students sees the same series of interactions and joins the conversation on his own. The conversation widens to Australia, elesewhere in the United States and beyond.
4. Kaia's father and I plan a Skype session with my class which will be missed by one of my students, Dillon Rogers. She reads Brown Bear, Brown Bear in a movie she makes For Kaia.
5. Kaia reads Baby Bear, Baby Bear in a movie she and her father made for Dillon.
6. Kaia's father, Jabiz Raisdana, Skypes my class.
7. I show my class Dillon's movie and Kaia's response. My class records a spontaneous rendition of "I'm A Little Teapot" for Kaia.
There are many other branches of this story unfolding, I am sure, as I write this. Why don't you add to this story also? Just comment on any of the related blog posts and you will be added to the growing web of participants throughout the world.
NOTE: I have added (1/27/10) some of the many other things that have happened since I first wrote this. The story continues!
8. Kaia's father posts his view of the unfolding story in Last Child on the Web
9. Kaia's original blog post This, This, That is honored as First Runner Up in Edublog's annual Most Influential Blog contest.

Room 10, Pt. England School, Auckland, New Zealand
1. I have my students participate in Comments4Kids (also on Twitter #comments4kids). I use Room 10 as my example in class and comment on this blog by third graders in New Zealand.
2. My students begin to comment on Room 10's blog. I get a thank you from, Mrs. Lavakula, Room 10's teacher.
3. Room 10 makes a movie to thank us.
4. I learn that schools in New Zealand are populated according to the SES of parents and that Pt. England school is at the bottom of that criterion. (But at the top, it appears to me, in the creative use of technologies!)
5. I make a movie to thank Room 10.
6. My grandchildren attend our annual family at the beach during the 3rd week of October. My 9 year old granddaughter, Margaret, watches Room 10's movie and wants to make a Movie for Room 10 which I post to the EDM 310 Class Blog. And Margaret tells me she goes to computer class (in Rochester, NY) every day but "we don't use them much."
7. Room 10 thanks me and Margaret through their teacher in an email and in comments on the EDM 310 blog. And others comment as well. You can see the connections expanding throughout the world!
8. Room 10 and I Skype each other. Room 10 sings and my class responds. Room 10 records some of our conversation.
9. I get a personal comment on my blog from Othaniel. Remember these are third graders doing this on their own!
10. We arrange another Skype visit for December.
11. Room 10 continues their blog posts.

Why don't you pay Room 10 a visit? Actually, why don't you pay Pt. England School a visit? You will find a school that has embraced technology and is using it wisely, creatively, and with great success! And leave them comments on their blogs! That is the most important part because you are their audience. And you become part of the growing world wide conversation that is taking place!

Celebrate this growing world wide exchange of information and ideas! This is REAL learning taking place!