Together you are going to make a presentation about tools for Asynchronous and Synchronous eLearning. You will need to all open the Google Presentation that has been shared with you in your Docs account. You each need to add one slide that has
  • a screen shot of the icon for an asynchronous or synchronous tool
  • a link to the tool (you could make the image into a link)
  • a brief description of what you can do with the tool (really brief - like one sentence)
  • your name and a link to your Twitter handle

Make use of the chat function within presentation to make sure there are no double ups!

Examples: The Interesting Ways series, started by Tom Barrett, that uses Google Presentation collaboratively.

You'll see it all here (and in your own Docs account) when it is done:

EduCAUSE Quarterly Article - includes a great table of when to use synchronous vs asynchronous elearning.

Tips for the classroom:

Synchronous Connections

(Video or voice conferencing)

Asynchronous Connections

  • Small groups first - Students can be nervous when they first experience synchronous connections - whether it be through video or voice conferencing. So, for the first time aim to have them connect in small groups rather than the whole class at once. It means then that if they get nervous and can't think of anything to say that they don't have a whole audience of two classes making it worse.
  • Make sure students are prepared with a few questions/sentences to prompt themselves with. They may not need them but it's always handy to have something ready in case the conversation goes off track or someone can't think of anything to say next.
  • Make sure the students know that everyone should have a chance to speak and to make sure it's not one person all the time. It might be worth practicing this before hand - getting the kids to practice a few helpful phrases in the target language like
    • what do you think?
    • can you say that again?
    • can you tell me about...
  • It might be useful for the students to have some props with them - something to show perhaps that might help conversation along.
  • When students get used to conferencing they will become really good at it and confident talking to other students so they will find their own way of what works for them. When they do get to this point, maybe ask them to think back to their journey and they could write a short guide for other classes on how to get the most out of their conferences.
  • By asynchronous connections I mean things like commenting on blogs, sharing presentations, adding to a wiki - any communication that is not live conferencing really.
  • Here are a few questions to think about:
    • Are comments important in your project?
    • Does the application you are thinking about using support commenting?
    • How will you regulate the comments?
    • How will you encourage students from both classes to actually comment?
  • One idea would be to get the kids to make up a sheet of useful commenting phrases in the target language - a lot of slang language could be used here! The commenting phrases could even be a key part of the project - as in you could make that one of the first tasks that kids complete and share with the partner class. The kids could compare the lists that the different classes create.
  • Let the kids write the sorts of comments they want to - obviously as long as they aren't nasty in anyway. Do keep an eye on the comments and if they get too far off track maybe let the kids know, but really they probably need to get the initial stuff out of their system and establish how they are going to communicate with each other, so let them go, give them a chance, and then pull it in if need be. You may find that by giving them that freedom you figure out some new ways of approaching the connection part of the project.