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Middle School Teacher Shares Experience Using Google Hangout

Middle School Teacher Shares Experience Using Google Hangout

With the help of technology, teachers can bring plenty of exciting activities to the classroom. From virtual field trips to chatting with famous authors and experts on Skype, students can all that technology-enhanced learning has to offer.

So says educator Sandy Wisneski who used Google Hangout to connect her middle school students with a comic book author, according to her post on MiddleWeb.com.

"The project began with this driving question: 'How would you use superpowers to improve the world?'" Wisneski wrote. "The final product would be a group comic book. Guidelines for the project included researching a metropolitan location in the Western Hemisphere for the setting, as well as understanding global issues that impacted these locations."

Wisneski said her students used the guidelines to "develop characters and plots for their group projects."

"As a culminating activity, I began searching for a 'real' comic book artist that the class could interview to develop a deeper understanding of how their project connected to the real world," she wrote. "The best way to find people is through connections, so I emailed my son in Brooklyn to ask if he knew of anyone in the field. He referred me to an artist friend who in turn forwarded me to Alex Simmons. I struck gold!"

Wisneski said Simmons "is not only the creator of comic books for DC, Archie and other publishers, he has penned over 17 middle school and YA novels and founded the Kids Comics Con in New York City."

"Mr. Simmons suggested doing a workshop with the class on drawing, including the process behind the creation of comic books. He would guide the students through the steps from brainstorming ideas to the actual inking of the drawings," she wrote.

According to Wisneski, "although it was all 'at a distance,' the interaction that took place between the students and Mr. Simmons was quite powerful. Each one felt a part of the workshop – listening and contributing, raising their hand to be called on – even though the only connection was a video cam."

"Experiencing this level of engagement reminded me once more of the value of including real-world components in the PBL process. When I first thought about trying a workshop with 51 students using Google Hangout, I hesitated, wondering if I was asking for trouble," she wrote. "In retrospect, this was an incredible experience for the students that they would not otherwise have been able to participate in, without considerable travel and/or expense."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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