The World’s Biggest Theatre Ensemble

I am really excited about this new project I am apart of.

It’s called World Theatre Video. You can check out the website here.

I’m excited about it for a number of reasons. Most importantly though, I’m excited about the way in which it was created.

I’ve posted before about the enormous benefit of starting a PLN (Professional Learning Network for the uninitiated). I cannot stress how isolated I felt in the classroom for so many years, desperate to connect with someone who understood how I was feeling, what I was going through and what I needed.

Now, I will have had my PLN for almost three years this coming January. This blog and now the Facebook page are both products of me starting a PLN. The motivation it has provided me, the support and encouragement it has offered me, has kept me engaged in my profession as a teacher. It is always challenging me to try something new.

It’s a place in which I feel ideas, as lofty and undeveloped as they may seem, are not scoffed at but encouraged and may actually eventuate.

Things, such as this project, World Theatre Video.

Earlier in the year, I made a rather fleeting request on Twitter to see if any drama teachers would be willing to collaborate with me on a World Theatre Day project. You can read about what happened here.

Due to that tweet and everything that happened in its wake, I have had the pleasure of meeting both @MoAsh245 and @edtech4theatre in real life.

It was a rather exciting moment. To connect from half way around the world and another state entirely is a really remarkable thing.

The organic nature in which it all came about was a wonderful thing to be a part of. It made me think how easy it is to connect with those that are willing from anywhere in the world not just from your region or immediate community of schools. Why do we have to keep it to our immediate environments?

In reflecting on that time it was a fun, simple project that engaged my students. Thankfully they were all willing and excited to be seen by students around the world. It made theatre and their own performance real to them. It made them accountable. I also think it is a fabulous way to expose drama and to celebrate the awesomeness that is drama teaching and live theatre.

I’m proud of Nick for expanding the project and incorporating his knowledge of Google Apps to make it a credible, worthwhile project that demonstrates how creative and tech savvy drama teachers can be. That we don’t need to be entering into million dollar software deals. That there are free resources at our fingertips if we just leave the bureaucracy and red tape out of it. Also, it shows how well we can collaborate, particularly virtually! That technology is not something we are afraid of embracing as we move into developing 21st Century learners and the face of theatre as we know it.

Many people still scoff at PLN’s and the use of social networking out of work hours to expand and develop their knowledge of teaching. It does move at an extremely fast pace but I guarantee that I wouldn’t be half as knowledgeable about education “stuff” if it wasn’t for my PLN. It makes me feel that sometimes schools are just so slow and really behind the eight ball. It really is up to the individual teacher to make 21st Century learning happen in their classroom despite the system and the people who are happy to ride along in cruise control in their old beat up Holden. If you catch my drift…

I encourage you to get involved in this project. It is fun. It poses so many questions as to the validity of social media and technology in our classrooms and in theatre as well as the possibilities for it in the future. This may be the opportunity some of your students need or are looking for. It may be what you have been needing or looking for.

Photo Credit: Βethan via Compfight cc

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Fantastic Find: SchoolTube

Recently a colleague of mine, who manages our school’s website, created a YouTube channel. One such time our web guru utilised the channel was for Multicultural Day. I thought this was such a brilliant idea. With drama being such a visual subject and people preferring to watch rather than read I really liked the idea of this being the way in which we as educators communicate with parents and the wider community. I also feel it would be a great place for student’s to show off their work and what they’re doing in class.

The difficulty with YouTube for student’s at our school is that with the DER laptops, YouTube is blocked 😦

That is, however, until a colleague shared a link with us this week. It’s called SchoolTube also known as SkoolToob.  There is also another site specifically designed for school’s to post footage. It is called Schoolstube .

They both work under a similar premise. You can either watch videos that are approved by a moderator and/or upload your own videos. You can also create a free channel for your school. Other student’s and educator’s can search for videos using the tags, categories and channel topics. There are contests to enter and a video of the day feature.

What I loved was the sharing feature. Not only can you share on all the usual places like Facebook and Twitter but they also have a specific feature to share on Edmodo.

There are premium packages are available. They are quite pricey but may be worthwhile if your school is tech-friendly.

Is it any better than YouTube? Not really. There’s just less rubbish to sift through which suits the filters nazi’s just fine.

I had a bit of a search around and I found a really great initiative that a school in that States is doing. I’m a huge fan of musicals and you can’t go past West Side Story, so take a look at this!

http://www.schooltube.com/embed/a1d33ad628114c218bd0