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Learning at its Best, School Stories

Connecting from the Heart

@dougpete, in a post called, An Idea that Just Keeps Growing describes a powerful use of Google Street View for ‘storytelling’.  Megan Palevich (@mrspal) wrote A Walk Down Memory Lane which got me started on this little adventure.

Ok, I have to tell you.  This has sparked something for me.  I mean, I have used Google Street view in the class before – for, what I thought at the time was a pretty cool project. (See the grafitti kmz file at Hidden – A Project that Worked )

BUT, the posts of Doug and Megan led me to take my 91 year old Mum on a trip down memory lane to her homes in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I had it on the big screen tv so that she could see it better.  OMG. She walked over to the tv and touched her old house, naming all the rooms for us…tears on her cheeks.

We ‘walked’ the neighbourhood to my old school – ‘Belmont Church Road’ – where I was a student before we came to Canada when I was 8 years old.

After we were done, my Mum and I went out for a walk and we chatted about old times for ages.  That experience had triggered memories in her that had been dormant and somewhat inaccessible to her.

Did I capture this whole experience electronically to share with everyone? Nope.  I couldn’t. I just lived it ‘in the moment’ – a moment that has me still moved to tears.

Thank you Doug and @mrspal for setting the stage for this.

Think of the possibilities for your students…

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About peter skillen

I am currently Manager of Professional Learning with the YMCA of Greater Toronto. Over 40 years of experience in the teaching profession includes 13 years as an elementary school teachers and 18 years as a Computers in Education consultant with Toronto District Schools. I was also privileged to be a founding teacher and manager at the YMCA Academy – a secondary school serving youth who prefer an alternative approach. From 2000-2003 a well-known constructivist educational software company contracted me as Lead Designer of Journal Zone - a collaborative online journal. I have been involved in project-based telecommunications since the early 1980s and continue to explore deep applications of the latest Web 2.0 technologies. iEARN-Canada – a network that connects youth around the world for the purpose of social action – has graciously accommodated me on their Board of Directors. I also serve as a member of the International Committee and as ambassador with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). In Ontario, we have an organization for teachers interested in effectively integrating technologies into their classroom practice. The Educational Computing Organization of Ontario (ECOO) is in its 31st year and I have been active in planning its conferences for most of that time. My passion for educational change is greatly influenced by observing the ways in which people learn in 'out of school' environments. Love…rock-climbing, motorcycles, mountains, oceans…yeah, adventures – even at my age!!


3 thoughts on “Connecting from the Heart

  1. This inspires me to suggest Google Earth and Street View to some students who are reading and writing with The House on Mango Street.

    Thank you, Peter – this is a beautiful story.

    Posted by Chad Sansing | January 31, 2011, 9:46 pm
  2. wow…

    Some times it really is all about living an experience ‘in the moment’ as you say. Thank you for that reminder… and for sharing.

    Posted by Ro | February 3, 2011, 2:48 pm

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