Our 7th graders are studying Ancient Rome. As they work on their Mid-Unit Project, I arranged for them to interview a member of an archaeology team that has been working in Pompeii.

I'll post more about the specifics of this project when it is done, but in the meantime, here is the interview with Leigh Lieberman from Princeton University.
Technical Specifics:
  • We used Skype to interview Ms. Lieberman.
  • I used Call Recorder for Skype to record the call. (This application costs $20, but has been incredibly useful over the past several years.)
  • We borrowed the largest classroom in our school from a generous colleague, so we could have all fifty or so of our 7th graders in on the call.
  • I set up a small desk at the front of the room, next to the interactive whiteboard, with my laptop on it, so each student could ask his or her question on camera.
  • I projected the screen from my computer to the whiteboard, so everyone could see it.
  • I used a speaker to amplify Ms. Lieberman's side of the conversation, but used my laptop's built-in camera and microphone for our side. It worked well.
  • I turned the classroom lights off for the first few minutes of the interview, but worried that our students wouldn't be lit well enough on camera, so I turned them back on. As it turns out, my computer automatically adjusted the light levels to compensate, so it worked out well, both ways.
  • We required each of the students to come up with three good questions for Ms. Lieberman ahead of time and we looked them over to avoid any "Do you have any pets?"-type of questions. By preparing the students, we cut down on any knuckle-headedness. (But the bulk of the credit has to go to Ms. Lieberman - she was so fascinating that the students were engaged for the full half-hour and didn't fool around at all. Very few experts are this good at presenting high-quality information in easy-to-understand language without dumbing it down. She was great!)
  • While we're at it, full credit also has to go to the students themselves, who really stepped up and acted completely professionally.
Isabella Acosta
6/12/2014 18:51:54

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