“How exciting is the world in which we live, where language is no longer a barrier?” – Deanne Joosten, Australia
Leading Teacher – Pedagogy and Curriculum Innovation
Phoenix P-12 Community College
Drama is one of the most intimate, high-touch subjects taught in school. So when year 12 students in three rural classrooms (more than seven hours driving distance apart) needed a drama teacher, MIEE Deanne Joosten faced a real challenge.
“The immediate challenge,” Joosten says, “was how to take a very practical subject and teach my own class and three other schools at the same time, without disadvantaging anyone. I worried about the lack of face-to-face contact and how this would affect my relationship with my ‘virtual’ students.”
She also worried that combining four different classrooms together would affect group dynamics, which are especially important in a drama class. But Joosten also understood the power of technology, and her Skype drama class “experiment” was a big success.
“It was quite amazing how quickly the students adapted to this unorthodox approach,” Joosten tells us. “It took very little time for relationships to develop between the students. And watching the ways in which the students interacted with the screen/computer as they rehearsed and performed was incredible. They didn’t see it as a barrier, but rather used it as a component of their performance work.”
Joosten understands how technology can forge amazing new connections. And attending the Microsoft E2 event in Budapest reinforced that understanding in a big way.
“I was working with a teacher from Japan,” she explains, “and we were collaborating on a PowerPoint as we prepared our submission for the challenge. There we were, sitting side-by-side and collaborating on the same document, but my screen was in English and his was in Japanese. Seeing the technology bridging global gaps like that for me epitomized the power of technology. How exciting is the world in which we live, where language is no longer a barrier?”
About Deanne Joosten
- Educational background: Bachelor of Performing Arts, Grad Diploma of Education, Grad Diploma of Mental Health for Teaching Professionals, Masters of Education – Digital Learning
- Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: OneNote (My favorite productivity and teaching tool ever). I also LOVE office Mix and the way in which it allows me to use PowerPoint to make awesome interactive videos. I am just getting into Teams also which is fantastic and has so much potential in Education.
- Website I check every day: I tend to follow whatever pops up in the many Professional Learning Networks that I belong to in Yammer, Twitter and Facebook. I love collecting new ideas and inspiration from a wide variety of sources.
- Favorite childhood memory: My grade 6 production. I was the Wicked Queen in Snow White. It was the moment when I realized how much I love to perform. It was that day I embraced my inner drama queen and I have never looked back!
- Favorite book: I am a bit of a secret fan of Anne Rice and her Interview with the Vampire series.
- What is the best advice you have ever received? Celebrate the moments in the classroom when things go wrong. It can sometimes be the best learning experience for you and your students. Don’t be afraid to take risks and push boundaries every day. Leap and the net will appear.