Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Emailing With an Attachment

We had an interesting experiment with the tablets this week. The children have been practising sending emails - to each other, to friends and family, and to me. We were also using the tablets as part of a listening/ comprehension exercise. I decided to combine the two activities by getting the children to complete a piece of work on the tablet and to send it to me by email as an attachment. I then planned to mark their work and send it back to them.
To begin the activity, I read the children a short passage and then asked them questions about it. The children wrote their answers using the pen and ‘Windows Journal’. They saved their work to the desktop.
We then went over the whole process of emailing with an attachment on the whiteboard, with the digital projector displaying my tablet’s desktop.
I left my inbox on display on the whiteboard so that the children were able to see if their work had been sent to me successfully. This meant I had to refresh the page periodically.
Initially the children had problems with my email address, which is fairly long winded - leaving plenty of scope for mistakes! I used this opportunity as a lesson in itself in being accurate. When the children became more accurate, their messages began to come through in my inbox. This caused great excitement and the children were demanding a response from me straightaway! By now it was luchtime, and I promised replies to their inboxes by the afternoon session.
When I opened their messages, about 80% of the children completed the task successfully, with the remaining 20% being successful in sending the email, but without an attachment (they manged to do this at a later date). I marked the children’s work and sent it back to them. I have to say that this process was fairly time consuming as I had to download each attachment, mark it, save it and send it back as an attachment. The whole process took most of my lunchtime.
I feel the activity was a worthy one as it gave both the children and I a taste of things to come. Probably with the right technology and software, the process would be lot smoother, but we will continue to pursue this activity from time to time when the opportunity arises and proves to be a valid one.

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