This past week we returned back to school after a much needed break and we prepared for an important meeting with PhD Student Laura Dawkins from the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences at the University of Exeter.
Today was the day, after a few test “hangouts” we were ready to chat live with Laura. The class was excited, the laptop was setup and linked through our Apple TV to the projector. I put the call through to Laura across the pond in the UK where she took time out of her evening to chat with us about launching a balloon into near-space.
Despite all efforts to ensure an issue free chat, we had choppy video and audio. Of course, had I not run a few test there would not have been issues. We kept the connection live and began troubleshooting. First, was to play with audio and video quality, it was possible that we were maxing out our bandwidth though I couldn’t believe so. Without repair, I went on to the WiFi connection to the Apple TV and dropped our link to the big visual. With that our connection instantly improved. Next time, hard wire the laptop and leave the wireless connection for the Apple TV.
As Julie put it in her blog entry (https://sendgeorgetospace.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/our-live-chat/)
“During the chat our students had the opportunity to ask all of their questions, and more. They spoke professionally and thoughtfully about their topics. Laura was a great resource and we were so grateful for the time she took to speak with us.”
The group was engaged and attentive, ready for more. The conversation went on and on. The kids asked their questions, Laura responded sharing her experience and insight for our students and their project. I must say that I was afraid that the conversation would end up feeling very scripted because we had prepared ourselves with questions. But that was not the case and the conversation felt quite fluid with the students interjecting with questions not prepped because the discussion opened itself to their curiosities about the launching of weather balloons and space.
Here is our chat…
After a nearly 40 minute conversation, we had many of the answers we sought to the questions we were asking. The chat also confirmed much of the initial research we had been conducting about the materials we would need and the knowledge that it would take to accomplish the task of launching a balloon into near-space.
Thank you, Miss Harper and Grade Sixes for let me be a part of your class and leading you down this path of exploration.
Thank you, Laura for taking time out of your personal time to chat with a group of students from Canada