Going Digital this Christmas!

clip_image002It’s not too long to Christmas and while the shops have been full of the spirit since September, I generally wait until as close to the end of the term to mention the “C” word in school. Here are some ideas to integrate technology in your classroom for the festive season.
Christmas Carol Video Conference
Host a video conference using Skype or any other application with another school.  Each school can sing a couple of Christmas Carols to each other.  This is even better when schools have a different ethos to each other. 
Visit a Virtual North Pole
With loads of great activities to do on an Interactive Whiteboard, the North Pole web site is a great place to visit with younger classes.
http://www.northpole.com
Make your own Christmas Cards
This can work out as a good fundraising idea.  Get children to design Christmas cards in their favourite painting package.  The best one(s) can be sent to a printing company and the cards can be sold to families in school.
Christmas Podcast
Why not get your children to record some Christmas stories or songs and podcast them to the world.  This is easily done using programs like Audacity.  Podcasts can be uploaded to the school’s web site or even on iTunes!
YouTube Nativity
Get the children to design and record a Christmas Nativity.  Because it will go on YouTube, it will have to be less than 10 minutes! A great challenge for older classes.
Nollag Vocabulary
Why not teach the world some Gaeilge? Using PowerPoint, OpenOffice or Keynote, make some slides with Christmas clipart. When a user clicks on a picture, a recording of the word(s) is spoken.  You can also create a SoundBoard on http://www.soundboard.com/. This is a cool project for children of all ages.
Follow Santa on Twitter!
Santa’s gone all Web 2.0 and updates his progress on Twitter.  Check him out on: http://twitter.com/#!/noradsanta
A Christmas Field Trip
Find out about Christmas all around the world on this Virtual Christmas Field Trip: http://www.tramline.com/tours/cross/xmas/_tourlaunch1.htm
Write a Christmas Story Online
Storybird.com is a brilliant site for writing stories in general.  Because it has lots of professional quality clipart (and it’s free too), it can make a shared writing exercise highly motivating.  Children can create their own Storybird stories too if they have access to a computer.
A Christmas Blog
Blogs don’t have to last forever.  They can be quite specific.  For example two schools in Ireland and Italy did an eTwinning project about Christmas Carolling around Europe. Have a look here http://carollingineurope.wordpress.com/ to read about their project and maybe come up with some ideas of your own.
Use the web to learn about other festivals of light
Christmas is known as a festival of light, which Christians celebrate.  However other religions have their own festivals of light too.  Jewish people celebrate Chanukah, Sikhs and Hindus have Diwali and there’s Kwanzaa, which is an African-American festival too.  There’s plenty of others around the world including special ones in Sweden, Mexico and Brazil.  Children can spend time researching different festivals of light on the Internet and making interesting projects based on them.

If you have found any good ideas to celebrate Christmas using technology, why not add them to our comments?  If you have some good links to share for teaching about Christmas, go to our sister site,  http://www.mash.ie/christmas and add them there.
Looking to Decorate your Classroom? Look no further than Seomra Ranga’s Nollaig Shona site, which offers hundreds of Christmas resources. If you can think of it, it’s probably already there!

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