Global Seasons

collagerr

There was a time when I thought all the world enjoyed 4 seasons!

Being a member of several global skype groups means that there are always lots of interesting interactive conversations over the 24 hours of the day. The weather and associated seasons of the year is always a popular post for conversation. As we, in southern Australia enter spring, other countries move into autumn (or fall as some call it). Others only have two seasosn – wet and dry.

Janet Barnstable created a “Seasons” padlet wall for people across the globe to share their current season, tell us about it and share what it looks like in a photo or picture.

Here is my contribution to Janet’s padlet wall, sharing spring time on the farm in south eastern Australia.

Spring is always a busy time on the farm with many young animals being born. It is lambing time and we usually rear a number of pet lambs. Either their mothers died or simply left them. We also feed poddy calves. The chooks lay lots of eggs and we set eggs under a clucky chook hoping to get lots of chickens. The days get longer and warmer and the garden blossoms and blooms. The paddocks are a wonderful shade of green. I love spring best of all!

Which season do you like best and what season is it now for where you live?

Twitter for Senior Student Revision

Today, marks the first day back for term 4 in Victorian schools in Australia. The pressure is on to prepare our senior students for their final VCE exams and set them up with organized revision activities.

Revision started in earnest and in a very traditional manner through reading and writing but then an aha moment reminded me that twitter might be useful, especially as the Business Management students need to look at the Management of Change. We stopped what we are doing and:

    1. Registered for twitter: Only 2 students were registered for twitter, so the rest registered. We discussed usernames, passwords and the nature of random follows and followers
    2. Used twitter as a search engine: Then searched for their chosen organisations to study in depth eg Australia Post  and found this link  Post Office faces Changes two tweets down on the timeline (very valuable for their Management of Change understanding)
  • Searched for people or organisations to follow.
  • I commenced a list for VCE Business Management based on their research and mine.
  • Students followed me and subscribed to my list VCE Business Management (They can always unsubscribe and unfollow me when their study is completed)

From the Australia Post tweetfeed, we found more more great links for those who are using Australia Post as their organisation of choice. These appeared at the top of the timeline feed for today and give students a feel for the organisation so much more than they would get through static webpages and gives a deeper understanding of how large organisations work, especially with the advent of technology.

— Australia Post (@auspost) October 5, 2014

This tweet is great for their study of social responsibility

What else did we find? Other teachers of the subject sharing resources, advice etc Newspaper articles that have hints and tips for successful exam preparation and completion and this is just the beginning……. Do you think it will help them with exam revision and improved study score in exams?

All Things Twitter!

The Australian Computer Educators Conference is currently underway. The first of my presentations was “All Things Twitter”.

As an active member of twitter for the last 6 years, I have found it to be one of the best ways to build both a personal and global professional learning network to keep up with the current trends in education and to enable conversations about learning and technology. My session was aimed at all users of twitter from beginner to advanced but will tend to be skewed towards the regular and advanced users. After attending this session participants will be able to

  • Recognize strong profiles
  • Understand the use of hashtags and how to find them
  • Participate in twitter chats for professional development
  • Schedule tweets using hootsuite or buffer
  • Understand the effective use of lists in twitter
  • Recognize the tools and platforms that can enhance their twitter experience eg tweetchat, hootsuite, tweetdeck, tweetgrid etc
  • Appreciate the advanced functionality of link shorteners
  • learn of popular mobile apps
  • Know how to use quality searches to find quality people to follow

A backchannel was set up, in Todays Meet   for participants to connect/converse and an online document All Things Twitter of resources was compiled. Below is the actual presentation:-

What else could you add?

International Day of Older Persons

As my good friend, Sebastian Panakalof Kerala, India has reminded me, it is International Day of Senior Persons tomorrow, October 1st. He is has asked me to “wave to friends at the “Senior Citizens Forum Alangad” and wish them well!” Here is my response (but unfortunately, I forgot to actually wave.)

Sebastian asked me to share this with him in asynchronous time in case I am not online when he is ready with the Senior Friends. I considered

  • dropbox
  • email (file is rather large to send through to India)
  • adding media to my blog (reduced the size of the movie through Moviemaker)

I think the easiest will be the blog as Sebastian can right click on the video and save it to his desktop.

The significance of images in globally connected classrooms

My word is very poor so I make pictures  Xu (Bob from Beijing)

As we become more globally connected, the importance of images to tell stories for learning ir to share conversations, takes on an increasingly important role (together with media other than text).

Our school teaches Mandarin Chinese as a second language. Our sister school is Beijing no.27 in China. Over many years we have exchanged visits with small groups of students and teachers from this school but then there is little connection or communication until the next visit.

school group in China

Over the last 3 years we have had a visiting Chinese language assistant live and teach with us for 12 months at a time. From them, we learnt about qq and wechat which are both popular networking tools with the Chinese. As one of our school groups is over there now, teachers, parents and students downloaded the app wechat on their phones, formed a group and added key staff from Beijing no. 27. The chat has been updated constantly and pictures shared immediately. Bob, one of their senior teachers speaks some English and visited our school last year. As he joined our “china group” on wechat, he made that profound quote shared at the beginning of this post.

What can we take way from this?

  • images are of increasing importance in global communication especially when a common language may be a problem.
  • students need to be taught how to take them for best effect especially to reflect local culture
  • how can we thread them into a story comprising only images
  • the significance of copyright/creative commons
  • how to resize and digitally enhance
  • be aware of the range of apps, networking sites that are best to share these images, remembering that countries like China block google, facebook, many blogging platforms etc
  • the nature of the cloud for storage

 

 

 

 

Place Based Learning

julieanne

Place Based Learning was the theme of conference on Friday, organised by Deakin University, Warrnambool. Deakin University is our local university (45 mins drive from my school). It is a smaller uni but maintains a wonderful country style community with beautiful grounds and surroundings. Faculties are active in getting grants and working with local schools.

On Friday, I not only attended this conference  but also presented on the theme “Mobile Learning – Changing Learning Spaces”. I spoke on “how can/do mobile technologies support/promote enhanced place-based learning and the types of positive impacts associated with that.”

Dr Julianne Lynch, a senior lecturer in curriculum and pedagogy at the Faculty of Arts & Education welcomed us and set the scene for the day. Although creators of technology create for a specific use, users of the technology will appropriate what they want and use it in ways that often designers did not envisage eg mashups etc. Learners need to be positioned so that can connect with and care for social and environmental welfare of the place, making them responsible for their learning and where they are living.  Experiences can be layered and students get a sense of place through virtual and phsysical spaces.

Several sessions were led by Will King from Brauer College. He outlined the school’s experiences with the Local Koori Mobile Project.  This exciting and essential work with our local aboriginal community ensures that their dialect and stories will be handed on to our current generation. It is essential that some of the stories are told out on Country so that students can learn about aboriginal history, often in the places where significant cultural actions occurred. Stories need to be connected to place! ARIS, a mobile app, is being experimented with to provide documentary evidence versus physical presence. Guided by Rob Lowe Snr, Peek-Whurrong elder, Year 7 Brauer College students participated in a field based local history program. They collected digital artefacts and created a heritage trail, navigable using the geo-tracking capabilities of hand held mobile devices.

Will and  Paul McLaughlin,  a phys ed teacher at Marion College, Ararat, with an interest in integrating technology in education, including location based games,  showcased their students’ learning and outlined the processes involved in developing a game-based local history trail linked to the Australian curriculum. The mobile app ARIS was used to develop this local history trail.
Oral history is still vitally important and the way that aboriginal knowledge has been transmitted.

Terri Redpath, coordinator for the School of Education at Deakin University, shared her work with the students in using iPads to record learning. Students become producers of information, going from print based learning to multimodal communication. Students put their learning an knowlegde into their own words and came up with powerful rich understanding.

steph hann

Steph Hann outlined her work with geocaching and grade 6 students. Geocaching is a “real world outdoor treasure hunting game” using GPS enabled devices.

Students worked with staff and students at Deakin to produce 6 geocaches. These were hidden at the university. Their theme was based on the careers and courses that uni students could do. The learning included making links with community, sense of ownership, sharing stories and the importances of imagery.

Nadine Frankel, a specialist science teacher at Warrnambool East Primary School together with a fellow science teacher Kerry McCarthy won a Victorian Education Excellence Award for Outstanding Curriculum Innovation. They worked on a project in primary science (WEPS – focused on the Fluker Post environmental monitoring system). Finally, a session on the lane-ways of Warrnambool using some digital augmentation was shared by Karen Richards. She is an award-winning artist working in the medium of embroidery, digital embroidery, animation, lace sculpture etc.

art in laneways

A SWOT analysis in small groups completed the day, which was a wonderful celebration of local, innovative teaching and learning and Place Based Learning.

Making International Friendship Day Authentic

the class cropped

Responses to “What International Friendship Day means to me?” Sample responses from students in Malaysia and Australia demonstrating the wisdom or dreams of our youth!

We are not alone in the world. When talk to people from other counties we realize everyone is the same, with fears, dreams, family issues, school issues and love troubles. When you talk with a group of international students it is amazing how wars could be averted because of the one and one discussions instead of ‘global politics’ I was involved with an international exchange program and the students from around the world created life long friendships and many changed their lives due to this exchange and work to further international relations and politics. International friendship is of the utmost importance, of course! It is to recognise your friends and their contribution to your life. Friendship helps to bring peace and positivity to the globe – a great reason to celebrate! Because it let’s us form new bonds with different people around the globe. It helps us learn how to understand more about people with different cultures. We can make new friends or enhance the bond between friends. Friendship brings happiness to us. This is a chance for us to recognise their contribution to our life. Hence, that is a good reason for us to celebrate International Friendship Day.

International Friendship Day took place on August 2nd. Veronica Woo, from SMK Poi Lam School, Ipoh, Malaysia and I decided at the last minute to do something together with our classes to mark this significant day. We liked the idea of putting them into small virtual groups to discuss questions on friendship using google documents and also having a hangout open throughout the class so we could formally introduce ourselves and give each class a visual perspective of each other. However, technology challenged us and audio and video and the hangout links did not work well until the very end. Here is what it looked like:_

  1. Created 10 google documents. As I only had 10 students in my class, each student was put in a separate group.
  2. Set questions were added eg “How would you formally introduce yourself  in your culture?” “Why is International Friendship day important?” “What do you look for in a friend?” “What questions would you ask of a new friend?”
  3. The documents were shared on a ” public for editing” basis and also with Veronica by invitation email.
  4. The links were then pasted on my class blog for student access and for Veronica to grab if need be.
  5. Veroncia’s class was much bigger so she added three of her students to each group
  6. The google hangout was to start the class off with formal introductions to each group.
  7. Students would proceed to discuss and answer the questions on the virtual document

But………………………the Challenges!

  1. We had big problems with audio and video at the Malaysian end and could not start the hangout
  2. I had forgotten to make three documents public
  3. It took a few minutes to explain to the girls what to do and then had to be repeated for some

Whilst Veronica and I battled with the technology and problems, the students just got going on their documents and used them like a chat room. Many introduced themselves formally and off they went asking each other questions. Some of the surprises came from learning what ‘chewing fats’ was to knowing that our love of horse riding as a pastime outside of school hours, was of high interest to the Malaysian students who only see horses in zoos! The students were highly engaged whilst Veronica and I finally go the hangout to work just as the bell had gone in Ipoh, Malaysia My biggest takeaway:- My students liked not seeing each other initially as they felt there were no preconceived ideas about the students from visual introductions. They really liked getting to know each other in the chat. Why it worked so well

  1. The students were in small groups mixed across the countries
  2. They had a proforma to follow
  3. They also had the opportunities to create their own learning about each other. Their curiousity could be satisfied by the questions they asked
  4. When the video worked on the hangout, students were happy to wave to each other to show what they looked like